Mummy’s in the wine cellar darling, best not to ask…
7am at the Apprentice Mansion, and it’s officially time for the first blood to be spilled in Junior Apprentice Phone Answering Wars. First blood drawn by Lucy Beauvallet, as she trips neatly down the Apprentice stairwell dressed in a baby pink dressing gown. It’s VERY Lucy Beauvallet. She has a significant margin of victory over her nearest competition, Andrew who is sporting…a blue t-shirt. I think Patrick probably needs to work his magic Fashion Fingers on the boys bedroom a bit more. He’d better have somebody in a snood (made of legwarmers) by Week Four, or I will be most disappointed. The disembodied voice on the other end of the phone tells Lucy Beauvallet that Lordalan will be meeting them this week at Sketch – the London restaurant most famous for what happens in its toilets. Just like many branches of KFC.
This makes the official current scores in Phone Answering Wars :
Lucy Beauvallet : 1
All these other sucker MCs : 0
Lucy Beauvallet skips back up the stairs, blithely telling Andrew on the way up that they’re going to sketch in 30 minutes. Andrew looks at her as though she’s not introducing a task location so much as organising the house’s fun activities for the day. Sketching til 10, then brunch, then a round of miniature golf for the gentlemen and a mild aerobic workout for the ladies! Such is life at Lucy Beauvallet’s country club!
Meanwhile in the girls bedroom, Maria is in that staple Apprentice Lady-Bedroom position – sprawled on the floor, straightening her hair, inaccurately predicting this week’s task. She thinks it will have something to do with art. WRONG! Alice grins that simply LOADS of her friends are artists (some people she once knew did Art GCSE) and they’d come in REALLY handy right now. For talking to? Is she homesick already? Are the cliques already THAT set up? Is she in fact talking about her chickens? So many questions…
Down in the kitchen, over a breakfast burrito, David tells Sean that being in the boardroom was like being in hell (there’s certainly an Old Nick…) so he really doesn’t want to be back there again this week.
Everyone safely ensconces themselves in the Apprenticars, and speed off to Sketch. Platinum Apprenticar A is a hotbed of bitchery already, as Maria dismisses all the boys as weak and useless pushovers. Lucy Beauvallet grins happily that yes, all the boys are crap and spineless, and the women are much stronger individuals with much bigger personalities. And she’s going to be so glad of THAT in about 20 minutes time. Meanwhile, in Wetsuit Kimono Apprenticar B David tries to make out that he’s gained so much experience from his encounter with Lordalan in the boardroom (/actual hell) that he’s going to bring that to bear on the next task, and emerge so much stronger.
David does sweet fuck all for the rest of the episode.
Once they arrive at Sketch, the children depart from their Apprenticar. One of them is wearing novelty goldfish socks. I think it might be Steven. Get WITH it Patrick, this is an abomination. Everyone lines up inside, throwing their daggers about willy-nilly, as per usual. Lordalan arrives and tells the candidates that Sketch is known not only for its “good food” but also for its “good presentation”. Don’t oversell the place or anything Lordalan. I know I’m inspired to go to what now sounds like a solid B- restaurant. Next you’ll be telling me that two of the waiters are sort of hot, from one side. He goes on to say that this combination of alright food that doesn’t look like sick is what this next task is all about. Teams are going to be making COOKERY BOOKS. Steven grins merrily, Ashleigh blinks blankly. They don’t have cookery books where she’s from, every recipe is handed down in t’verbal tradition from mother t’daughter.
We also learn that this week’s task is the semi-regular Week 2 “pitch your newly designed product to three retailers” spree, so we’d better get ready for some amazing cue-card fumbling and mood-board work. The team that sell the most pretend orders wins, the team that doesn’t loses, and on that team, something’s getting fired. Possibly with regret. We ALSO also learn that Lordalan’s already bored with the girls always beating the boys at everything so he’s going to mix the teams up. Steven’s going platinum, and Maria’s donning her wetsuit kimono, and getting the unenviable role of being the girl who has to go in and “sort the boys out”. Has anyone ever done this well? Stella came closest, but even she found herself sprawled on the floor wedged into unflattering bikini bottoms whilst Chris Bates bitched to everyone about how mean she was.
Teams are dispatched to the bowels of Sketch, and Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that the teams have two days to design, print, and sell an edition of their cookbook, in the hope of carving out a(n imaginary) slice of Britain’s £84,000,000 cookbook market. Is that it? I thought Nigella alone would bring in that much.
Once the teams are safely convened, it’s time to pick Project Managers. On Wetsuit Kimono, Maria throws her hat into the ring on the grounds that as the only woman on the team, it’s really important she has a say. And she’s worried that if she’s NOT Project Manager people won’t hear her special voice. Her truly special voice. On the other hand, Sean’s Hair has a slightly better pitch to make – he’s an award-winning publisher, and has over two years experience of doing layouts and stuff. In interview, he tells us that his biggest achievement in life is being named “The World’s Youngest Publisher”. He has 12 writers and a “head of online” working for him. Which is all very well, but has he got polls and pictures of contestants from Over The Rainbow pulling funny faces? I’ll warrant he has NOT! Everyone votes for him to be Project Manager, including Maria, in a passive aggressive “…if you’re not all going to bow down and pick me” sort of way.
