The Apprentice 7 – Week 3

11th item – cheap immigrant kitchen-staff was later edited out.

Previously on The Apprentice – THE INTERNET! What a distant memory that seems now.

6am and


every single light is already on in the Apprentice House. Is that really necessary? That amount of electricity usage? Frankly I’m beginning to wonder just how well Al Gore trained Melody. Unless it was in the art of


how to win Phone Answering Wars, in which case, she has been well schooled. That really does seem the sort of thing it’d be more likely that she picked up from Dalai Lama though, winner of Celebrity Apprentice Tibet Series 2 as he was. (That’s how they pick the Dalai Lamas now. Celebrity Apprentice. Before that, the current Dalai Lama was a Property Show presenter). Meanwhile, Tom has squandered his chance for an early two-point lead by

Mmmm...continental breakfast

getting engrossed in a pain au chocolat. So Guardian. As Cousin It tells Melody that Lordalan will meet them in The Strand. Number 100 to be precise. WHAT COULD BE THERE? Inside his minimalist combat chamber,

Focus, believe, achieve

Glenn prepares (/is shirtless, what?, someone’s got to encourage Jim to stop being such an awkward virgin about nudity, THIS IS THE APPRENTICE!). Oh and the cars won’t just be there in 30 minute to pick them up in 30 minutes. Their cars will be LEAVING in 30 minutes! This is a whole new level of pressure that causes Natasha Scribbins to


LOSE HER PANTS! How I wish this had, somehow, been a key plot point. Ellie mumbles vaguely about what a Strand is, because they don’t have those where she’s from, and Felicity informs her that the task will probably be something to do with the theatre or tourists. I wish it had been. I mean, I wish every week that the task would be “put on a play” because the show just give up and embrace the fact that it’s Big Brother at this point, but the “buy ten items” task is always pretty dull. Unless it’s in Morocco obviously. Then it’s amazing.

Helpful Voiceover Man reminds us, as the candidates file out to their Apprenticars, that in both of the aired episodes thus far, something with a penis has been fired. Big Deal Helpful Voiceover Man – in Series 1 five out of the first six firings were of womb-people. This is nothing in terms of gender carnage. Anywho, in Girls Apprenticar A, after having spent all of last week riding a FEMINIST HIGH following beating the men in all of one task, the women of Venture have turned to bitching and in-fighting and betraying the sisterhood and collaborating with the patriarchy (HOW TYPICAL EH ANDREW DWORKIN?). Natasha Scribbins, having possibly burnt her bra, and now

Do you really want to hurt me yeah?

made-up like Boy George on a dress-down Friday, decides the women are going to lose this week, because the weaker men have been trimmed, but the crappy end of the women’s stick still remains intact. Judging from You’re Fired she means Zoe, but as she’s in Apprenticar B currently, the camera cuts to


Susan anyway, jutting her jaw out like she’s trying to confuse Natasha into not throwing her under the Phallocentric Bus with her latent masculinity. Meanwhile the men are just concentrating on winning, with Gavin


in Logic Apprenticar A half-heartedly stomping that there is NO WAY (no no no NO WAY) that he is losing this task. He’s staying (HE’S STAYING) and you (and you, and you) you’re going hire him. Vinnie Disney closes by saying that there is no option other than to win. If they’d shown Zoe sticking her head out of the Venture Apprenticar B like an excited labrador, tongue protruding and grinning innocently as the wind played with her hair (which is I think the highest level of comms you could expect from her), this whole Boardroom would have been spoiled via foreshadowing and hubris not 5 minutes in. Hooray! Let’s just show a clip of Jim saying he’s definitely not going to win, and call this series a day.

As the Appprenticars trundle to a stand-still, we learn what is actually at 100 The Strand. It’s

Would prefer the Savaloy

THIS! The Savoy!


Ooooh! Ahhh! Etc. Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that it was built in the 1880s and was Britain’s first luxury hotel. It has 268 rooms, 3 restaurants, 2 bars, a bowling alley, 5 helipads, a virtual combat room, 4 holodecks, brothels in both the north and east wings, a crypt, 7 rooms constructed entirely of ice, a laser-quest AND Crystal Maze (IN THE SAME HOTEL), a haunted chimney, moving topiary and a boiler-room on the edge of exploding, elevators full of blood, an en-suite bathroom (just the one), a monastery, 14 hidden altars to the dark lord Shuma-Gorath, and a fully accredited health-centre and spa. What it doesn’t have? A CLOCHE! OH NO!

The teams all troop inside, to see Kaen,


vaguely haunted that the Curse of Kaen dissipated briefly last week. Maybe it’s gone! Maybe she won’t turn into a swan if she’s more than 5 miles away from Lordalan. PEG IT KAEN! PEG IT! Nick is naturally


still Nick. Lordalan enters, and everyone does the whole “good morning class, good morning Lordalan” routine and hey, remember how last week I said that if I just did a half-hearted Photoshop job I could make Edna look like Ursula The Sea Witch by adding a few tentacles?



Lordalan tells the candidates that the Savoy has been closed for the last three years, during which time they’ve spent over £200,000,000 on refurbishments. Those little soaps ARE expensive. But, after alll that effort, they’ve still found themselves a few items short! And the grand re-opening is tomorrow! Oh no!



Edna looks mildly insulted by this rubbish. I know this show is about 80% fiction at the best of times, but if you’re coming up with a fake backstory for these tasks beyond “Lordalan is a weird old man who likes making people dance for his amusement” at least involve Mariah Carey or something. Make them get a Pomeranian and 500g of blue M&Ms. Anyway, yes, it’s the “Buy 10 items” for as cheap as possible, but with a stupid “it’s for the Savoy, so STAY CLASSY!” angle that never comes to anything, much like Natasha’s lack of knickers.

Oh, and as the boys have been so BLAHDDY RAHBBISH!



(Tom looks ashamed, Leon stares straight ahead like he’s getting a private school bollocking, Gavin awkwardly scratches, Jim knows they can’t mean him because he’s amazing, Glenn shuts his eyes in shame, Vinnie Disney checks out Kaen’s rack)

there’s going to be a team swap. That’s right, Stella English is coming in to be PM and WHIP THE BOYS TEAM IN…no? Oh, ok, Jim, Leon and Glenn over to Venture, Ellie, Natasha, Melody and Zoe


(oh shit he’s noticed me) over to Logic. Runarahnd….NAH!


