David shows his splodge to a bunch of kids, then gets fired. It’s less controversial than it sounds.
7am, and we watch as the Evil Apprentice Limo wends its ominous way through the suspiciously deserted streets of London. Sadly this year it is not bringing news of a task that will wipe out 67% of the cast like it did last year – it’s just doing courier duty for Lordalan’s Disembodied Head, as this is officially the week when he “has a prior engagement” (/can’t be arsed to turn up). We first see the Disembodied Head in the hands of Andrew, and I’m not sure whether to award him a point in Phone-Answer/Door-Opening Wars or not. It feels a bit like this opens the door for Producer Riggage of this noble trophy, which thus far has remained unsullied by the ugly side of reality tv. I’m in a generous mood though, so I’ll allow it.
Andrew : 1
Lucy Beauvallet : 1
Navdeep : 1
Steven : 1
The Loser Patrol : 0
Andrew preps the Disembodied Head for viewing, but there’s some apprentibabies missing. Yes, Steven and David are still getting ready. Maria looks around furiously, and yells “CAN EVERYBODY FROM WETSUIT KIMONO GET DOWNSTAIRS, YOU LAZY BOYS?!” meaning that she’s lost track of what teams everyone’s on as well. YOU’RE ON WETSUIT KIMONO, DEAR! David and Steven are on PLATINUM. I think it’s the first time (and the last) the audience can really empathise with her in that I’m sure nobody watching has the foggiest which team is which by this point either.
Once he’s fired up, the Disembodied Head tells the assembled candidates that they probably think of themselves as “young adults” (I think Ashleigh probably thinks of herself as a 32 year old chief accountant of a chain of tea-shops in 14 venues across the North-East, but that might just be my VISION of her and her MIGHTY NORTHERN BOSOM) but this week they have to think like kids as they’re going to be conceptualising a kids club for 5-8 year olds. Shouldn’t be too hard for some of them. And it would be an active step up for Maria, who constantly seems on the verge of shitting herself just to annoy the rest of the team when they have to clean it up.
Lordalan’s Head waffled on to the teams about how all the most successful Kids Clubs combine FUN with EDUCATION. If my memory of Kids Clubs is accurate, they actually mostly combine all the reps who weren’t sexy enough to cut it with the adults with crayons. But ok. He goes on to say that the Kids Clubs they create not only have to capture the imaginations of children, but also of investors, as they’ll be pitching their idea for licences. So basically it’s the Gym Task from the last series of the grown-up version, but with fewer obscenely tiny shorts. Thankfully.
As well as the Disembodied Head, Andrew has been given two envelopes, each of which apparently contain the ALL NEW AND EXCITING TEAM LINE-UPS. Given that all that happens is that Steven joins Wetsuit Kimono and Andrew joins Platinum, I’m guessing this was another thing he couldn’t be arsed to do himself, given that swapping them would have taken all of about 5 seconds. Or maybe he just wanted to take the opportunity to remind Maria which team she was on. If you need help, it’s not :
Teams thus revealed, Navdeep rushes off to change out of her pyjamas. I think it says a lot about Navdeep’s contribution to my enjoyment of this series that I hadn’t even noticed she wasn’t in business attire. Also about the fashion. (Patrick update : blue check-shirt with black cravat and dark blue shorts). The rest of the female cast join her in the female bedroom, as Maria accessorises with a floral scarf and interviews that to be honest, a lot of kids are spilt brats who always want their own way, screaming at the top of their lungs all the time, and not playing nicely with all the other children. (HOLY NUCLEAR FORCE, CITY LEVELLING IRONY BATMAN!). She does have hopes though that the kids on this task will inspire her and want her make to want to breed. I’m saying nothing.
Cue lots of happy children running around, playing football, doing dances, scribbling on the floor and yelling “SCIENCE ROCKS!” at a plasma globe . Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that the key to success will be doing something new. Or, you know, something very marginally less hackneyed than the other team do.
But before all that, it’s time for the teams to pick Project Managers. We see the Platinum process first. It consists of “private tutor” David saying that he’d like to take on the role because, and I quote, “I do the kids”. Which is disturbing on a number of levels. Then Ashleigh says that she’d like to offer to do it as well because she’s “quite good with kids and with arts and crafts”, and the sense of RELIEF in the rest of the team is palpable. She is, of course, elected unanimously. Ashleigh then interviews that really she’s not all that with kids, she just volunteered to be Project Manager to avoid having to be led by David for the second week in a row. Preach. David for his part, just sulks into his hand and whines that he’s really “bugged” by the fact that the others elected Ashleigh to be Project Manager, but what else could he possibly do?
Over on Wetsuit Kimono, it’s obviously going to be a battle of the two who haven’t yet been Project Manager. That is to say, Maria vs Navdeep. Maria says that she doesn’t have a lot of experience with kids, but she’s quite creative, whilst Navdeep offers no argument, other than the tacit one that she’s not a rampaging hellbeast. And this is enough. Patrick and Steven both mutter that the task is so pitch-based that it’d be foolish not to select Navdeep. Maria looks deeply hurt, and says that she’s a good pitcher too! Steven diplomatically says that he’s never seen her pitch, whereas he has seen Navdeep, and then Navdeep asks Maria if she’s ok, approaching her as you would a ticking suitcase. Maria just shrugs that if the boys think it’s more Navdeep’s “sort of task” then she’ll let her have it. I shudder to think what might be Maria’s “sort of task”. Competitive puppy-killing?