Meanwhile over on Platinum, the whole debate has descended into which girl does the most baking. It is a face off between Lucy Beauvallets cupcakes and Alice’s brownies with Steven wondering precisely what he’s walked into here. Lucy interviews cheerily that there’s a fine line between being in control and being bossy, and she worries that she sometimes falls on the latter side of that line. She appears to be tearing up slightly whilst saying this. In the end, everyone votes for Lucy to be Project Manager, apart from Amy who just sits in the corner eating her hand. Steven asks Alice if she’s ok with this, and then makes sure to point out that “this” is the fact that everyone voted for Lucy Beauvallet to be Project Manager, and nobody voted for her. Alice says she’s fine with it. She bloody isn’t. She interviews outside that she knew all along that Lucy Beauvallet would be Project Manager because she’s really…persistant, and she’s not PERSONALLY willing to stoop to starting a cat-fight with her.
See? TOTALLY FINE WITH IT!
Helpful Voiceover Man next tells us that there are over 2000 cookbooks published annually, and in order to succeed, both teams need to decide on a target market. It says here on the rules sheet. Wetsuit Kimono are first to decide, with Maria suggesting “the professional woman”. The camera cuts to Kaen with a little too much haste at this point. She is THE professional woman, yes. Andrew then asks who has “experience in hitting the woman market”, then sits back and waits. Sean sighs “yeah…apart from Maria?”. END THE GIRL-ON-GIRL VIOLENCE! Andrew suggests that they could do much better if they went for both genders and Maria snots “YEAH, BUT YOU TARGET IT TO STAND OUT!”. Yes, nothing stands out more than “cookbook for women with jobs”. Patrick contributes the idea that women are more likely to buy cookbooks than men, Maria agrees, and “The Professional Woman” it is.
David interviews at this point that he thought that Sean was going to be a good PM based on his experience, but actually he’s starting to think that Maria might overpower him. I’m starting to think a mild breeze might overpower Sean, especially if it gets at his hair. It’s flicking around enough this week as it is, and they’re mostly indoors. Back in the room he’s telling everyone to make the book feminine (just like Maria said) but not overly pink (just like Maria said). Maria breaks in to yell that NOT ALL GIRLS LIKE PINK, BECAUSE NOT ALL WOMEN ARE LIKE BARBIES YOU KNOW! Who is she shouting at? I find myself asking every 5 seconds.
Back on Platinum, Lucy Beauvallet has suggested they focus on students, and Steven suggests a comic-book style – an idea which Lucy Beauvallet heartily endorses. Amy then expands on the idea of students to suggest a cookbook based around the sort of thing your mum might cook for you, except you’re at University, so she’s not there. Unless you’re one of THOSE students. Whose mum is their best friend and buys their condoms for them. We all knew one. Amy suggests calling the cookbook “Where’s Mummy?” and Lucy Beauvallet is SO middle-class (her little banner says “aspiring lawyer”. I bet its human rights. I bet she’s going to take a gap yah in South America to learn all about it, then start panicking about being kidnapped by a Mexican cartel and come home two months too early) that she doesn’t see how nobby that sounds and also LOVES THIS. Steven then suggests making the title a hashtag and Lucy Beauvallet also LOVES this.
Alice meanwhile, sits examining her fingernails, hating Lucy Beauvallet. I wanted this feud to happen and now IT SO IS AND I’M SO EXCITED.
Nick breaks in to ask what a hashtag is, and Steven explains it. When you hashtag a word, then it will start to trend. Three bitter years experience of writing out #apprentibabies on my part, sadly, proves him wrong. Nick sucks a pen contemplatively, and considers getting a twitter. Don’t do it Nick. It’s already the nation’s number one source for Lordalan looking like a chippy pillock, and THIS SHOW EXISTS. Don’t let it ruin you too. I’m not sure too many people would follow an account with your avatar helming it that just went *STUPID LEMON SUCKING FACE*, *FACE OF SURPRISE LIKE YOU’VE FOUND A DEAD CAT IN YOUR POND*, *FACE INDICATING THAT YOU THINK A WOMAN IS A TRASHY HO-BAG*
Oh what am I saying, they SO WOULD. I’d start one now if I didn’t think parody accounts were worse than Hitler
Target markets identified, one half of each team goes off to research recipes, whilst the other half head off to speak to a focus group. Doing the focus group business for Wetsuit Kimono are Andrew and David, by which I mean Andrew. They’re meeting “city professionals”, some of whom we will no doubt be seeing next series as aspiring winners. One of the women looks particularly mental – like half Michelle Dewberry half praying mantis. Interestingly, the way everyone’s sat makes Kaen look like she’s actually part of the focus group. Such a shame they cut her contributions out. I’d love to know what flavour of Dominos was her favourite. David asks the group for their “insight on the professional woman”, and then one woman, who is my hero, says it’s a load of patronising old tut and they’ll put off both men and women. Andrew asks the audience if they like the thought of cooking a quick meal at the end of the day. They all say no – they use bung some shit in the microwave. Then another woman says that actually amongst her friends she thinks the men cook more than the women anyway. Andrew grins that he does a lot of the cooking in his house. Everyone goes “bawwwwwwwwwwwwww”. How David resisted bringing his “insights” into how women done cook less gooderer than men anyway at this point I’ll never know.