Teams are to be back by 5:30, having spent as little as possible, Edna, try to look as much like a pissed-off pufferfish as possible at all times…



But first, Helpful Voiceover Man and the King Of Savoy


drone on about how amazing and luxurious and high-quality and classy and amazing the Savoy is, and for some reason I was expecting a little “Product Placement” symbol to pop up at this point, but it never did. Imagine that. Frankly, I don’t care personally how many pearl-handled fish-knives the Savoy gets through over a Bank Holiday Weekend, so I’m just going to skip this bit if you don’t mind?

We learn, as Edna drones on about how classy and quality and luxurious the Savoy is (OPENING SOON!), that two of the items are a “top hat” (Item 1) and “signage” (Item 2). But you know, LUXURY signage. It has to be done in Helvetica, not that cheap knock-off Arial (*SPIT*). Once Edna’s finished trying to make out that she’s some sort of arbiter of classiness, Mousy Helen peeps up to say that she thinks this is a task for an organiser, a delegator, and a time-manager to PM. As opposed to all those tasks that need disorganised, unpunctual glory-hogs. The team look at her expectantly

Anything? Helen? No?

but she’s certainly not putting herself forward oh no. (*cringe shuffle cringe*). Susan decides that who Helen actually meant was Susan, as Susan buys and negotiates all the time for her day-job. In bragterview she tells us that


this day job is a business that she set up when she was 18, which made £70,000 over…some period of time, which Susan then used to pay off her mother’s mortgage. She did all this AND her A Levels AND a degree from one of the best Universities in the world. Get her. I think at this point Felicity, Jim and Leon all say something, possibly about agreeing that Susan should be PM, but frankly I’m too distracted by the fact that



Meanwhile, over on Logic, Glenn says that he wants to literally put his name forward for Project Manager. Like this.


Oh…perhaps not. Maybe he LITERALLY dropped it. Anyway, he mumbles on about his day-job whilst constantly picking at his chin like he wants to go off and crawl down a plug-hole, before handsometerviewing that he’s

So very worthy

a worthy business-partner for Lordalan, but you can see from the comparative stubble situations that this interview is from a LONG time ago. Natasha asks if there are any objections and


Vinnie Disney and Tom both object in that “I’m going to pretend I want to be PM but not really oh go on you do it then” way that was apparently de rigeur on the boys team this series. Unfamiliar with the mores of men, Natasha requests they

BAM, yeah?

BAM, close it on Gavin. So agreed, Gavin asks that everyone read the list in silence for the next,,,oooh hour or so, just to familiarise themselves with the products, which include “fillet steak” (Item 3), “120 kgs ice” (Item 4), and a clock…clochchchCHHHHHHHHHHH (*hacks up phlegm*) “cloche, clochAY or whatever” (Item 5). Nobody knows what this last item is, least of all



Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that the teams each are getting £2000 to spend, which for Team Logic is being held by


Vinnie Disney. I would imagine the seed money for Venture is more securely held, possibly in a hotel safe, after everyone had to spend 15 minutes sat on a red-eyed mouth frothing Edna to stop her GRABBING HER PRESHUS. . Anyway, money away, they get on with the business of scouring the Internet according to this show (ie a map, a phone and some Yellow Pages) trying to source the items. Jim does nothing to hide the rumour he’s secretly built like an Outback Steakhouse by showing off his


Hulk-Hands. Susan tells everyone to pick out three potential locations per item, and try to look Eastwards, because that’s where everything’s cheaper in London. The amount anybody seems to take notice of this is nil. Helen takes to the phone to track down bulbs for a crystal chandelier (Item 6), with slow-arriving, but eventual. Glenn ascertains that a cloche is a metal lid for a plate (thankfully the person on the other end of the line doesn’t say “charger”, otherwise we’d be here all day),


and Jim tracks down some fillet steak suppliers. He’s extra charming doing so, and you can just


see Felicity’s ovaries dissolving into her reproductive system like alka-seltzer can’t you? Plink plink fizz.

Speaking of over-active reproductive systems, Nick’s is whirring into life to declare his troth to Susan.

No fool like an old fool eh?

He is just in awe of her managerial and organisational powers. All this big, meany, scary egotistical people on her team, and little old Susan is whipping them into shape. She’s really something rather special. (Poor Mrs Nick.) With 8 out of 10 items apparently already sourced, (including organza (Item 7) Susan decides it’s time to push the button, and hit the road. She grabs Felicity, and pulls her over to her team, and tells Jim he’s in charge of the other sub-team (hey, why NOT give Jim the most responsibility in your sub-team every single week? It’s not as though anyone else wants to win). Jim decides he wants Helen for his gang, so Susan can take Leon as a trade from the testosterone side of things. Literally


nobody cares about one-gloved Edna. (*plays sad music, like The Littlest Hobo or something*)

Meanwhile, back on Team Logic, nothing doing. Gavin’s body language as PM is


so strong, so authoritative, so inspiring. Vinnie Disney, looking more and more like

and featuring Rick Edwards as...Rick Edwards

the George Lamb from a cheap porn spoof of T4, is having trouble explaining the difference between a fillet steak and a Fillet O’Fish. Natasha Scribbins, now


DRESSED like Boy George on Dress-Down Friday, (but with marginally bigger boobs) has decided that she’s going to ring the Ritz and ask for their procurement list on behalf of the Savoy. And hey, while we’re at it, she’s going to ask for their client database and staff pay-roll as well, and maybe all their security codes and the address and phone number of the Hotel Manager’s mistress.

How the?

Of course, despite all these faces, nobody says a thing to her about it, and how utterly stupid this is, and it goes on FOREVER, because this is the sort of week this is.

Out in the corridor, Kaen does a bit of a


Primal Scream, unable to hold in any longer what a moron Natasha is. Feels good. Eventually Gavin makes her stop, like a dad weary after 2 hours of trying to get his daughter to ride her bike without stabilisers, but doesn’t appear to have any other plan of action. Vinnie Disney cuts the silence to suggest that the logistics of the team are going horribly wrong, and Gavin’s response. “Chill out, calm down a bit”, a bit like a junior prefect trying to hold a room for a teacher they bloody well hope is coming back any second. THE TEACHER’S NOT COMING GAVIN. YOU ARE THE TEACHER.