Brainstorming ideas now, and on Platinum, Ashleigh has thought of an “arts & crafts club, but, like, green”. Wouldn’t that get awfully monotonous? There are only so many shades after all. She goes on to explain that what she means is “teaching t’kids how t’care for t’planet”. By saying on their vowels presumably. David says that this is a good idea. But the families who hire him get him to teach kids about “maths, english and science”, not arts and crafts, so he think he’ll be a bit lost. Yes, because there’s nothing scientific about the topic of saving the environment is there?(quiet at the back Delingpole). Ashleigh explains to David that she’s not doing maths, because it’s boring. Unlike, you know, droning on about your carbon footprint, in the fine tradition of Apprentice Superheroes and Fan Favourites Jenny Celery and that one who looked a bit like Daffyd from Little Britain.
Back on Wetsuit Kimono, and Maria has decided they should have a science theme. Navdeep however has her own idea – “literature”. Have the kids turn famous books into plays or “short things”. Maria yells that this is BORING, DO HER IDEA! DO THE SCIENCE THING! BUILD IT AROUND “THINGS THAT GO POOF!”. Is that wise? Haven’t we already established that Patrick can’t pitch? (HA HA GAY LOLZ!). Anyway, Maria drones on until she gets her way, as happens every week, and as Navdeep is less intractable than most, it doesn’t take very long. Maria’s sterling argument is that the kids “could learn the science experiments they’ll come to use later in life” incidentally which…ok. I know I’ve rarely got through a working week without making a scale model of the galaxy using different flavours of Revels.
Idea established, Wetsuit Kimono take to their Apprenticars, and Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that Navdeep is a “former Head Girl”. I wonder why the “former?”. I hope it’s because of some sort of saucy pictures scandal. In Wetsuit Kimono Apprenticar A she and Patrick hash out the finer points of Maria’s “handy everyday papier mache volcanos” concept. By which I mean Navdeep does, because Patrick talks three times per episode only, and when he does it is always very quiet and as melancholy as Alan Bennett with a hangover. She decides on “planets and space”, because she thinks it’s quite cool. Patrick tells her that he’s sure it will all go well. So that’s one down, two to go.
Meanwhile, back on Platinum, silence reigns. For all Ashleigh’s skills as an elite accountant assassin, creativity does not appear to be her strong point.
4:30pm, and for Wetsuit Kimono, it’s time for the candidates to do “market research”. If you’ve ever watched this task before, you’ll know that this actually means “time for teams to tit around extraneously for the camera, doing things that have nothing to do with their eventual concept, or indeed anything they ever even considered”. Remember Chris Bates doing Bollywood dancing? Fun times. Navdeep and Patrick are at “kids yoga” and the only highlight really is, yet again, Patrick’s outfit (brown tie-dye shirt, knotted grey flannel shorts, and grey socks). Who thought yoga would make a funny diversion? Because they need sacking. Whilst ostensibly doing the lotus, Navdeep tries to sneak in some actual market research amidst the kids pretending to be teapots, when she asks a (SUPERCUTE) little girl what she loves about space. The reply?
“In space, you can see stars and if you look really closely sometimes you might see something special!”
Bless. How sad that Maria isn’t there to yell “SPECIAL LIKE WORT? BE MORE SPUHCEFIC! YERR ADVICE IS YUSSLESS TO MAY! YERR SO IMMATYUR!” at her. Then some quiet kid says something about wanting to float in space. This is going to be a very cutesy episode I can tell.
Meanwhile, Maria & Steven are off doing jazz-hands in a dance workshop. Now this is more like it. Steven has less co-ordination than a Week 1 boot on Strictly Come Dancing, and Maria’s Hungry Jazz Face is terrifying. Incidentally the kids they’re dancing with all have blonde wigs and emo “black tear” make-up on, which is kind of unnerving. Once they’re done titting around, Maria asks them all who likes science. About 60% of them do. Then Maria yells at the rest of them until they agree to love science also. (Not really). Maria asks them the sorts of science experiments they do in school, and one of the children chimes up that they make lava lamps. (REALLY? Kids today don’t know they’re born, at their age my science lessons were throwing various fruit into a bin full of water and not really knowing what I was supposed to have learnt from the results). Steven and Maria both coo over this, and the fact that the kids are allowed to use Bunsen Burners.
Feedback now, and both teams tell the other that the space idea definitely works best, with both boys and girls of the target age-group, and with adults as well. Hooray! Even Maria is happy.
Meanwhile, back at Platinum…still nothing. Andrew says that when we think of fun things that we ultimately end up learning valuable lesson from, what do we come up with? I personally come up with “downing nearly an entire bottle of Baileys then copping off with someone whose face you can’t even see”, but I can’t really see coming up with a kids club based on that. David for his part has decided that they should mix art with geography and “culture sort of things”, and then Lucy Beauvallet snaps and just huffs that they should just do dancing. I can’t believe she didn’t suggest baking. She goes on to suggest that they do dances representing different cultures on all the continents. I for one cannot WAIT to see Ashleigh doing African Tribal dancing. Sadly, Ashleigh is not so keen, and says that she’s not going to consider anything that doesn’t have an eco theme. So…several more hours of silence it is.
Eventually, they at least decide to transfer this awkward silence to the Apprenticars, as it’s time for their “market research”. Ashleigh gets on the Apprentiphone mid-journey and yells that the team need to make a decision now before they get to their very valuable focus-group time. David just shrugs and says it’s Ashleigh’s decision – he has nothing to say on the matter. Andrew and Lucy Beauvallet however, both like Lucy Beauvallet’s dancing idea. Ashleigh then bridles and says that she’s just going to go with her gut instinct because “me gut instinct is usually right” and her gut instinct is that her idea what she came up with was best. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure if David had said he preferred dancing, I think Ashleigh would DEFINITELY have changed her mind there. Definitely. Poor form David, poor form.