David and Andrew return to their Apprenticar, and ring Sean to let him know that their focus group indicated that Maria’s idea was a big fat bust. Andrew says that, in particular, the idea of marketing it to women was a waste of time, to which Maria yells “I THINK WE NEED SOMETHING THAT WILL STICK OUT! YOU CAN’T JUST COME IN WITH ANOTHER GENERIC COOKBOOK IDEA!”. Maria, your cookbook is automatically going to stick out by being the only one without a celebrity chef (/”ex-model” who “knows the truly authentic secrets of Greek cuisine” because she was conceived when her parents got trashed on ouzo) on the front. Stop shouting. Andrew feeds back very forcefully that EVERYONE IN THE FOCUS GROUP SAID IT WAS A BAD IDEA, and then Sean says he’ll have a chat about it “amongst ourselves”. By which he means “with Maria”. By which he means “from Maria”. Sure enough, Maria is calling Andrew a big baby wah wah as soon as the phone’s down.
Doing the recipe research for Platinum are Alice, Amy, and Ashleigh who are meeting with a not uncute chef to discuss what might work in the kitchen. I can only presume Lucy Beauvallet split things up alphabetically for fairness reasons (/to get Alice the hell away from her). Lucy Beauvallet phones Ashleigh up, to see how things are going, and Ashleigh stands staring at boiling broccoli saying that she’s “got some ideas”. Lucy Beauvallet tells Ashleigh to make sure she gets some recipes together and then to get back to her. Ashleigh starts telling her this is all WASTING TIME because she’s from t’NORF and in’t NORF if you wait 5 seconds too long there’s a chance a pit prop will come down on your head. Once she’s hung up, Triple A suggest some ideas for studenty recipes to their chef. Amy punts “peanut butter on nachos”, whilst Alice likes the idea of “peanut butter and sweet chilli”, and Ashleigh moots “bacon, cheese n potato bake…WITH BBQ”. Everyone then farts around “experimenting” with ingredients.
All sounds far too sophisticated from what I remember of student cooking. Put some tomato ketchup on some spaghetti and corn beef and call it BOLOGNESE!
Some time later, with their focus group work done, and on their way to a photoshoot to get the pictures for their cookbook, Lucy Beauvallet merrily phones up Triple A and ask them for the recipes that she asked them to do earlier. Ashleigh asks if Lucy Beauvallet wants to be told how to make the dishes, and Lucy Beauvallet is a stronger woman than I am for not saying “…yes, that’s what a recipe is”. She says that yes she’d like to know, and Ashleigh replies that chef didn’t tell them how to make the dishes. They just “designed a meal”. Ashleigh, you said some ingredients and then smeared peanut butter on a dorito. You did not “design” anything. Navdeep points out that they’re about to, you know, MAKE THE FOOD, so it would help to have a recipe. Lucy then makes the fatal error of saying “whatever, we just need to get on with things” and Alice huffs that Lucy Beauvallet is SO RUDE and NOT HELPFUL and A CRAP TEAM LEADER right down the phone. Ashleigh snits that her team did what they “issued to do” and Lucy protests that they HAVEN’T because she asked them to do RECIPES. Not root around in kitchen cabinets for random combinations of condiment and snack food that might go together. Alice sighs that she’ll tell Lucy Beauvallet how SHE’D do the recipe, but Lucy Beauvallet is WELCOME to try something else if she thinks she KNOWS SO MUCH BETTER. The phone is then hung up, and Alice muses about how much better things would be going if she’d been Project Manager. SIGH.
Such a wonderful hatemance. I’m giddy.
Meanwhile over on Wetsuit Kimono, Sean’s subteam are on their way to the publishers to design their book’s interior. Sean has apparently briefly decided that the entirety of the rest of his team and the entirety of the focus group might have a point that there is literally no reason at all to restrict this cookbook to one gender, but Maria is NOT HAVING THAT so she yells and rolls her eyes at him some more about how they have to STAND OUT AND BE ORIGINAL. Sean pauses for a moment, then nods his head sagely, and says that Andrew had had him convinced with all his facts and stuff, but the way Maria just said (/yelled) that really made him change his mind, because it was such a great point.
a) She’s been phrasing it like that ALL DAY
b) no it isn’t
c) even if it is, it bears no relation to their concept, which DOES NOT STAND OUT UNLESS YOU GET A TIME MACHINE BACK TO 1952. It might as well be a great point about the distribution of the profits from Live Aid 20 for all it means for your team.
Maria sits back, job done, as Sean informs Andrew that actually Maria was right all along. Andrew scrunches up his face like a fist, as Maria YELLS down the phone that you don’t ever actually LISTEN to market research – you just take the parts that agree with what you already thought and ignore the rest. Andrew vainly asks Sean and Patrick if they had any role in this decision, and Sean futzes that the decision has been made now so…it’s too late. Andrew stabs his hair repeatedly with his pen.
Time now for photoshoots, and Andrew is in charge for Wetsuit Kimono. It seems to mostly involve a woman laughing variously at salad, steak, and Portobello mushrooms. He interviews that it’s a shame that Sean decided to just do whatever it was the last person told him to do, said last person always being Maria because…it’s Maria. But he’s not bitter, he’s just getting on with his photoshoot. Sweating, as he says, “like a pig at the butchers”. Is that a reference to Piggy Panic? I hope it is. The rampant politicking on both teams is already happily repping for the other half of last year’s glorious finale.