Meanwhile Venture Team A (Felicity, Susan, Leon) are in St. James (?!) looking for a top hat. Susan schools Felicity in the art of negotiating,


telling her that whatever the man in charge offers, she’s to respond with an offer of £5. So yeah, let’s see how that works out for them. Ooh…

Looks likely...

let’s say here. After some preliminary fooling around with the merchandise…

What what?

not very well. The man in charge tells them that a top hat’s going to cost them £365. Felicity’s response? “Wow”. Susan’s response?


Leon’s response is pretty much nil. Felicity tries to barter down by saying “cheap cheap cheap” over and over again like a little baby Easter chick, but the response is the immortal “I’m just going to have a word with my colleague (possibly about J-Lo or the Sudanese succession election or ITV sci-fi drama Primeval)” so I’m guessing it’s going to be all in vain. As Mr Top Hat waddles off to talk about how Marc Anthony looks like Skeletor and she can totally do better, Leon, Felicity and Susan just


stand and flap about how expensive £365 is. Too expensive for Susan, and also for Felicity, who suggests they just go to a fancy-dress shop instead. Meanwhile Nick


is rambling on to nobody in particular about how the last time he was here he met the King of Tonga., so this is a shop for the monied, not those looking for bargains. Presumably Nick had come to get a reference from him for Melody’s application form.

Anyway, after a while, Mr Top Hat


comes back and says no to any and all discounts, the end. Felicity apologises for wasting his time, rather sweetly, with a flick of her hair, then retreats stompily to Venture Apprenticar A to start screaming and screaming about how he



Susan looks like if she’d known Felicity had these…rage issues, she frankly would have brought Edna. Having failed spectacularly in the first skirmish in Battle Top Hat, Susan rings Jim up (and you know, the other three flesh-heaps on the other team) to implore him to bargain hard, for the fillet steaks he’s on his way to buy. Jim very reasonably and calmly and a little spine-meltingly says “OK, I’ll do that for you Suzie”. I’m not saying I’d PAY for Jim to call me Suzie like that but…actually let’s just not finish that sentence. Edna rolls her eyes in the background all “oh look at Susan telling us what to do, the effing whippersnapper”,

Oh Suzie...

like she’s about to do much of…well anything really.

He goes in to a Mayfair butchers, and completely dismantles this poor gentleman,

Just another victim

and his assistant, negotiating over £200 worth of steak down to £170 via a mixture of shameless bromantic flirting,


shoulder pats, crotch-emphasising gestures

I'm not saying it's NOT this big.

and Derren Brown mind-tricks. Edna tries to play at one point, but he parks her on the sidelines more sweetly and delicately than a mother-cat directing a kitten in its teeth. Afterwards he interviews to the fact of

Lick my face!

“fuck yeah I’m good”. This week, he’s not entirely wrong.

10:45am and Logic are still in their hotel room and poring over Camomile tea (Item 8) and the niggling matter of a cloche/closhay, and what it is. Gavin’s already two minutes to midnight on his own personal nuclear clock over the matter.

Tick tick tick

Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that they have sourced precisely none of their ten items, and are currently labouring under the delusion that Signange (SIG-NARJ) is a type of spanish root vegetable. Melody pipes up suggesting they leave the hotel and go somewhere else. Gavin asks where, and Melody basically replies “the Apprenticars”. They can make phone-calls on the road! JUST GET OUT OF THIS ROOM BECAUSE IT IS CLEARLY NOT WORKING AT ALL. Gavin again just bites his own face and refuses to make a decision. Outside Kaen whingeterviews that they’ve been there for so long now, and don’t seem to be getting anywhere, so she’s probably going to order something from the room-service and make a day of it, do the cameramen want anything?

A poached egg?

Finally, after producing enough nervous sweat to drown a hippo, Gavin decides that they’re DEFINITELY GOING TO LEAVE THE ROOM NOW. God it’s like being at an Agoraphobics Convention. Vincent is asked to co-ordinate the sub-team of…some women. And AWAY LOGIC GO!


Look at Vinnie sprint! He really thinks he’s about to save this task single-handedly doesn’t he? Bless.

Fortunately for Gavin, Melody has hit on a lead for the chandelier bulbs. It’s 13 miles away, in London midday traffic, but they DEFINITELY PROBABLY EXIST! Somewhere in Teddington.


Tom complains that Teddington is not in fact on his map. I really hope next time we cut to this team you can see the Eiffel Tower through the window of their Apprenticar.

Meanwhile, Vincent decides to tank his career as Subteam PM within two words : “Right, girls…”

I mean…after that are they even listening? I think even “ladies” would have been preferably. Or “my darlings”. Even “Right babycakes”. Anywho, he’s currently pondering “physilas” (Item 9), and telling everyone the art of negotiating is about trying to pay low prices for things if you’re buying them. Already he’s going down a STORM in Logic Apprenticar B.


Outside he obliviterviews that he thinks Gavin chose him to be Sub-PM, because he’s well suited to “handling strong ladies, so there you go”


First negotiation for this team is on signange. It basically goes


Natasha : The absolute, like, UBER amount, yeah, that I’ve got to, you know, negotiate with today, is £20
Signage Man : No
Natasha : £21 and, like, BANG repeat business in a facilitative, like, mutually beneficial way, yeah?
Signage Man : No
Natasha : £22?
Signange Man : No
Natasha : £23?
Signange Man : No
Natasha : £24?
Vinnie Disney : Natasha I don’t really…
Signage Man : I am really not interested in any way in you and your slow drip business speak hell, woman.
Vinnie Disney : £80 in a really weird deal where I come back and give you half later for absolutely no discernable reason?
Signage Man : Sure, why not?

I am your sister, and I love you.

Natasha : If we’d stood there for 5 hours I could have driven him down to, like, yeah, BANG, 110%, like, yeah, about £77 yeah? Vincent is, like, yeah, a wanker, I REALLY THINK.

Meanwhile, The Venture A-Team are playing out exactly the same top hat related scene as earlier, except this time


there’s a dead cat smoking a cigarette involved. Well there’s my Incidental Character Boyfriend sorted. What? Have you got any better ideas. Chain-smoking Taxidermy Cat it is – I’m like Lars & The Real Girl this week. Oh and also in the field of differences, this time Felicity MANAGES TO GET A PENNY OFF! A PENNY! £349.99! (This penny off thing is a rules thing incidentally I think. They have to get a discount, or there’s a fine, or something. God this task’s dumb).