Once off the phone, Lucy Beauvallet sighs, adjusts her top, and says that she really thinks Ashleigh just went with her idea because it was hers, rather than because it was good, and pushing it too hard in a really unnatural and forced way. David then hilariously agrees, and says that he really thinks that “our idea” was better. So not only is he claiming ownership of an idea that isn’t his, he’s also claiming ownership of an idea that he hasn’t verbally backed to the Project Manager once. Oh David…
Lisa and Andrew’s “market research” consists of Ashleigh lying flat on her back, covered in splodgy paint handprints, staring up some 6 year old girl’s nostril and hooting “d’you do a lotta drohrin?”. The girl says yes. Andrew meanwhile, is stood at the side with a clipboard, looking perturbed. I don’t think Andrew likes mess. The girl’s name incidentally is “Freya” and her favourite things to do are “messy time, painting, and drawing”. (She also knows what goes in each different coloured recycling bin, as Ashleigh’s attempts to turn the middle-class children of SW16 into eco-warriors continues apace). At hearing the words “messy time”, Ashleigh grins and asks all the kids if they like to make a mess, as Andrew runs off to hide behind a bean-bag. And then a doorway. I’m starting to get the impression that Andrew doesn’t so much “not like mess” as he does “not like kids”. He tells the kids that he’ll “watch splatty time from back here”. By which I think he means “inside the Apprenticar”.
With time to kill over on Wetsuit Kimono, Maria and Steven are off to do some supplementary research about their science topic. This turns out to be them having what the planets are called, very slowly, in order. I think Maria gets her biggest shock when she learns that the solar system revolves around “The Sun” and not around “Maria”. Kaen interviews despairingly that the team has selected a theme which they know nothing about in order to present on. Yeah, that’s so unusual for this show as well. I remember Liz Locke’s expertise in not killing babies really carrying the day for her team on that task, and Jedi Jim’s inside-out knowledge of biscuits saved his team’s bacon on SO MANY OCCASIONS. Maria for her part just interviews that she hopes to pack the presentation with as many whizz-bang explosions as possible, because if the kids are bored, then nobody’s going to buy their concept. Also if they accidentally claim that one of the planets is called “Petunia”.
Both teams now are arriving at LBI, which apparently is a “design agency”. I hope one day the task is to set up your own “design agency” given that they receive so much of this show’s patronage. They’re there to put the finishing touches to their concepts, and come up with a name and promotional materials and so on. On Wetsuit Kimono, Navdeep suggests “Blast Off” for their Kids Club title. Steven protests that he doesn’t think the name will have appeal, but Maria sides with Navdeep, and Patrick saves one of his two remaining Thoughts Of The Week, so “Blast Off” it is. Maria also thinks that they should have a mascot called “Space Face” and that the logo should be him and he should be taking off like a rocket and also his space helmet should be the Planet Earth and also he should be saying “FUN THAT’S OUT OF THIS WORLD!”. I’m kind of charmed by Maria’s enthusiasm being used for something other than pure evil for once. Kind of.
For Platinum however, no such refinement is going on, as they still haven’t finalised their decision. Because for all that Ashleigh’s not really considering any other ideas, she also seems oddly reluctant to bring the hammer down. Andrew announces to the group that he’s now decided he loves the “arts and craft” idea, all whilst protesting rather too much that Ashleigh hasn’t influenced his decision at all by, say, sitting on him. Lucy Beauvallet of course is still fixed on her “dancing round the world” idea, and thinks it would be really unique and crucially, a lot less tidying up than would be involved with arts and crafts. David then waffles that the UK dance market is growing by “about 8% every year”, and he really thinks they should hop on that market whilst it’s still growing so they can “maximise from that”. I think I preferred his arguments when they were just him going “beep beep beep”.
Ashleigh however is adamant, and growls at the team that she is REALLY ADAMANT about the art concept, and she thinks that the environmental angle is really a unique selling point, and that is her FINAL DECISION, THAT’S IT, HER FOOT IS COMING DOWN, NO TAKSIES BACKSIES. Lucy then mumbles that she thinks that the environmental idea might be difficult to implement and Ashleigh yells “SCRAP IT THEN!” before passive-aggressively lecturing the team about how her heart was with saving the Earth, but if they want to see it frazzle up like Nick in Benidorm, then SO BE IT. THEY’LL JUST DO THE ART IDEA WITH NO INTERESTING ANGLE TO IT WHATSOEVER!.
Andrew then asks “is everybody happy?”. Is anybody?
Lucy Beauvallet interviews in a very self-aware fashion that it’s always difficult when you don’t have your ideas chosen, and she feels like Ashleigh has just bulldozed through her idea but you just have to move on and deal with it. I hate it when people give talking heads interviews on this show that aren’t egotistical or insane. Makes it so hard to recap. Nick then interviews that Ashleigh has bulldozed through her big messy art idea, but that’s exactly the same as the class they just went to, so it’s hardly original, and it’s contrary to the spirit of the task. As opposed to, say, Maria going into a class of children, asking them what experiments they do at school, and then copying them exactly, and then going to an extra science class, and just copying all the experiments there as well. Sigh.