The Wetsuit Kimono A-Team meanwhile are arriving at Harper Collins, and Sean lays out his (very professional looking) visual plans for the cookbook to his design woman, with the pictures having arrived fresh off Andrew’s presses. He interviews flappily that he had been convinced to go with the market research Andrew did, but then Maria made her great point about being unique and selling and stuff. I’m not even sure what he actually says, because all I’m hearing is “LEAVE ME ALONE, MARIA’S SCARY!”
Things are going less smoothly for Platinum, mostly because they’re just having to make their photoshoot up as they go along. All their food looks like it just came out of a microwave that also doubles as a food processor. And incinerator. Steven tries to carve out something real out of Alice’s “peanut butter and chilli” garblings, vainly. Lucy Beauvallet complains that her subteam sucked and didn’t give her any recipes and now she’s screwed. Poor Lucy Beauvallet. This is what happens when you stick all the cartoons on the same subteam. Here’s a little vignette from the photoshoot :
Model : “What’s this?”
Navdeep : “DON’T EAT IT, IT WILL PROBABLY KILL YOU!”
Meanwhile, at the publisher’s, Alice is putting together a cookbook mostly based around cartoons, rather than actual pictures of actual food. So much like Nigella then. Their design guy wonders when he’ll be getting the pictures from the photoshoot to put in the book, given that they’re about to hit the print deadline. Alice replies that she’s sure they’ll be there soon. Honest. *weak grin*. Ashleigh interviews huffily that the other subteam are an absolute shambles, and the way Lucy Beauvallet spoke to them earlier “worr absolutely bang out orr order and I think will wull shoot her in’t foot in’t boardroom”. As opposed to Ashleigh, who started yelling “YOU’RE WASTING TIME” when Lucy tried to give her any sort of plan of action.
Eventually, a VERY terse Lucy Beavallet rings the team to tell them that the pictures are on the way, and she’d like them to do their best with them. Ahsleigh hoots “IT’S THREE MINUTES PAST SEVEN!” and snits that it’s all Lucy Beauvallet’s fault if the book’s crap because she didn’t send them the pictures in time, and then Lucy Beauvallet archly replies that Ashleigh KNOWS why the photoshoot took so long and then it all just descends into yelling, as the three-headed A-Beast call Lucy Beauvallet “poor”, “rude” and a “bad project manager” whilst Lucy Beauvallet sighs heavily and tries not to cry. Navdeep and Steven between them vainly try to get this conversation grounded without someone taking to their facebook to write an extremely passive-aggressive update. Vainly. In the end Steven hangs up the phone, dead-panning “BYE!” (like a BOSS) and Lucy Beauvallet descends into sniffly tears, whilst Triple A crow happily amongst themselves about how they destroyed her.
I’m sure we all have our own personal individual favourite Mean Girls quote we could bring to this scene, I don’t want to play favourites. Or Heathers, if you prefer…
Next morning now, and the cookbooks are arriving at Apprentice Mansions. Everyone crowds around as usual, to see what they’ve wrought. Wetsuit Kimono are first to view “The Professional Woman” which, for a start, has no mention of the fact that it’s a cookbook on the cover. Just a rather sad looking woman dressed in a suit, on her own, vainly poking at a salad about 5 feet away from her, looking like she’s about to cry. Basically it’s how I imagine Louise Mensch looked 5 seconds before she just yelled “OH FUCK IT ALL” and quit everything. David sole contribution to the task apart from asking “what do you think about women?”? “I like the purple”.
#wheres mummy? on the other hand looks like some sort of Korean market-stall Purple Ronnie knock-off. And yes, that’s how they’ve spaced out the title as well. Alice is IN LOVE with how it looks (because she designed it), but everyone else is not so in love with how she’s spelt everything. Including “ratatoule”, “cougette” and “of”. Steven seems particularly gleeful in pointing out every little mistake Alice has made (<3) and Alice shrugs that she’s owning up to them, so that makes it ok. She also says “I’ve always had a problem with those pesky courgettes” like she’s a Scooby Doo villain”. Lucy Beauvallet interviews sadly that her subteam busted their guts to produce recipes and a photoshoot out of nothing, whilst retaining an eye for detail, whereas the other subteam…not so much. Back in the room Alice says she was in a rush and besides, she made it very obvious to everyone that she’s dyslexic.
Wow, never knew dyslexia also made you too lazy to actually check your work whilst you’re sitting around doing literally nothing other than cackling about what a shit your project manager is. Such a misunderstood learning impairment. I mean “ratatouille” yes, “courgette” maybe. “Og” instead of “of”? No.
Time now for the teams to pitch to the usual three retailers. Platinum are first out the door, with Lucy Beauvallet merrily chirping to Steven that she intends the team to sell no less than a million copies, tee hee hee. Steven laughs awkwardly and stares out the window. Lucy Beauvallet and Steven are such an amazing team. I hope they’re never split.
