ANOTHER GLORIOUS VICTORY FOR THE NORF!
(And hopefully this one won’t immediately get up the duff)
It’s 6:45am at Apprentibaby Mansions, and before we move on to the lesser matter of who wins £25,000 it’s time to reveal this year’s winner of Junior Apprentice Phone-Answering Wars. And, as it happens, the winner is Steven Cole, as the last person to pick up the phone is Maria. This leaves the final scores as :
Steven : 2
Andrew : 1
Ashleigh : 1
Lucy Beauvallet : 1
Maria : 1
Navdeep : 1
Which means that not only has Patrick made the finale without ever really doing anything of note, he’s also done it never having bothered to pick up the phone. Truly an Apprentice Legend we will remember for all time.
The Disembodied Voice at the other end of the phone tells Maria that Lordalan wants to meet them at White Hart Lane, home of Hot Accomplished Ginger Andre Villas Boas, and some football team or whatever. And if you think that’s vapid commentary, then think on Maria referring to the grounds as “White Hart Lane Football Station”. ALL ABOARD THE FOOTIE TRAIN! CHOO CHOO! She runs around the house yelling, even though there’s only four of them left, and Lucy Beauvallet and Ashleigh scratch their heads between them as to what on earth “White Hart Lane” is. And we don’t even SEE Patrick’s reaction. Most inappropriate final task EVER Y/N? It’s like is Stella and Chris Bates had had a gangsta rap-off.
Maria gives an interview where she says that it’s not really the money that matters to her – it’s having Lordalan’s backing and insight and constant support. She might want to check Lordalan’s twitter feed for the last time he mentioned Zara Whatserface…Fellini or whatever it was. I’m guessing it was about 365 days ago today. Patrick meanwhile interviews that he definitely deserves the investment, because it will allow him to become the best fashion designer in the country, and get his own segment on Strictly Come Dancing yelling about ruffles and gaudes. He’s wearing a purple shirt with mother-of-pearl collar-studs (all buttons undone except the top one), white chinos, brown loafers, and no socks.
Everyone decamps to the Apprenticars, where Maria hoots to Ashleigh that she hates to break it to her, but she, Maria is going to win. Ashleigh smirks back that she’s quite happy to let Maria think that. I’m sad that this is the Apprenticar we see, rather than the other one, where Patrick and Lucy Beauvallet are dancing along in the back seat to Girls Aloud. Sad I am indeed that Patrick and Lucy Beauvallet never got to work on the same team. I think it would have been quite something. Anyway, Ashleigh interviews that she’s got “t’best reputation” of the final four, cause Maria’s a slut and Patrick’s a poof and Lucy Beauvallet…(*makes drinky drink motion*). Not really. She makes it all about her performance on tasks and stuff, like that even matters in these post Tom Pellereau days. She also says “I were only in t’Bottom Three once, and that were only cause I were Project Manager” which…she might want to rephrase before hauling out in her Closing Statement. Lucy Beauvallet meanwhile interviews that Ashleigh is her closest rival, because she is “loud and confident”. A fearsome combination indeed.
The teams then arrive at White Hart Lane, with the soundtrack mute, to impart the ground’s TRUE MAJESTY (/how it looks like a discarded tissue-box. Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that is home to Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. And this is the first time they’ve let them back since Saira Khan was so overwhelmingly rude, bitchy, and difficult to work with, that the show was forced to change the entire task because the staff refused to allow her on the premises. Best Candidate EVAH. The candidates walk in and head towards the pitch. In honour of the noble sport, Patrick has added an olive trenchcoat to his ensemble. It’s the closest shade he has to faun.
Once they’re all out on the turf, Lordalan enters via the players entrance (the massive div) and congratulates all the contestants on making the Final Four. Like Junior Apprentice Legends Haya Al Dlame and that Scottish Mini-Badger girl. He reminds them all that they’re playing for £25,000 and there’s no “value” in there anywhere, so I’m guessing it’s cold hard cash. Next he assays the teams, and says that as it stands it all looks a bit unfair, with Lucy Beauvallet as the sole remaining Wetsuit Kimono, so in the interests of parity, he sends Ashleigh over to join her. Maria’s face as she realises that she is on THAT TEAM (ie Alex/Helene) rather than the team she wants to be on (ie Lee/Claire) is joyous to watch. It’s like a whole series worth of self-awareness flashes across her face in a split-second, and she doesn’t like it one bit. Ashleigh and Lucy Beauvallet couldn’t be smugger about it either. They’re practically embroiding their matching winners headscarves already. Well…Lucy Beauvallet is, I don’t think Ashleigh DOES embroidery.