Decisions made, it’s time for the teams to actually produce their artwork and also, randomly, a website. Navdeep and Patrick are shown designing Wetsuit Kimono’s “Space Face” with a woman who looks a bit like Kaen joined The Human League. On the other side of the studio, Ashleigh and Andrew are designing their mascot. Andrew hems and haws a bit, and frets that one of them is actually going to have to wear this costume, and Ashleigh grins that they’ll make David do it because at least that way he won’t speak. Meow. David so scapegoated, Andrew and Ashleigh spend the next half hour just scribbling at random on the wall, like those pictures you see “painted” by chimpanzees or elephants or Paul McCartney, then sticking googly eyes on the top of each squiggle and deciding it’s a mascot. Eventually their artist just gives in and tell them sure, he’ll make this work for them, whatever. Andrew decides it will be called “Mr Splodge”. Whatever it is. It looks a bit like the lower end of the mascots for the Special Olympics. Andrew interviews, as he throws together the team’s website in about 5 minutes, about how great their mascot, logo, website and all-round vibe is. And so original! You just don’t see Active Art just anywhere! Except on this programme. Three minutes ago.
The team’s respective shunned halves meanwhile, are creating their lessons. Well…Maria and Steven probably are. David and Lucy Beauvallet are just running around smearing paint on one another in a suggestive fashion. It’s not quite Gabrielle, Steven, Jenna, Ricky and Nick’s Paint Orgy, but then these are 16 year olds and we are before the watershed. To their credit, both of them are putting their all into making the concept work, and both interview that they’re finding “active art” (/smushing poster paints into one another’s boobies) a lot of fun, and they can really imagine the kids finding it fun as well. Their parents…well, we’ll see.
8am the next morning now, and the teams are receiving the costumes for their mascots, just in time for their pitches. Ashleigh is wearing a leopard print top as she receives Mr Splodge, which automatically makes her a better mascot for whatever they’re doing than the great big indeterminate mush that is “Mr Splodge”. David climbs in, and his whole personality is immediately transformed. He starts jumping up and down, giggling, speaking a mile a minute in a really high pitched voice. Frankly I think if David had worn this mascot suit from the beginning, he may well still be there after this week. Ah, what could have been. On Wetsuit Kimono meanwhile, Steven is climbing into the astronaut’s costume that distinguishes “Space Face” and looks thoroughly miserable. To be fair, there is a giant countdown pointing to his crotch, which is covered by a giant red button saying “Blast Off”. No 17 year old needs that sort of pressure. Maybe he should reflect on the fact that Patrick’s Day 2 shirt has VANILLA PIPING on it, and he is still therefore only the second most ridiculously dressed person in the room.
With nothing really left to do but tweak then pitch, it’s now time for the teams to head off to the conference centre where they’re making them. Navdeep rehearses her pitch on the way with Patrick giving her (silent) moral support, whilst on Platinum, Ashleigh and Andrew just sit giggling “SPLODGE!” over and over again. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is known as “subtle editing”. Lucy Beauvallet and David meanwhile are inveigling a last minute photoshoot, as their entire team are clearly horribly behind schedule. Lucy Beauvallet direct their cute little girl through a paint-filled minefield, as David dances around in the background crashing into the furniture. Why did have to get so endearing 5 seconds before his entirely overdue firing?
With both teams arrived, they settle down to the most important part of tasks like this – constructing an entire business model around something they only finalised the concept of last thing yesterday, with little to no time to do any research on how much their materials cost, expected prices in the marketplace, and what the scale and expectations of the people they’re pitching to actually are. Sometimes I understand the value of doing things like that, just to see what the contestants real-world knowledge/business instincts are like, but other times the sheer amount that they’re being set up to fail galls me. Anyway, Navdeep and Patrick put the finishing touches to their website (which is using the excuse of a “space” theme as an excuse for ACRES of blank dark blue screen, and well done them for that), and Kaen snurfles that it’s all very professional looking, but she doesn’t see a business model anywhere in it. And this task is going to be won on money made, not fun had. Wouldn’t it be great if it had been though? Wouldn’t it be great if, just once per series, who won the task was decided based on how much fun they’d had? As judged by me.
Anyway, the lack of business model has ticked Patrick off so much that he is moved to give his second Thought Of The Week. “So what are you going to have as start-up? Where have you got £250 from?”. He says in interview that he doesn’t think any of the rest of the team are paying attention to costings, but he is, especially after he messed them up so badly in Week 1. Navdeep for her part just giggles in interview that nobody on her team really has a background in finance or costing their own business so she’s just guessed everything and hoped for the best. As sane a plan as any I guess. Navdeep and Patrick tap frantically away at the website, and Kaen swoops in AGAIN to interview that Navdeep has just plucked her figures out of thin air. WELL WHERE WAS SHE SUPPOSED TO GET THEM, TESCO METRO?
3pm now, and FINALLY after that minor interlude of faffing, it’s time for the teams to pitch their concepts. Andrew does some last-minute rehearsal, with Mr Splodge slumped up against the radiator, without anybody inside him (so to speak). It’s one of the eeriest sights this show has ever had, and it once featured Lorraine Tighe first thing in the morning. Wetsuit Kimono on the other hand are making sure all their experiments are going to work before presenting them to grown-ups. Most of the experiments seem to be “putting things on the floor and watching them go pop”. Patrick looks frankly disturbed at some of the residue produced. He’s not getting that on his skin-tight blue chinos, he’ll tell you that for nothing.
Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that the teams will be pitching to the representatives from three leading holiday companies and the team that makes the most money from licencing will win. No mention on whether the “give away as much free crap as you like without having to pay for it rule from the Gym Task is included in that.