12:45pm now, and Tom is

Cradle, cradle.

cradling his phone in the most awkward manner possible, asking the lucky human on the other hand if they’d care to show him their 10 inch cloche. A female voice murmers out of the other end of the phone, and Tom’s face


lights up, in a Eureka moment worthy of Archimedes himself. Sadly the woman at the other end of the line has told him it’s a bell. Tom wonders where he might find a big shiny ten inch bell in Central London. Make up your own joke, as his eyes flit around his face like they made an Eagle-Eye Action man out of the dad from a mid 90s kids sitcom.

Meanwhile, Glenn has found an actual cloche,


and is purchasing it for the princely sum of £8.50. Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that this has come after a lengthy neogtiation process down from £8.94, in which Glenn has claimed that a 10p discount will


QUITE LIDDERALLY CHANGE HIS LIFE. This is a bit much, even by Apprentice standards. He’s no Jim is he? At the same time, Tom has got distracted down the avenue of thinking that a cloche is in fact a sort of miniature greenhouse, which Melody disputes on the grounds that if it were, there’d be more than one dimension listed on the sheet. Although she appears to be demonstrating this via the scrag-end of a Lady Gaga dance routine,


so maybe Gavin does have a reason for completely forgetting this exchange.

Back on Team Venture, Susan phones Jim to find out how he’s doing. Quite well is the answer, two items down, and the chandelier bulbs soon to come. Helen demands, as much as Helen ever demands, to know what Susan’s bought. Susan replies that she’s bought the top hat for £349.99


Whatever, it’s more than you did Helen. At Helen’s disbelief, Susan replies that it was the best she could do given the (*silent, but barely* crappy) leads that Felicity gave her. Felicity’s demeanour at this point suggests that she is finding her “suck up to the PM” strategy pushed to its very limit at Susan’s passive-aggression.


Highbury, North London now, and Vinnie Disney is closing a deal for the fillet steak for £240 (AND IT’S IN CASH!)


which is 25% off the price the butchers were originally asking, but still not as good as Jim managed to get. SIGH.

Out in the suburbs, Gavin has decided to just pop into

It's a cane ladies, calm down

the Invisible Man’s House to see if he’s got a spare top hat. Turns out he doesn’t. Well that’d be less moronic than what they actually do, which is to check in at a “Top Hat Cleaners” to see if they have an actual top hat. They don’t. Nobody let these guys near a Dick’s Sporting Goods (A HA HA HA HA!) Kaen’s all


the Curse is back isn’t it? DAMNIT. Last week was his only hope. She then interviews that this task has gone completely to pot and this is a DOUBLE shame, because not ONLY do the teams have to answer to Lordalan, they ALSO HAVE TO ANSWER TO THE SAVOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


No they don’t Kaen, sod off. Have them work in a KFC for a task and try and sell me that shit. “It’s not just Lordalan they have to answer to, IT’S COLONEL SANDERS’ GHOST!”

Back out on the street, the Logic A-Team are still arguing about what a cloche is. Gavin has now decided it’s definitely not a garden thing, Melody’s all DUH, I TOLD YOU. Gavin’s all “you never”, then Melody does the


dance routine again (she’s still in lover with Judas (from when they worked together on a marketing deal on matzo bread) BABY), but he still doesn’t get it. Melody just kind of chalks it up to Gavin being an idiot who doesn’t listen and calmly agrees to move on. She the interviews that Gavin, and by extension the whole task is a complete write-off, oh well, never mind.

I heart Melody. If she’s not Last Girl Standing I don’t even know this show anymore.

Back in their Apprenticar now, and Gavin decides to ring Vincent for council, babbling incoherently about his problems, his problems with everything, chill out Gavin, so many problems, THEY’VE GOT NOTHING, PLEASE SAVE ME VINNIE DISNEY!


Vinnie Disney replies that he’ll get his “gang”(/typing pool) here to start ringing around for Gavin’s items as well as his own sub-team’s, because he’s nice like that. What a gent.

And now…


ORGANZA ELEGANZA! Venture Team A have been transported to Mayfair, having learnt pretty much nothing, to buy their organza. From


this Smuganza. Susan smiles broadly and does her whole “Triple S Susan” thing right up in her face, sing-song’ing in her face that this is all for a VERY important client. Smuganza, pitching her reply somewhere between Olivia Williams, Servalan, and Charlotte Coleman breathes “How would that make a difference to ME?”. Susan looks put out, so chirrups “it’s cash in hand!”. Smuganza then goes full Bond villain and sighs “that part doesn’t make much difference to me”.


God I love her. She even taps at her computerised till like a member of the Stasi. In the end, Susan gets a £20 discount down to £100 for the organza, but Smuganza makes it very very clear that this is because of nothing that Susan has done. She just wants to make sure this gets on the telly. Outside, Susan fretterviews


that she told her team to look for locations to the East and South of London, but, erm, they didn’t. Oops.

2:40pm now, and Gavin is finally securing his first deal of the day, also on organza. He’s in Shepherd’s Bush and dealing with


Not-Smuganza, unless she’s REALLY good with disguises (and I hope she is), so he gets his organza for £76. At the same time, Vincent asks Zoe to ring the man they’ve sourced for the ice, and to let him know they’ll be there for 3pm on the dot. Asked to do something for once in her Apprentice life, Zoe is naturally


super-compliant. Over the quiet murmer of Zoe doing nothing, Ellie is on the hunt for bog-roll (Item 10).

She rings her first choice, who tells her that they’ve got nothing in stock for her, which Vincent greets with a panicked assertion that they won’t find this stuff ANYWHERE! Ellie then gets a bite on her bait with the next call, but as soon as she gets a conversation going, Vincent DEMANDS the phone so that the men can do the real business talking, little lady Ellie sullenly thrusts it over to him, then as soon as Logic Apprenticar B stops so that Natasha, can totally 110% SMASH her piss break yeah?, Ellie stolidly interviews that

Oh Vinnie...