Meanwhile, back on Wetsuit Kimono, they’re still deciding who’s doing the pitching. Patrick thinks he should do “the second one” (so enthusiastic!) whilst Maria oddly enough thinks that a woman needs to do all the pitches because it’s a cookbook for The Professional Woman. AND OH WAIT SHE’S THE ONLY WOMAN ON THE TEAM! Andrew calls her out on how ridiculous she’s being and then Maria starts yelling that it’s the FIRST MEETING OF THE DAY AND ALREADY ANDREW IS BICKERING, OH MY WORD. Can you imagine what she would have been like if she had been Project Manager? *shudders* Sean, of course, decides to go with Maria’s ideas. Patrick huffs in interview, whilst dressed as a Regency fop, that Sean is just agreeing with the bigger characters in the group, and ignoring the quiet, normal people, like himself. There’s just no real leadership there *sniff*
Platinum arrive at their first pitch – Sainsbury’s. Lucy Beauvallet gives them all a pep talk about how if they don’t know the answer, they’re not to try, as it will end up looking awkward. We’re informed by Helpful Voiceover Man that Navdeep has experience in public speaking, and therefore will be pitching, whilst Ashleigh does t’cooking in the background. Once she begins, Navdeep pitches quite confidently, playing up the social media aspect of the brand, and also the notion of a student cooking their first meal “without mummy”. Or nanny, presumably. Sadly, all Sainsbury’s want to talk about is the crappy spelling. The amazing Fronch Beech in charge of the buying team tuts sadly, whilst Lucy Beauvallet whinnies that they were under heavy time constraints and didn’t have the opportunity to check everything through.
Afterwards, the Platinum A-Team (not to be confused with the other subteam, Triple A, OBVIOUSLY) pick their way through the book, merrily picking out more of Alice’s spelling mistakes. Steven wonders how ANYONE could misspell potatoes. Ask Dan Quayle.
Meanwhile, Wetsuit Kimono are about to begin THEIR first pitch, to play.com. Andrew will be cooking, whilst Maria pitches. She says she’s really nervous. She doesn’t look it. To be fair, she gives a strong pitch in a slightly Boots advert sort of way, whilst making sure she’s addressing each retailer individually, with a little tailored bit about why their brand would be good for their shop specifically. Andrew also is incredibly charming behind the recipe station, gabbling about “Omega 3″s and what have you. Mrs play.com asks Maria why she’s chosen to limit herself only to professional WOMEN, and Maria sidesteps the question like she’s just been asked why they chose to target a market AT ALL. She gives the usual “to make us stand out more” answer she’s been repeating ad nauseum for the last half hour. The play.com women do at least appear to like the recipes.
Outside, Sean’s Hair continues to suck up to Maria, telling her that she and Andrew just worked PERFECTLY together. He really liked how they swapped seemlessly from one to the other during the pitch, without once stabbing one another with a paring knife, like you could kind of tell they wanted to. They then go on to Sainsbury’s and pitch in much the same way. They also like both the look and taste of the team’s recipes.
This is, of course, an immediate contrast to the next shot, which is of Platinum’s food looking like they’ve just sneezed it out. This is their pitch to play.com, where they got told that their recipes at least taste nicer than they look, and the woman in charge says she’s worried that the conversational style of their book might make it hard to follow the recipes.
Two pitches down each, both teams speed to their final destination : Waterstones. It is at this point that Sean finally decides to sideline Maria…at exactly the wrong time. He’s decided that Patrick is going to live his dream of pitching, whilst David cooks. Andrew rather gingerly asks how the team would describe his and Maria’s “working relatiosh…team” fully realising that he should make it clear that he’s talking about how well they pitched, not how they spend the rest of the time yelling at one another. Also realising it almost sounded like he fancied her then. Sean says he knows it’s a (pointless) risk, but he’s going to do it anyway, just so David and Patrick can say they’ve done SOMETHING over the last two days. Andrew drily interviews that Sean has spent the day repeatedly calling he and Maria perfect, and now he’s swapped them out. For Patrick.
We then see Patrick utterly bombing his pitch. It is TERRIFYING. He’s just standing there reading out Maria’s notes, with his arms clamped to his sides, miserably whilst David nosily clatters around with a pea puree in the background. Andrew’s there the whole time, at the side, flashing “CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?” looks to everyone who’ll look. When it’s over, Maria DESPAIRS and talks about how her pitching was uplifting, whilst Patrick’s was boring and drab. Oh Maria, there was nothing boring about that pitch. I was TRANSFIXED.
What we see of PLatinum’s pitch focuses around
a) Alice apportioning out exactly who made which spelling mistakes
b) Amy telling Waterstones that their shop is for middle-aged middle-class farts but if they bought her book, they COULD bag their son’s girlfriend
Time now for the candidates to find out their results. They embark into their Apprenticars in the pouring rain then emerge, miraculously dry, to face Lordalan. As they wait to be ushered in, David smirks at everyone for no particular reason. Good to know.
Once everyone’s seated and ready and Lordalan has entered and we’re through the preamble, Lordalan tells us that this task was all about cookery books. And the absolutely necessary sidebar of getting a bunch of 16 year olds to cook. It’s not really his fault that this did not yield hilarious results. It’s just this cast. Can you imagine Lewis in the kitchen? Exactly.
We start with Wetsuit Kimono and “The Professional Woman”. Sean’s Hair is identified as the team leader, and he’s asked how this happened. He replied that he put himself forwards because he’s got experience in overseeing publishing. Lordalan grins at this, and says it matches what he’s always said in the Boardroom. Make sure the person with previous experience helms the task, so it’s extra hilarious when they screw up and get fired. “Good team leader OR WHAT?” gets a “calm and collected” from David, which you can tell he means as an insult. He didn’t treat us like dogs Lordalan, he’s a WUSS! Patrick replies that he thinks that Sean was alright, but he let too many other people make his decisions for him. When pressed as to who these other people were, Patrick says “oh, just everyone” as opposed to the answer, which is MARIA.