Apparently the pitches are happening in two stages – first the teams run a trial Kids Club class in front of the potential investors, then they deliver their speeches. Platinum are up first, with Lucy Beauvallet leading the class as a Mary Poppinsesque sidekick to Mr Splodge’s more enthusiastic Dick. Brilliantly, they meet resistance from the children from the off, who do not want to stick their feet in paint and smear it all over their faces, even if it is “cool tribal paint”, thank you very much. I have to admit, I would be that child. After some encouragement (/goading) from Mr Splodge, most of them get into it, eventually, although there are noticeably quite a few kids hanging around the edge, happy to throw their beach ball through the carnage without actually getting bodily involved. The part where this is supposed to be “art” is, of course, entirely incidental. I don’t think the word “art” is mentioned once. They as well just be in the playground hurling mud around. The session ends with “Mr Splodge” wiggling his hips at Lucy Beauvallet, growling “I’ll see YOU later”. So modern, teaching the kids that there is nothing wrong about love between a woman and an anthropomorphic squiggle. We’ve moved on so much as a society *sniff*.
Lucy Beauvallet, face spattered with green paint, says that the session could have gone better and could have gone worse, whilst Nick interviews entirely contrary to reality that all the kids LOVED IT and it was a RUNAWAY SUCCESS. When Nick is interviewing in a more delusionally positive manner about their performance on a task than half the actual team, you know he’s not invested. I guess he’s missing hating on Maria. I know I would be.
Their pitch is next, led by Andrew, and he focuses mostly on just how disgusting, messy and loud the kids will be allowed to be at these “Active Art” sessions, compared to just how subdued and placid they have to be at home. Andrew apparently not only doesn’t like kids, he also doesn’t really know any. He also tries to make out like “Mr Splodge” has many MANY marketing opportunities, which he really doesn’t, given that he looks like Roadkill Mr Blobby.
The floor is opened for questions and one middle-aged Irish woman with a semi-hunky male sidekick (always my favourite type of Apprentice Pitch Questionner) asks Andrew what he thinks he’s offering that distinguishes them from the rest of the marketplace. He replies that there’s nothing out there that combines the world of art and the world of activity. Where else can you combine painting with football? Apart from Graham Le Saux’s house THE BIG GAY. Andrew then cues up their website, which is truly hideous, and looks like an episode of Art Attack being hosted by Jame Gumb. In one picture, Mr Splodge towers over a child with his arms outstretched, like a graffitti’d Christ The Redeemer about to fall down on her and kill her. In the bottom corner, he stands, boogly-eyed, yelling “FOLLOW ME!” with his splodge flaps resembling nothing less than a lurid flasher’s mac being pulled open. This is, in short, the most tragically misguided website in the history of The Apprentice.
Next to be covered, as though anything else need be said, is the fact that the children are going to be an unholy mess following the art sessions (the ones who haven’t spent the whole time at the side crying “I DON’T WANNA!” that is), and Andrew never once mentioned protective clothing. Andrew explains that each child will be given a branded t-shirt to wear for the session, which they’ll return afterwards. Another businesswoman, who looks a bit like Cher as played by the young Francis De La Tour, asks if they’ll have to wash the t-shirts themselves as holiday camp reps. Andrews says that yes, they will. Cher looks peeved. Middle Aged-Irish Woman says that she has done personal research on the issue of active art, and frankly the looks on parents faces when they see what’s happened to their kids display more horror than Mogadishu. Lucy Beauvallet just grins that “parents love to see their kids with a smile on their face”. Well…it depends WHY they’ve got a smile on their face, but yes, I take your point Lucy Beauvallet. She says that she hopes the joy of the children at the art they created will make the parents feel better about them spending then the next three days of the holiday crying because they’ve got a plug of dried cerulean blue wedged in their inner ear.
Once outside, Andrew flaps manically about how obvious it was that they were making answers up on the spot, Ashleigh titters nervously that that were a proper grilling and no mistake, and somewhere from within Mr Splodge a deep groan emits as David complains that he is in fact dying. I think it might be time to put Mr Splodge away now. For quite some time, before he forms the basis for the third series of American Horror Story.
For once we actually get to see the aftermath of the pitch, with Middle-Aged Irish Woman saying to her hunky sidekick that it was fun, but she would have liked some music and dancing. Hunky Sidekick however is unmoved as, as a parent, he doesn’t like it when his kids get filthy. Oh. He has kids. Never mind.
Wetsuit Kimono are up next, with Maria and Steven demonstrating their experiments to the kids and potential buyers, whilst Patrick and Navdeep hide amongst them, pushing them to have the appropriate reactions to all the banging and fizzing going on. Maria weaves an odd tale, where the children blast off (/stand there as a pop-cap explodes in their faces), fly through space (/run around making aeroplane arms), land on the “Planet Of The Aliens” (I’m thinking that guy teaching them the planets decided to fuck with them halfway through), make some alien snot (self-explanatory) and then…yell at a squid called Sally to “go down” when they tell her to.
I personally doubt the educational content of this Kids Club.
Maria interviews that she really thinks that session went really well, and to be fair, it did, although I think the involvement of “Space Face” was pretty minimal, all things considered. Their subsequent pitch is led by Navdeep because, you know, that’s what she does. Her pitch focuses on just how exciting their Kids Club is, and how there’s just so much you do with space as a theme. Although not so much that you don’t have to resort to “Sally The Squid” three quarters of the way through apparently. She also drives directly into the tangle that is her costings plan (£250 initial start-up costs, then £40 equipment costs per session and a £40 monthly fee) which is…certainly brave of her, before finishing on just how much the Wetsuit Kimono Blast-Off Space Camp will broaden their child’s horizons. They’ll come back from your holiday talking about space-snot and squids that go down on people! Bonus!
The first question, of course, is about their costings, with the team being asked to go into their costs in a bit more detail. Maria and Navdeep field this knotty problem between them, and dissolve quicker than wet sand, as it turns out to be extremely unlikely that £40 will cover the cost of both a build-your-own lava lamp and take-home planet for every child that turns up for a Kids Club session. Navdeep giggles and apologises, and then there is an awkward silence. Their website is the next order of business, as it gets general praise, but also picked on a little for having inconsistent spelling of the word “licence” throughout. Oops. Ah well, it’s not as though Navdeep made a point of tutting at other members of her team for failing at spelling on any other task this series is it?