Vincent is clearly getting off in some sort of perverted sex way about managing three women, as a self-designated ladies man. Ellie on the other hand, believes him to be a bit of a, what she calls, where she’s from, a “Billy Bullshitter”. Marvellous. Vincent then swoops in to try to mollify her via the medium of subtle arm-touches. This is not the best move, to put it mildly…

MINI-MONTAGE TIME now – Venture Team A are picking up their signage


oooh, ahh, which they have paid £40 for, Jim is ringing round for loo-roll, with no success, and Melody is peering out of her Apprenticar window muttering “syphilis, syphilis”, or thereabouts before buying a top hat for £360. I’m guessing the guy WOULDN’T EVEN TAKE THE PENNY OFF, the greedy bastard. Then, in a dimly lit lighting store managed by Dorian Green’s mum, it briefly looks like Helen might lead a negotiation (for the chandelier bulbs) but


it was always going to end like this wasn’t it? Jim gets his bulbs in for £60. Melody grits “SYPHILIS, SYPHILIS!” some more, and our MINI-MONTAGE is over.

4pm, and


Ellie is closing her loo-roll deal, despite Vinnie Disney’s best efforts to cut in all over her. I was with him Natasha, because I have NEVER seen someone take so instant dislike as a the signage man did to her, but this is just awful. So obviously Natasha decides to join in as well. Eventually, despite everyone else’s worst intentions, Ellie cuts Loo-Roll Man down from £9 a case to £7.50 a case, meaning a total spend of £97.50 against an initial price of £117. HOORAY FOR ELLIE! Outside,


Zoe grizzles that they’re not going to have time to go do her ice-deal now, because the suppliers are in South-East London and they’re currently in North-West London. My heart BLEEDS. She’s been so disconnected til now she was the only one to shake Loo-Paper Man’s hand. Vincent rings Gavin at this point to tell him that the ice is a no-go, unless Gavin wants the camomile tea sacrificed, which I would imagine is more expensive, and therefore more of a priority. Gavin looks like he Does. Not. Care.

At all, not at all.

Finally : Tea Wars, as both teams speed back to the Savoy, as the 5pm deadline hurtles towards them like an out-of control brontosaurus herd. Felicity has got another

Woo woo!

absurdly over-priced source she’s going to drag the Venture A-Team to. Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that this is the penultimate item on the Venture List, so obviously two deals have been made out of my line of sight. Susan very earnestly says she thinks the list price for the tea is probably about £100, so Felicity should probably try and get it for £30. A HA HA HA HA HA. Tom meanwhile is


is hurtling around London on his own, laden with bags. He’s being instructed by Vincent and the Typing Pool via phone, very much in the manner of Knightmare (“I AM IN A TEA SHOP!” “SIDE-STEP TO YOUR LEFT!”), so they’ve presumably sourced this deal for him. He and Gavin close a deal for the tea for £223.

This is compared to what Felicity’s source, aka


Tea-Bag, is offering for her tea, which is £990.

Nice poker face Susan

This is because it’s lovely, lovely hand-crafted tea, not indsutrial tea, made by the sweetest guy, you’ll love him. His name’s Mahir, he’s from Turkey, and he is just OBSESSED with tea. He’s marvellous, you simply HAVE to meet him. She then quite shamelessly announces, on camera, “as you know, I’m the Rare Tea Company, I only do really good tea”. NICE product placement there Tea-Bag. Why not just turn direct to camera whilst you do it? Why not pull a prop of evil out of your Mary Poppins handbag and use it for maximum evil eff…

slurp slurp

oh, wait, you did. And are totally using it to hide your evil laughter.

She stands there, watching them scrabble and panic and wriggle negotiate within themselves, still

sup sup sup

drinking from her prop, before letting them off the hook by gifting them the tea for the VERY modest price of £410. They totter off to the car, under a mountain of tea, slapping themselves on the back for getting a night on 60% discount. That that was even possible should tell you what kind of bear-trap this was guys.


With everyone back on time for once. And Edna’s Evil Gloves ACTUALLY SERVE A PURPOSE! CARRYING THE ICE! What a happy ending this was. Tom congratulates Melody for running around in heels all day, what a happy ending!

Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that, as ever, for every missing item, the teams will get a £50 fine, as well as the list price of the item added to their totals. At this news, the Logic A-Team


give their fingers a thorough work-out trying to identify how many items they missed. Turns out it was four of them. Oops. The boys managed more than that last series when there were THREE of them. Melody and Tom get into a cute mini-spat as to how to pronounce cloche. Tom is right. Although…he still doesn’t know what one is. So it’s a bit of a hollow victory. Meanwhile, in Venture Apprenticar A

*nom nom nom*

Felicity is eating at herself, muttering about how they had NO CHOICE about the tea. This certainly isn’t her fault. Susan still wonders if they couldn’t have got it for £30. Hint Susan : NO.


The Invisible Woman ushers the candidates in, they arrange themselves artfully, and Lordalan finishes wondering why we never saw anyone buying syphilis, and then


enters. He starts by saying that this was an important task, because it shows the team’s ability to buy, negotiate, keep time, and navigate a series of arbitrary and arcane penalties. Speaking of which, Melody didn’t tap her forehead with the Spoon Of Serenity three times before she entered into negotiations with a Sikh, so FIFTEEN POINTS FROM GRYFFINDOR! Lordalan goes on to say that whoever he enters into business with they’ll be buying something, whether it be goods, services, members of the judiciary, or hookers. So this was a good start.

Venture first, and Susan is identified as Project Manager. “Good team leader” gets tiny little bitty nods of the head and murmers of assent from everyone except Edna, who is still recharging somewhere behind her eyes and who therefore just gazes serenely on. Helen also hops in to say that Jim was a great sub-team leader as well, Lordalan. To this praise, Jim

You're next.

eyeballs Lordalan, to make him fully aware that he could be in his chair right now should he so choose. One nod of his head and Helen here will take him out with a ninja throwing star so see if she won’t.