We next cover “The Professional Woman” and Lordalan says “a bit narrow isn’t it? The professional woman?”. Lordalan likes a woman with a bit of meat on her bones, you can tell. He asks whose idea it was, and Maria says it was hers. She says that making something niche would appeal to the buyers more than a “grey old boring cookbook”. Nice false dichotomy there Maria. Lordalan sniffs that he can’t see “cookbook” anywhere on the cover. It just says “The Professional Woman – quick, fresh, and healthy” which he snorts sounds like a lonely hearts column. Yes, if it’s one of those lonely hearts columns that include adverts for…professional services. Lordalan asks Andrew if he’s happy with how the task went – Andrew says he wasn’t. The focus group said the idea was crap but there was no stopping Maria yelling over everyone, so they went with it anyway. Maria smirks that Sean told her that her arguments blew Andrew’s out of the water, and Lordalan benignly smiles that he wonders if that’s true, or if it’s just because Maria is a “forceful woman”. Not that there’s anything wrong with a forceful woman. So long as she doesn’t get BLAHDDY PREGNANT.
The pitching is covered next, with Lordalan asking the team if it was right for Maria and Andrew to be swapped out for the last pitch. Patrick sighs that he did the best job he could under the circumstances, whilst Andrew grins that they weren’t as good as him and Maria, but they did a good job. Lordalan calls this out for the disingenuous nonsense that it is.
Over to Platinum now, and “#wheres mummy?”. Lucy Beauvallet is identified as Project Manager, and gets backing from her support team, Navdeep and Steven. Alice on the other hand says that on the first day she was APPALLED and also really genuinely upset and hurt by just how crap Lucy Beauvallet was. On the second day though she felt the opposite, and that Lucy Beauvallet really learnt. Or alternatively she herself realised she’d screwed something up horribly, so was less quick to constantly pick fault with others. One or t’other.
The team’s cover design is discussed next, with Steven being identified as architect of the graphic design style, and Lordalan snorting about whether a book called “where’s mummy?” is designed for University students or for nursery students. Amy says that she thinks it’s a universal experience that everyone arrives at University and thinks “hang on, where’s my mum?”, especially in the kitchen. All I really remember my mother cooking for me was fishfingers, but I guess I must have lived in one of those MODERN households (/Butterflies). Lordalan again snorts about whether students are really going to want to be seen with a book called “where’s mummy?” when they’re getting involved in the University experience – ie trying to get laid with everything in sight, and Lucy Beauvallet insists it’s a joke title. Mmm hmmm. Lordalan then goes on to say that he DOES like the hashtag. He plans to be bombarding Piers Morgan with it any day now.
The process of designing recipes is covered next, and Amy, Ashleigh and Alice all claim that they came up with the recipes themselves. Steven then chides them, saying that the subteam just gave them a list of ingredients, but no instructions as to how to create the dishes, so they can’t really say they came up with recipes. Amy protests that they so did tell them how the dishes were made (1.take Doritos, 2. take peanut butter, 3. introduce peanut butter to Doritos), and Navdeep backs Steven up that they SO didn’t. Amy then snots that she “vaguely recalls” being hung up on twice and told “whatever!” three times. Vaguely. Steven sighs that this is how “they” were on the task as well. All talking over one another and having conflicts and that. And by “they” he means girls. As though he wasn’t there hanging up the phone mid-conversation and all but yelling “BYE BITCH!”.
Next to be combed over are all the spelling mistakes in the books, which have now expanded to cover “rashes of bacon”. To be fair, if I was going to have a rash, that’s the one I’d pick. Amy takes full responsibility for these failures, because she knew that Alice was dyslexic and also that Ashleigh’s just a bit thick generally. Lordalan sighs that with all the GCSEs and A Levels between them, this isn’t really good enough. Alice grins that “courgettes” was her fault, then Nick snorts that it’s not really funny is it? Well…it kind of is. Everyone nods along solemnly, agreeing that, no, Nick’s right, it’s the worst thing a human’s ever done. Lucy Beauvallet sighs that Waterstones were particularly unimpressed. Ashleigh sneers that maybe Lucy Beauvallet should have put herself on’t designing book team, and then Navdeep clucks in disbelief that Ashleigh appears to be blaming Lucy Beauvallet for how badly her subteam messed up. Steven then snorts that he can’t believe that Ashleigh couldn’t spell “potato” (so above it all!) and then Amy wades in to make this all about how Lucy Beauvallet’s team didn’t have the pictures ready in time. All purpose bickering ensues, until Lordalan tells them all to shut up, and that they should have copy-edited before they pressed “print”, END OF.
Platinum sold 1000 copies to Waterstones, 1500 to play.com, and 5000 copies to Sainsbury’s, for a total of 7500 copies
Wetsuit Kimono sold 0 copies to Waterstones, 800 to play.com, and 0 to Sainsbury’s, for a total of 800 copies.
ANOTHER PLATINUM VICTORY!