The last question is from Hunky Sidekick, who asks the team how much effort he’s going to need to put in to training his staff, as he’s got a busy life looking after his own kids THE BASTARD (*weeps into handkerchief*). Steven all but snorts “did you not SEE the session? We pinged off some rockets and made space-snot. How much training do you think you need to do that?”, but in a much more politely phrased way than that. Hunky Sidekick is not convinced.
Once outside, Navdeep and Steven let out massive exhalations of exhaustion, as Maria flits around them all saying well done and that she thinks that the potential buyers really liked their pitch. Navdeep for her part thanks her team for coming up with great answers on the spot, as there were times when she was thinking “holy crap”. A mild swear, but I approve nonetheless. Back in the room, we see the potential investors say that they liked the pitch, and thought Navdeep was incredibly confident and poised, but the business plan really made no sense at all, especially the equipment costs.
KIDS CLUBBING ENDS!
And once again it’s more or less straight to the Results Boardroom we go. The teams sit, waiting, through ever mounting bassoon parps, before Lordalan finally turns up, and tells them all that this was a very interesting task. If you say so.
Platinum are to be dealt with first, and Ashleigh is identified as Project Manager. “Good team leadAH?” gets muted “yes”s from the team, with David being the one to stick his neck on the line by bringing up that Lucy Beauvallet’s concept was clearly stronger than Ashleigh’s own idea, and that Ashleigh should have had the humility to accept others input. Lucy Beauvallet chews her lip at this, not wanting to be drawn into conflict with Ashleigh, but when Ashleigh says that she took on board all of Lucy Beauvallet and David’s points but “stuck t’her guns”, she does an almighty eyebrow arch which frankly would get her punched out in Kendal of a Friday night.
We cover the team’s chosen name of “The Big Mess” (which would actually be an appropriate name for an Apprentice team come to think of it) and their slogan “making art active” (because I find so much of creating art a very passive experience) and Lordalan then asks what their Kids Club actually involved. Andrew explains that it involves all the kids throwing paint at what another, and calling the ensuing gloopy mess “art”. Then throwing it in the bin. It is then revealed that David was the team’s mascot, as Lordalan crows that he may not have been voted PM, but he was voted as “stupid dress-up of the week” which on The Apprentice is the second most prestigious role. “Doing the numbers” is third, “leader of the subteam” is fourth, and “Lucinda Ledgerwood” is last. David drawls that it was “very entertaining”. For him maybe. I’m not sure about the kids. He then goes on to say that Lordalan already knows he can pitch because it says so on his CV (lol) but he wanted to show he could do other things. I’d say “nobody won The Apprentice because of their mascotry skills” but Rosie Bear did somehow inexplicably make the Interview Stages of Series 1 so… Ashleigh grins that in t’end, David didn’t want to stop being Mr Splodge. In fact she had to distract him whilst Andrew beaned him over the back of the head with a paint tin, allowing them to strip him whilst he was unconscious. He had a knife.
Mr Splodge – so effing sinister.
Wetsuit Kimono are next, and Lordalan asks Navdeep how she came to be Project Manager. She explains that she won a vote against Maria. Lordalan asks Maria if she was upset (she was) and Navdeep if Maria then behaved herself (she did, because Navdeep just agreed to everything she said). We then cover how they came up with their theme of science. Lordalan asks who came up with the idea, and Maria says that she was the one who said “science” first and then everything developed from there. Navdeep then breaks in to say that she totally thought of science first, but she just didn’t say it. Honest. Maria’s face quivvers like a jelly in Jurassic Park.
Their market research is covered next, and Navdeep says that Maria and Steven were sent off to a dance class, whilst she and Patrick went to “children’s yoga”. Navdeep quite clearly at this point wants to get on with talking about her process, but Lordalan stops her to make a bunch of half-jokes about “kids pilates”. Is that a pun on “kids parties”? Maybe? Shrug. Navdeep protests that it was really good, and gave her lots of insight into how each session should take the form of a story to keep the kids interested. Lordalan, having made his crappy jokes, is not at home to this information.
Steven’s role as mascot is then discussed, with Lordalan pointing out that he looks a bit like a Second Hand Car Dealer doing a promotion. He’s not wrong. Navdeep protests that Steven was a really good mascot, and then Patrick rolls out his third and final Thought Of The Week by saying that imagination and creativity were really key to the team’s theme, so Steven played a key role in spinning the story of the kids “literally” blasting off into space. There. He’s spent now. Don’t expect him to contribute anything else in the boardroom if the team happen to lose.
Lordalan then pokes fun at the candidates for not knowing their planets. If you didn’t see his “Uranus” joke coming from a mile away, then…have you watched this show before. The apprentibabies maintain a dignified stony silence to this joke, although I don’t know if it’s because they’re above it or because they don’t know what an anus is. Finally, we cover the team’s utter shambles of a business plan, which apparently Kaen has “expressed concerns” to Lordalan about. Navdeep’s response is basically “I’m not an accountant”. Well there we are. I’m so sad we never covered all the spelling mistakes she made on the website. Ashleigh’s Smug Face would have been OFF THE CHARTS.