Susan then outlines her strategy – give every person either one or two items to research at the start of the day, and let them get on with them. By the time they left the hotel, already they had eight items sourced and it wasn’t even 10:30am yet. Gavin gazes across all


“jammy gits”. That fresh-faced, unshaven, confident young man is a LONG time ago now eh? Lordalan at this point outlines the supposed farrago of the top hat, even though they got it cheaper than the other team. They paid TOP PRICE and only got a penny off. At the mention of said penny, Felicity bobs her neck about like a chicken


saying NOBODY knew this was the top-priced shop, so it’s not HER fault or anything and definitely not in a way she should get fired for. Lordalan huffs that not only did they go to St. James for a top hat, they went to MAYFAIR for organza. Were they trying to get bargains or not? Susan and Felicity both hem and haw about how this was a mistake, and Edna considers further how she will


never let her preshus out of her sight again. Next week, when her powers are restored, Susan’s going DOWN. Lordalan reels off a whole list of Felicity’s Top Drawer Haunts, including the Rare Tea Company, which as you know only sells the best tea, where they were initially offered a price of £990 + a yacht for the tea. At the mention of this absurd price, Vincent smugly straightens his tie, and gingerly looks around at

£990?! We're totally going to win!

all the women he made hate him in the last episode for support and admiration at his superior tea-sourcing skills. None is forthcoming. Lordalan points out that doubly, Tea-Bag took them for a mug, because anybody who does you a 60% discount is basically offering you magic beans. Tom giggles manfully

tee hee

and rubs in Susan’s face that he got tea for his team for about half what she paid.

Now that Tom’s drawn attention to them, we move on to Logic proper, with Gavin’s round of “good team leader?” drawing a blank, with Vinnie Disney only offering up a half-hearted “he was alright, but we needed a bit more time. Lordalan asks how Gavin was supposed to provide more time – magic? Ellie swishes her skirt like a 6 year old at a wedding-dance and says that it was all a bit hectic at the start. Lordalan asks them if they managed to source any items before leaving the hotel, like Venture did? The answer is, of course, no. Gavin splutters that they TRIED to do what Venture did, it just didn’t happen. Lordalan asks when they left the hotel – Gavin replies that one team left at 11am, the other team…less so.


Tom juts in to say that there really needed to be more structure at the start of the day for things to have ended up well. We then run very briefly through the scandal of both going to Top Hat cleaners, and knowing what neither a cloche or syphilis was. The education system these days, I ask you. No wonder the country’s going to the dogs when kids aren’t taught the basic facts of supper service. Tom runs through the whole saga of what a cloche was, or might have been, and the diversion via a garden centre and the Royal Society and Edinburgh Zoo or wherever they went. Personally I’m more interested in whether they ever actually went to Teddington, and what occurred there, given that Melody dragged them out there for an hour and they still didn’t get the chandelier bulbs, but hey ho. Gavin very earnestly gazes at Lordalan and says that it wasn’t good enough that they didn’t get all the items, whatever, It’s


Venture spent £1179 on items, and incurred £203 of fines, for a total spend of £1382
Logic spent £1077 on items, and incurred £313 of fines, for a total spend of £1390




It bodes so well that they count hold two numbers in their head at the same time to compare them. After Jim works it out, and informs them they’ve won, Edna’s bowels void


and the party can begin. SOMEONE GET A MOP! And so, in my annual Buying Task Like for Like Comparison Numbers Geek Table :

Top Hat : £350 vs £360 (Venture wins)
Signage : £40 vs £80 (Venture wins)
Steak : £170 vs £240 (Venture wins)
Ice + Syphalis + Cloche + Chandelier bulbs : £109 (unaired deals included) vs £313 (fines) (Venture wins)
Organza : £100 vs £76 (Logic wins)
Camomile Tea : £410 vs £223 (Logic wins)
Toilet Roll : £203 (fines) vs £97.50 (Logic wins)

So basically what made it close was the massive bungle over the Camomile tea, and whoever was responsible for getting the toilet rolls messing up in favour of getting less important items. Whoever that was. We shall NEVER KNOW.

Gavin cares not for these numbers, only for his own


personal moment of crisis. All the ladies look to Tom, their two other male role models at this point being Mr Nervous Breakdown and Vinnie Disney. Stay strong Tom, stay strong.

Venture are told their reward is a “circus-style cabaret in one of London’s trendiest bars” (ie, two strippers and a hula-hoop)


, and are dispatched to hug and groom.


The men are particularly excited, this being their first win and everything. Edna on the other hand has won three tasks now. Think on THAT one. Back in the Boardroom, Lordalan rubs in that Logic only lost by £8, but given that they got only 6 items, he would have made them lose regardless. Whatever Lordalan, Synergy won last year with 7 and you blarted on to Apollo about how it wasn’t a treasure hunt. Although admittedly, there were only 3 of them. Of you go, one of you is getting FIRED!

Wanna see the reward?


FLANGERIFFIC! That’s basically it. These two delightful ladies jiggle around in ceiling mounted hoops, and everyone looks vaguely distressed. Felicity dodges a foot coming right for her face, and guffaws about how she’s having a £500 cocktail and billing it to Lordalan directly A HA HA HA! As the girls whizz around faster and faster, and Edna espies a

Oh no...

dislodged tampon hurtling towards her face, and Glenn does a


well…, Susan decides to regale the table, whilst smashed off her face, about how amazing they all are and how much she lovesh them all and when she’sh Apprentish they can all come and shtay in her manshun and they’ll watch Mean Girls together and Edna would be GRETCHEN WEINERS HA HA HA ONLY JOK…*falls off chair*


Seriously, girl is LIGHTLY TOASTED.

Meanwhile, the entertainment in Loser Cafe is


Lorraine the Owner dangling from the ceiling fan in her bra. As everyone ignores this, Natasha snorts that that was A JOKE. What aspect of it, she does not say. Gavin mutters that they lost because they only got 6 items and the other team got 9. So whoever’s responsible for this…it’s all their fault. Anybody NOT think that Gavin would be pinning this on the PM in 5 seconds flat if it weren’t, in fact, him? Vincent blusters that he knows and he and his bizzotches were on the phone for 100% of the allotted time, so it must be something to do with Gavin’s sub-team. Outside he then interviews that he knows Gavin’s going to try to blame him,despite his amazingness, so he is just going to sit back and enjoy his one-to-one with Lordalan.

God Vinnie Disney, don’t remind me of that wretched ad-campaign. I’d just about scrubbed Chris Evans smugging “JOHN.WINSTON.LENNON” from my memory banks. Inside Melody and Ellie both bluster vaguely about how there just wasn’t enough time, and Gavin interrupts with his fifteenth plea today to just roll with the pu…I mean “chill out”. Outside he

So shocked, so betrayed.

sighterviews that he’s shocked that people were just happy to watch the team sink with him at the helm, like he did ANYTHING at all to avert the icebergs of the last two tasks.