They know they’ve got it in the bag from the Sainsbury’s reveal and celebrate accordingly. Lordalan says that amidst all the bickering there must have been something the buyers liked. Probably Steven’s front cover. Yeah, that’ll be it. Not the target market (Lucy Beauvallet) or the concept (Amy) but the doodle on the front cover. Mmm hmm. Anyway, their treat is to go eat ice cream and cake in a dessert bar. The BBC – devoted to our nation’s health since 1927. Once dispatched, everyone outside hugs like…all that never happened, minus Ashleigh, who still looks pissy about it all. These soft southerners, so labile in their friendships. None of them have the Northerner’s natural thirst for REVENGE and grudge holding.
Wetsuit Kimono are told to go away and think about what they did. Or, if they’re David, what the rest of them did, given as how he did nothing.
Dessert time now, and everyone sits at the dessert bar supping cocktails and eating various fondants and zabagliones. Lucy Beauvallet in particular wriggles around like she’s having QUITE the sensation. Alice takes some time out to interview that she thinks it’s quite obvious who she would have blamed if the team had lost, but the team didn’t fail so… *sad shrug*. Well there’s a team player for you. Meanwhile it appears that, at the other end of the table, Amy and Lucy Beauvallet are re-bonding over how Amy scarfed all of Lucy Beauvallet’s ice-cream down whilst she wasn’t looking. Ashleigh sits by them, glumly, with multi-coloured feather ear-rings on. Lucy interviews that being Project Manager was a massive hassle, especially as she was leading several “independent-minded ladies with plenty of fight in them”.
Well there’s a diplomatic way of saying “what a bunch o bitches”. All credit to Lucy Beauvallet!
Sadly, the only dessert anybody’s getting in Loser Cafe is a melted bowl of soft-scoop with ice crystals all over it. Sean and Andrew both agree that the concept was definitely what went wrong with the book, whilst Maria pulls a face at both of them. She huffs that out of all the concepts they brainstormed, hers was clearly the best one. She interviews to this effect also, saying that given that there were ZERO other concepts on the table she literally DOES NOT UNDERSTAND why everyone’s saying her concept lost them the task. Because…it did? You only got 800 orders, and they were clearly pity orders because nobody wants to make kids cry like Laura Moore. What were the other concepts that were so much worse? “Cooking With Tripe?”
Sean’s Hair interviews that he realises it’s going to be easy to blame him for the failure of the task, but he refuses to be blamed for things he didn’t do. Like “control Maria”. Or his hair. Back in the room, Andrew smiles that their concept WAS definitely awful, but they shouldn’t forget to also blame Patrick for his awful pitching. Patrick looks appalled. Sure the WORDS were mangled, but could any of the rest of the team have pulled off a white shirt with oak-pannelling on the back and ladybird cufflinks on the sleeves? No. No they could not.
To the Boardroom!
Everybody shuffles in, nervously, apart from Maria, who’s already wearing a face like someone just insulted her granny. Lordalan honks at them all that this was a DISASTER. They got ZERO orders from two of the biggest retailers in the country. ZERO. How did this happen? Sean’s Hair replies that it thinks it was all Maria’s fault for being a “forceful woman” and pushing her ideas through ahead of everyone else’s. He also think that as she is a “quote, ‘professional woman’ “, he thought he should be able to trust her perspective. Lordalan snorts that she’s not a professional woman – she’s just left school. Whatever Lordalan, you keep on telling these kids that YOU were a professional woman from the age of about 6. Maria of COURSE squeaks up to say that she disagrees with Sean entirely – she wasn’t a “forceful woman”, Sean was just a pushover, and should take full responsibility for just capitulating to her dumb ideas. So there.
Andrew breaks in to say that he personally thinks that they failed because Maria was a screeching pain in the arse. He brought the group valid feedback from the focus group, and she just yelled over all of it. Sean then contradicts himself from all of about 5 seconds ago, saying that he went with Maria because she made very good points, and not at all because she yelled at him. Jeez, is his hair ACTUALLY an entirely separate personality? Lordalan then snorts that Maria clearly didn’t make good points did she? She made BAD points. Sean’s Hair then nods along saying of course she made bad points, and he’s very sorry to Andrew for ever doubting him. Good grief.
Lordalan then decides he’s going to teach the Apprentibabies a very important lesson. When you’re selling something, always try to make it appeal to the widest audience possible. Like “first year students” (approximately 760,000 in the UK) over women with jobs (about 15,000,000 in the UK). They were pitching to SOME OF THE BIGGEST RETAILERS IN THE COUNTRY, not “HOBBY BLAHDDY WEEKLY” so they shouldn’t have gone for such a tiny portion of the market. Then again, watching this show for 8 years, you can see how people think “professional women” is a very tiny niche.
We next cover David, and how he did nothing all task. He claims that he asked excellent questions in the focus group (“what do you think about women?”) and also cooked excellent meals at the photoshoot, but nobody’s really buying it. Andrew points out that he led on both those occasions, Sean claims that he heard very little from David all task, and Maria calls him a “quiet mouse”. Poor David. He took on all that feedback about calming down and being less obnoxious, and this is the thanks he gets? P’tuh. He explains that everyone was shouting so loudly that they just didn’t hear all the amazing points he was calmly making in a normal voice. So convincing.