Platinum sold £470 worth of licences to Bognor Breaks, £0 worth to Krakow Kampsites, and £0 worth to Club 8-13 Holidays for a total of £470
Wetsuit Kimono sold £2070 worth of licences to Bognor Breaks, £1850 to Krakow Kampsites, and £7030 to Club 8-13 Holidays, for a total of £10950
Maria gasps happily, Lucy Beauvallet frowns so hard it looks like her mouth has been stuck on upside-down, and Ashleigh’s face swears louder than Amy ever did. Lordalan beams happily that the holiday companies just loved Wetsuit Kimono’s theme, and their treat is to go to a perfumiers to have their very own personalised perfume made for them. At this point Lucy Beauvallet’s rage is so towering I think she’s going to (get her butler to) punch somebody. This is every time a male candidate has been denied the chance to race cars, but times twenty. Lordalan tells Steven that he can give his perfume to his mum and Patrick that he can…also…give his perfume…to his mum. Well that was seemless work Lordalan, well done. They’re sent off to hug, and Platinum are sent off to conteplate the utter disaster that just happened on their team (/grease up their wrists for shoving David under the bus).
At the perfumier’s with Wetsuit Kimono now, and as you’d expect Maria is deeply into gently inhaling all the scents, babbling happily about how she’s really picking up hints of sherbet and lemongrass, whilst Steven’s just snorting them and wheezing around like he’s just smoked his first joint. At one point sandalwood is brought out. An Apprentice watching nation all has the same glorious memory at the same instant.
Sigh. Patrick sniffs that he doesn’t like it. In fact Patrick doesn’t seem to like many of the scents. He’s such an elite tastemaker. Nobody interviews about how they hate someone else’s guts. This losing team is far too harmonious. Either that or there’s a lot of hemp in some of those scent bottles.
On Platinum, in Loser Cage, silence reigns. Again. Some more. Ashleigh eventually seizes the conversation by the reigns, as she blusters self-righteously that she can think of three mistakes every single person there made, so don’t you dare attack her or she will haul them out to CRUSH YOU. Andrew decides to take this opportunity to limpet himself to her, smarming that Ashleigh at least compromised on her concept, whilst David and Lucy Beauvallet were obnoxiously steadfast in thinking their concept was the only one. Lucy Beauvallet smiles that she thought her concept was a better one yes. She then interviews that based on this task, Ashleigh should be fired, because she took the wrong initiative, and just bulldozed over everyone. Very, very slowly. Really it was more of a steamroller than a bulldozer. A steamroller being driven by a 90 year old woman.
Back in the room, David is in mid-stream, ranting about how he really pushed the dance concept because it had educational content, and if “they didn’t listen to him, that’s their fault”. A quality argument I’m sure you’ll agree. Outside he interviews that he can’t quite believe he’s on the losing team yet again. I can.
Boardroom Time now, and I would just like to pay tribute at this point to Ashleigh’s hair, which is officially out of control. If you smeared soot on her face she’d look like she’d just come from an explosion in a Jerry Lewis comedy. It’s all pushed off to the right hand side, and projecting about 10 inches outwards from her head. I hope this is her Battle Hair. Andrew by contrast just seems to have dolloped another palm full of gel in his.
The candidates enter, and our first order of business is Lordalan saying that the point of this task was to tick all of his boxes (even though he had no role in deciding the winner and definitely didn’t get the producers to lean on the buyers to pick the team that didn’t have David on, after he committed the mortal Apprentice Sin of not having a Redemption Arc last week. Definitely. Cough). Lordalan’s boxes?
New And Novel (wow, new AND novel, and also original and box-fresh probably)
Makes Business Sense
He tells Platinum that he thinks they failed at all three, and he’s GOING TO TELL THEM WHY. At some point.
Ashleigh is identified as having “heroed” the team’s idea. Ashleigh protests that the arts & crafts idea was hers, but the “active art” part was Andrew’s. SHE wanted to do recycling, but the team wouldn’t have it, so the idea was scrapped. Nick then points out that she was the one who scrapped it, and Ashleigh admits she did, yes, just to throw Lucy Beauvallet a bone. David breaks in to say that he personally wanted the “educational” box to be ticked Lordalan, but the rest of the team told him that he was being boring and that the kids didn’t need no education.
We then turn to Lucy Beauvallet’s application form (I bet it’s scented) where it apparently says that she’s really stubborn and always sticks to her guns. Lordalan asks why that didn’t happen here then. Lucy Beauvallet explains that she DID stick to her guns, and really fought for her idea (Ashleigh nods), but Ashleigh’s Project Manager style of both shutting down all discussion and never making a decision forced her hand into giving up once the clock ran down. Lordalan then asks why David didn’t “exert his authority” on the team in support of Lucy Beauvallet, as though he has any left at this point. His team made him dance around as an anthropomorphic multi-coloured cow-pat solely because it would be funny Lordalan – that’s not saying “kingmaker” to me.
Anyway, David also protests that he tried but…you know…Ashleigh, and then Lucy Beauvallet turns to him and says that she thinks that David really let her down and could have backed her up more. It’s all very “Margot Leadbetter recounts her argument with a plumber”. David pouts, whilst Ashleigh says that she agrees with Lucy Beauvallet. She thinks David was a weak supporter for Lucy Beauvallet, and was only going along with her anyway because he refuses to make any decisions himself. She says she has lots of respect for Lucy Beauvallet for having the balls to stick up to her. David…not so much.
Andrew is dealt with next, as Lordalan TURNS on him, and falls over his words in the space of a couple of sentences, telling him that “you’re very good with the gab but I haven’t seen you (*waffle*) or say anything yet”. Well done Lordalan. His basic point is that he thinks Andrew doesn’t really exert his authority or, to paraphrase Louis Walsh “make the task his own”. Andrew protests that on this task that he drove the mascot design, the logo design, and the website design. Notice that he isn’t pushing how the task-losing element of the task was pretty much his baby. Oddly. Lucy Beauvallet then turns to him and says that everyone in the pitch said that their website was awful. So there.