Well it will be. Just edit it in in 2014.


OK, little bit of body language politics, but Tom very deliberately lets Ellie in before him, which is either politeness, or tactics to keep himself as far from the eye of the Project Manager as possible. Also,


Natasha and Melody have a bit of a scrap over who gets to sit next to Vinnie Disney. AND WHO CAN BLAME THEM, RIGHT LADIES? Speaking of which

So dashing

Gavin got handsome again. It’s nice that he went out looking this way anyway.

Lordalan opens, post “good afternooooooooon Lordalan, good afternoooooooooooon everybody”, by castigating the team for only coming back with 6 items when he SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR 10! FOR THE HONOUR OF THE SAVOY! THERE’S A CHAMBERMAID IN TEARS BECAUSE OF YOU LOT! Tom nods sadly


briefly turning into Artie from Glee. He’s very sorry he let the Savoy down Uncle Alan.

Lordalan asks why, when he left at 8am, Logic decided to sit on their arses for 3 hours, with ultimately no reward, rather than getting out on the streets? Gavin says that it was because the team refused to adhere to any structure. He gave them all an item each to focus on, but they refused to stick to them and kept chipping in trying to stick their oar in on glamour items, like the steak. He had no control over them whatsoever Lordalan. They wouldn’t do what they were told and kept on contradicting him! Also, they didn’t contradict him enough, and didn’t tell him that his approach was wrong, and they just sat back complacently and allowed the task to fail! BOKAY GAVIN! At this point, Zoe whirrs into life, like that haunted fairground fortune-telling booth in Big, after being dormant for hundreds of years, and creaks


“PEOPLE JUST IGNORED HIM!”. The rest of the room write this noise off to circumstance, like how sometimes gas escaping from a corpse makes it sound like it’s moaning and still alive. Vinnie Disney springs to life to defend himself, saying that he personally pointed out that Gavin was being an idiot on many occasions.

We then move to Vinnie Disney’s failings as sub-team manager. Lordalan points out that he actually managed to locate items but didn’t go to pick them up, so maybe this is his fault?


Ellie butts in to say it was a logistics thing – there simply wasn’t enough time to pick up the ice and the loo roll, as they were at opposite ends of London, so they went for the loo roll (wisely it turns out, given the scadding great fine Venture got for not picking them up). Vinnie for his part blames this lack of time on Gavin insistence they all sit in a hotel room doing nothing with no direction for 60% of the day. Gavin chips in to point out that this 60% is in fact inaccurate – it was more like 33%. SO THERE!

Gavin then moves on to say that at 1:30pm he got a call from Vinnie saying that he had ordered the sign, and the ice, and the loo roll, and the meat was also in hand


I’LL BET, EH LADIES? Then at 3:40pm he got a call saying that the ICE HADN’T BEEN PICKED UP! Does Gavin think this is an unrealistic timeline?. 2 hours and 10 minutes to pick up the finished sign, negotiate the loo rolls and load them into the van, negotiate Vinnie’s meat (OH YEAH!), driving all over London whilst also doing calls for all the items Gavin couldn’t do calls for because he was running around dry-cleaners and garden centres looking for crochet, and having to constantly refresh Zoe’s bedding? To this impugning of his honour, Vinnie Disney starts


FURIOUSLY picking at his hair, speechifies at Gavin that he himself had NOTHING. No leads, no tea, no lightbulbs, no NOTHING. It’s only because of Tom that they came back with more than ONE ITEM, because he was the one who found the top hat and the tea for them. If he says so. I’m lost on that score quite frankly. Anyway, Melody nods her head along to Vinnie’s speech, and as Vinnie tries to pull Tom in as well, Gavin cuts him off, so Vinnie loses it slightly and starts jabbing in his face and snarling


about the pathetic discount he got on the top hat.

Lordalan asks Vinnie Disney why he didn’t put himself forward for PM if he thinks he could have done a better job, and Vinnie Disney says that he did (*snort*) but he only wishes he’d fought harder for the role now. Gavin snarks that Vincent couldn’t run a bath (which is obviously why he made him sub-team PM and made that tragic “PLEASE SAVE ME VINNIE” 3:15am phone-call to him) and Ellie


wishes she had Tea-Bag’s magic cup of giggle-hiding char to hide behind. We then cover Vinnie Disney’s amazing PM skills that he could have brought to the table, like phone-snatching and talking to women like they’re air-stewardesses in an episode of Mad Men. Ellie very calmly and fairly lays out her problems with Vinnie Disney as a manager (far more calmly than I would in her boobs), and Vinnie awkwardly snarfles that he was only a condescending sexist because he wanted to win so badly Lordalan. That was why!


Ellie calls on her coven to back her up on Vinnie’s condescension and Charlie’s Angels bullshit, and Natasha agrees whole-heartedly because she’s still bitter that Vinnie took her signage negotiation off her, and Zoe kind of…vaguely bobs around in agreement that Vinnie is a massive tool. Natasha very vehemently states that they definitely would have got a MUCH better price for the signage if she’d been allowed to “independently negotiate”). I am so sure. We then cover the embarrassment of Natasha ringing up the Ritz and asking for all their trade secrets for free again. Natasha lamely tries to make out she was just trying to work out what syphalis was, but Kaen fortunately doesn’t let this lie, and drag the sorry guts of the matter out all over the floor.


Next, Lordalan turns his sights onto Zoe, who has been smirking throughout, and asks her how it turned out that she was the only person who didn’t negotiate in any respect on any single item. Zoe whirrs into life again and brags that she came up with the (crappy) lead on the steaks, and also on the signage (Natasha : I came up with my on lead on tha… Zoe : NO YOU DIDNT!), and she was going to get her ice, but then Ellie wanted her toilet roll and then she was the only one who noticed that they wouldn’t get across London in time (except imagine this 10 times snottier and with a “erm…guys?” tone throughout). Tom then breaks in to say that there wasn’t enough structure at the beginning, and by the end Gavin seemed like he’d just given up. Personally I think he gave up about 5 minutes in, but there we go.