The pitching disaster that was Patrick is unveiled, with Lordalan saying that he heard that his pitch was godawful, so why did he feel the need to do it? Patrick weakly says that he felt that Maria had missed out some key facts he felt needed to be included. Which would explain why he just stood there reading Maria’s notes then. Lordalan huffs that this isn’t a talent show (too right) where everyone has to do something. If you’re not good at something, you shouldn’t put yourself forward for it, and clearly Patrick was crap at pitching. Sean’s Hair explains that he let Patrick pitch because he was really keen to do it earlier in the day, and Lordalan huffs that it seems that Sean just took “Project Manager” to mean a role where you just rubber stamp what everyone else has decided they’re going to do already. It’s quite something to see an organisation where the “yes man” was actually at the top, I have to admit.
Kaen asks Sean what he thinks of Patrick’s pitch. He says he thought the pitch started off as being timid and quiet, but it got better. It must have done that off camera then…Kaen then says she’s going to give them some tips about presenting to industry – there needs to be energy, enthusiasm, humour and also facts. Maybe a backflip. Couple of boob jokes. Sandwiches. Lordalan tells Patrick that, with the greatest of respects, Patrick always sounds like it’s Monday. He’s a misery, and he shouldn’t have pitched. So there.
It’s time for Sean to choose who to bring back to the final boardroom. He chooses Maria and David. Lordalan looks non-plussed, and Maria, eyes bulging, hand on heart says that Sean backed up everything she said 100%, so she doesn’t understand why she’s being picked. Sean deadpans “well I’m going to bring you back anyway Maria”. HA! Always standing up to her at the worst possible time. Lordalan couldn’t have been more clearly gearing up to fire Patrick if he tried.
Candidates go out, Nick calls Sean a bender (with the wind, with the wind, calm down), candidates come back in again.
Sure enough, the first order of business is Sean being forced to explain why Patrick has been sent back to the house whilst David and Maria, neither of whom did pitches that would have embarrassed Nargis Aga, remain in the line of fire. Sean explains that David has been brought back is because he didn’t do or say anything at all over the two days. David says he completely disagrees, but Maria sidles in to say that she thinks that what Sean is TRYING to say is that he’s bringing David back for lack of culpability, given that all he did was sit on the backseat all day doing nothing. Thanks Maria. Why stop doing all of Sean’s speaking for him now, eh? David huffs that the failure of the task had nothing to do with his subteam, and EVERYTHING to do with the other subteam. He appeals to Kaen to back up his assertion that he asked “excellent questions” with the focus group, with Kaen replying “…well you did ask some questions, yes, but Andrew took the lead”.
Sean is asked who should be fired, and he says that it should be Maria, because whilst he did make the mistake of agreeing to literally everything she said, she WAS the one saying it all in the first place. Maria huffs that she may have come up with the idea of women, but everyone else signed on to it, so it’s not her fault alone. Sean says he is specifically referring to the “very long” conversation he had with Maria in the car after the focus group research came in. Maria smiles back that it wasn’t a very long conversation at all because he folded faster than Superman on laundry day.
Lordalan ponders, as you can tell he’s been waiting to do for two episodes now “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?” and Sean takes the bait to say that the problem of Maria should be solved by making sure she knows she was in the wrong, by firing her. Lordalan says that he was referring more to how Maria is a problem for Sean specifically, given how she’s owning him in this boardroom and made him dance to her tune all day. Sean replies that listening to Maria was a mistake that he definitely won’t make again. He’s learnt that just because she’s louder than him, doesn’t automatically make her right. Maria then proceeds to blather about how she was a strong independent feisty woman who had to shout to make herself heard over the patriarchal din of David doing nothing and Patrick muttering that he wouldn’t mind pitching, once, if nobody else minded. It was a JUNGLE IN THERE. Lordalan points out to her that the “bull in a china shop” approach doesn’t always work, and Maria replies that she agrees. She’s learnt so much from this Boardroom.
Cue Maria spending all of next week doing nothing, and then getting called on it.
David is asked who he would fire, and he opts for Sean, because he completely ignored the information he was given from the focus group. So there.
FIRING TIME! The fire-teasing is Maria, for being too forceful and bubbly “and all that stuff”, but in the end, the firing is Sean, for failing at his day job, and also for not bringing Patrick back to the boardroom. He thanks Lordalan for the opportunity and stalks off. Once David and Maria are dispatched, he hugs them both, although his hug for Maria couldn’t have more malice in it if it tried.
In his TAXI OF SHAME, Sean says he’s going to leave with his head held high because he’s got a lot of projects in the pipeline. Basically, whatever Maria tells him to do. He’s sure that in 5-10 years time, he’ll be very succesful. You know once his hair has grown out, and people can take him seriously.
Back at the ranch, Alice asks everyone who they think is going to come back. Andrew usurps her by asking the far more interesting question of who people want to come back. Everybody seems to want Maria back, for whatever reason. Patrick is wearing a floral print shirt with denim beach shorts. Just throwing that out there.
David is first through the door, to be greeted by a massive hug from Patrick but utter indifference from everybody else. He tries to act like there’s been a SHOCK Double Firing, but nobody believes him, and of course Maria traipses in 5 seconds later and everyone runs at her screaming. Once the mania has settled down, Alice decides to take the drama prize for the series so far, by saying it’s literally like someone’s died when they leave, because you NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN.
Until they come back for the final task. And…you know, after the series has finished. Unless Alice really is planning on never seeing any of these people again. I guess it’s not THAT unlikely.
Next week : TEN ITEMS RETURNS!