We then move on to said task-losing idea – covering kids in paint then just blithely sending them back to their parents. What are the parents supposed to get out of it? Andrew rather weakly says that the children could take a “snipping” of what was on the floor. I think Andrew underestimates middle-class parents. That’d be an intellectual property lawsuit waiting to happen. “MY LITTLE ODIN MADE THAT PIECE ACTUALLY! HE ROLLED THE PAINT COVERED BEACHBALL OVER IT!”. Lordalan snorts that the tagline should have been “one hour of fun, three hours in the bath”. (Lucky Lady Alan). He hoots that OF COURSE kids would love it (…not based on the demo they wouldn’t) but the parents would be mortified.
Ashleigh is asked who she’s sending back to the house, which is a new way of doing it, and she selects Lucy Beauvallet because she stood up to her over the concept. Also because she’s a bit worried that Lucy Beauvallet might top off her revenge on the Triple A Clique with a beheading. (Best CURSE since PALOMA’S CURSE yes?)
Candidates go out, everyone agrees to be extra nice to David before he gets the boot, candidates come back in again.
Lordalan asks Ashleigh why she’s brought David back and she says it’s because he was the same on this task as he’s been every week – he just totally switched off. David protests that she can’t say that he was “switched off” on this task, and Ashleigh tells him to let her finish speaking before he “picks at it”. Meow. She says that he just follows everyone else around, jumping on whichever bandwagon is passing at that moment. She thinks he contributed far less than Andrew and Lucy Beauvallet did, and it was a real struggle to get inspiration from him. Lordalan points out that she kind of sidelined him by making him the mascot, and Ashleigh lies that that’s not all what she did. Lucy Beauvallet is the best with kids, and Andrew was the best at business pitching. So it was mascot or nothing for David.
David then waffles on, saying that he came up with the “dance routine” for the class (oh David, this is not the Steps Reunion tour task (sadly) so that will count for nothing) and really put his heart and soul into the task. He says that Lordalan is already fully aware of his capabilities, so on this task he wanted to diversify. Lordalan asks David “with the greatest of respect” where he’s supposed to have picked up on David’s abilities from. Given that he hasn’t shown them on any task. He knows all about his deficiencies, from his many many losses, but his good side? Not so much. David then dopily returns to his CV, saying that the fact that he’s head of so many committees proves that he’s a good presenter and pitcher. OK David. He then goes on to get worse, saying that the fact that he’s been in the boardroom so many times just proves what a hard worker he is.
Yeah, that makes NO sense. Andrew points out to David that he has in fact been in the boardroom because he’s been crap. David has no real answer to this.
Ashleigh is then asked to explain why Andrew is there, and Ashleigh replies that she doesn’t think that either she or Andrew deserve to be in the Boardroom, and Andrew is really only there because she felt she couldn’t bring back Lucy Beauvallet. Lordalan snorts that Ashleigh was PROJECT MANAGER of a disaster, so she can’t in good faith be arguing that she doesn’t deserve to be there? He knows she’s a “powerful lady” who sticks to her guns and has presence, but she needs to accept that her idea tanked this task. She says that it did, yes, and she holds her hands up to that.
This then converts into begging time for Ashleigh, and she takes the tack that she was both the first person to volunteer to manage a team, then the first person to do it for a second time. She thinks she’s a strong candidate and very mature and able, with a hell of a lot of common sense. Also, David sucks. Did she mention that? It’s then Andrew’s turn to beg, and he says that he did so much on this task, wasn’t “just a yes man to Ashleigh”, and really drove the design elements of the task. He led the pitch and also came up with lots of ideas and concepts for the task.
Ashleigh is the fire-teasing, for being largely responsible for the failure of the task, but David is ultimately the one who is fired, of course, after a very odd discursion so that Lordalan can tell Andrew that he doesn’t like him, and then Andrew cries a bit. Weird. We also cut out entirely the post boardroom where everyone hugs David goodbye and Lordalan tells everyone they’re very lucky they survived. I hope it’s because Andrew and Ashleigh formed a NORTHERN PACT to wipe everyone else out, not because they had to sit him down with a show psychiatrist to get him over the trauma of Lordalan not liking him. I like to think he’s made of sterner stuff than that.
In his LIMO OF SHAME, David says that being in the boardroom four times was, for him, the equivalent of getting four business lessons from one of the greatest business minds in the world, and he intends to take what he learnt there out into the business world. Mostly jokes about Uranus.
Back the house, the safe 5 candidates lounge around on giant cushions. Patrick in particular looks incredibly louche. Steven asks Lucy Beauvallet who she thinks is leaving, and this is her response :
“I don’t know, it’s difficult, Ashleigh shouldn’t have pushed so hard, she should have listened to…like…me *eye pop* *giggle* *shrug*”
Lucy Beauvallet for the win. She also announces that Andrew is really arrogant, and SO difficult to work with. I’m so glad my impression of the clique lines in the house appears to be being borne out. ALL THE A NAMES STICK TOGETHER!
Anyway, the surviving candidates return, and everyone hugs them both (Ashleigh more enthusiastically than Andrew). Andrew tells everyone that Lordalan apparently hates him, but he doesn’t care, and he’ll prove him wrong next week. Yeah! That’s the spirit! He then asks Wetsuit Kimono about their reward and Steven offers him a sniff of his wrist. “Give it to his mother” indeed. He’s clearly learning. We’ll have him out of those Mr Men socks next.
Next Week : ADVERTISING TASK AHOY!