Lordalan asks Tom to clarify that he’s saying that Gavin basically quit, and Tom hems and haws and guardians and slides his chin back into his face,

erm erm erm erm

and looks terribly guilty, but ultimately agrees. Lordalan snorts that he’d probably feel like a beaten man if he’d found himself in Gavin’s situation, having to rely on the inability of the other team to find bog roll to even scrape out a respectable loss. Anyway, Gavin is asked who’s coming back into the Boardroom with him, and he selects Vinnie Disney and Zoe.


Hey, remember when last year Sandeesh was invisible, and then appeared suddenly, and was no more impactful, but kind of charming and sweet in a “telling Alex he can’t just make up that he’s married to Alesha Dixon” kind of way? Yeah, well, the exact OPPOSITE of that with this one.

Candidates go out, Nick composes a love ballad for Susan on the lute, candidates come back in.

First off, Gavin is asked why Zoe has been selected to come back, over say, Natasha, who tried to get the Ritz to buy everything for her? Gavin says that Zoe pretty much did nothing – made no deals, tracked down no leads, and Vinnie Disney says that she was basically just his PA,


running errands for him. If they really were Vinnie’s Angels, she was the Tanya Roberts. Zoe snots that as “the PA” she managed to get TWO leads that resulted in TWO of the THREE items her team ended up buying. Lordalan says that it sounds like she really just existed in “an observing capacity” (best euphemism for “did nothing” ever) and at best was scribbling down phone numbers for other people to ring. Zoe protests, and Kaen takes it upon herself to flutter out that


she thinks Zoe does have a beautiful voice within her that they’ve all not heard yet. Oh gay off Christina Aguilera. Go ruin an X Factor final somewhere.

Zoe whinnies that she agrees – her special gift has not yet been revealed yet because everyone else is just SO overbearing. She was suppressed by others, and not allowed to shine. Lordalan replies that this may well be her fault, but don’t worry, we fired old ABC last week for this crap, and we can’t fire two people for the same thing in a row, because that would be far too consistent and boring. Zoe then drones back that she should not be punished for being professional, and of all the words that spring to mind about Zoe at this point, professional is not up there I have to say. Lordalan stirringly bats back that a real professional would have done something to try to rescue the team, not happily hunkered down in a little PA bunker as Vinnie Disney turned his team into his own pack of Lambrini Girls and Gavin had a nervous breakdown waiting for a PM to turn up for him to blame.

So dealt with, Zoe is turfed, so we can pore over Gavin’s “RAY-SYUUUU-MAY” (/application form for a game-show).

Oh dear...

Apparently he wrote on it that he’s a good manager of people. Oops. Gavin said that he IS a good manager of people, but these aren’t people, these are Apprentice candidates. He told them what to do, and they didn’t do it. He then sputters in disbelief about Natasha’s awful phone-calls to the Ritz (so awful that she’s not in the Final Boardroom), and then Zoe bluntly points out that as PM, he could have stopped the madness at any point, but let it dribble on for hours.

Gavin’s then asked why Vinnie Disney’s been brought back, and Gavin replies that he thinks that Vinnie’s the main reason the task failed via his decision making, and also he made all the women on his team hate his guts. Vin is asked what his response to this is, and for one awful minute I anticipate a “I love women, my mother’s a woman” from him, but instead he waffles on about how everything he did with the girls was ultimately precipitated by the chaos at the beginning, caused by Gavin. He made several excellent phone-calls…


Lordalan cuts him off for a pre-pared “hurr hurr you are foreign from Belgium and waffles are from Belgium and waffle is another word for blah blah blah”. He doesn’t want a coherent answer, he wants BEGGING. Beg to it froggy. FINE! He secured the beef (F’NAR F’NAR!), he called “the toilet guys”, he was the one who got the lead for the ice…oh God, then he starts talking in the third person and saying everywhere he goes people remember his name and his face and his musk, and Vinnie Disney is officially 50% under-rated moderately competent contestant screwed over by a Titanic of an edit, and 50% exactly as bad as the show is showing him as, if not worse, and he’s here for like two more episodes and I don’t know if I can carry on with the effort.

Firing Time now, Vinnie Disney gets the Fire-Teasing for his inherent Vinnie Disneyness, but in the end,


Gavin finally managed to succesfully pin a loss on the PM, just like he always dreamed. Well done Gavin! You were, in the end, both more likable and less competent than I anticipated, which is all you can really hope for in Apprentice fodder candidates. He’s dispatched, and actually says thank you, which is nice (ED-HUNTER AND ALEX BRITAZ CABAL). Zoe meanwhile, is told that she’s going to have to step up and actually exist soon. Yeah, good luck with that Lordalan. I’ve got a feeling you’re not going to like what manifests from the other side of the ouija board.

In his cab home, Gavin makes the mistake that fired candidates make, of thinking that Lordalan would seriously rather work with Vincent rather than him. Gavin, you were the only one out of the three of you in that boardroom who was even possibly on the initial list of 3 or 4 people seriously up for the win. Vinnie Disney’s just funny is all.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Ellie,

But she's ok.

resplendent in lumberjack green, is bitching about Vinnie Disney and his performance this week as Peter Stringfellow. Just as Glenn is about to get clarification on a key issue,


the devil himself walks through the door, and everybody squeals. Zoe follows to absolute dead silence. She then sits everyone down, and tells them all that Gavin didn’t even have an argument prepared against either of them, and just sat there and sputtered and panicked he’d brought the wrong two people back. Which is kind of true and untrue all at the same time. We close on Ellie vaguely staring daggers at Vinnie Disney, or possibly at a bee. Those two really need some sort of romantic comedy where they’re handcuffed together, or swap bodies, or something. Then the love would truly flow


Next week ;


Eep. I guess he finally took brown-nosing Lordalan to its obvious extreme conclusion.

3 down, 12 to go


11 thoughts on “The Apprentice 7 – Week 3

  1. FuTeffla

    Tea-Bag looked so uncannily like Lyndsay Marshal that I began to worry that the whole acting thing had gone downhill for her.

  2. Ferny

    I hope no-one actually believed that after 3 years The Savoy realised they’d forgotten to buy 2 cloches…although the way lordalan was going on, it looked like he was really trying to sell that idea this year lol.

    And even I know what a cloche is and I’m from THE NORF

    1. monkseal Post author

      This is why the Savoy isn’t open yet. They’re still hunting for that one missing cloche. IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT GAVIN, THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE DO WITH THIS FAKE SAVOY!


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