Next it’s time to reveal this year’s Final Task. Lordalan explains that this year has seen Britons on the WORLD STAGE of sport, as opposed to every other year when normally we’ve fell face-first into the orchestra pit than shat ourselves. And as tribute, this final task will be sports themed. Specifically they will be designing and branding a range of sportswear. Patrick’s face says “Patrick McDowell doesn’t DO sportswear” louder than anything even Maria says all episode. Oh and there will also be a launch event, because what’s an Apprentice Final Task without an embarrassing Launch Event in some warehouse somewhere, featuring all the contemporary dancers who are warming up for this year’s X Factor?
Another mainstay of the Final Task? All the losers coming back to “help out”. Just like last year, there’s no playground Team Pick. Just like last year, I am FEWMIN. These are the line-ups :
Bizarrely, we then get a brief tourist board stumping by Lordalan for Manchester, where this task will be taking place. It’s “a fantastic city, known for its textile industry and its sports heritage”. Lordalan says all this like Manchester is in fact in Armenia, which I guess to him it might as well be. The teams are dispatched, to carve out their brands.
Helpful Voiceover Man pops up next, telling us that “from professional kit to urban street-fashion, the £4,000,000,000 UK sportswear industry is big business”. Wouldn’t it be nice for the teams to go into a fairly low-stakes industry for once. Like, customised shoelaces or something? We go on to learn that each team has three days to come up with a “brand”, then spray it onto various sweat-shop 50p t-shirts loving provided by Lordalan. That seems…a little limited in scope for the final task. I have faith they’ll shoehorn in an advert for no reason, as per bloody usual.
And so the teams board their trains to THE NORF. Well…Manchester anyway, which sort of counts. They’re travelling First Class on a Virgin Train, so sadly only about 5% of the footage is usable, as in the rest they’re being asked if they’d like a cup of tea.
First we are treated to the workings of Platinum, with Maria musing that this should be an interesting task. It’d be the first one this series…(actually, the cookery books one wasn’t too bad, I guess). David chimes in that this should be a WINNING task, and Maria grins back that it HAS to be a winning task. Can you imagine how perfunctory the last 10 minutes of this episode would have been if her team had won? Can you imagine Patrick trying to come up with an argument as to why he should win? I’d be sorry it never happened, if I didn’t know it would mean Maria won.
In discussion, she then announces to the team that she’d like to go with a “winter sports” theme for their range, at which Patrick points out that there are whole continents that have no market at all for winter sports. Yeah Patrick, but you’d have Antarctica sewn up. Patrick muses that he quite likes “wellbeing” as a theme. I mean…he’s clearly reading this off a list of pre-approved options that the teams have to pick from but seriously? “Wellbeing”? How mimsy can you get? He goes on to sniff derisively at the concept of “streetwear” and says that whatever they do they’re not doing THAT and Maria agrees, flapping that “streetwear” has been done to death and is boring.
Naturally this a cue for a jump-cut to Ashleigh, announcing that Wetsuit Kimono are definitely doing streetwear, and you’d be daft not to. Alice jumps right back into A-Clique mode and says that Ashleigh has made the right decision there definitely, yup. Her earrings are HUGE incidentally. Size of a man’s fist, easy. At the side, Lucy rolls her eyes, and just thanks God that Amy isn’t there to back Ashleigh up as well, swearing all the while.
Back at Platinum, and Maria announces that she “wants to go cycling”. Well she’s picked a fine time for it! (AHAHAHAHAHAHA!). Amy chimes in that, what with the Tour de France and the Olympics and the Ascent Of Wiggles that it’s definitely a great time to do so. Maria goes on to say that she can really see the “eco angle” there. She wants to make a young, trendy cycling brand. Patrick just wants to pick his eyebrows, because there’s no treat for winning this task, and he’s run through his whole wardrobe of wares to show off now. Nick interviews (HANGING OUT BY THE LOOS) that Maria is totally in control of the team, and Patrick’s just given up. Oh Nick, he did that in Week 3, at the latest. Then you made the treats things like “jammin with Labrinth” and he REALLY gave up.
Teams arrive in Manchester at 2pm, and promptly split, whilst Helpful Voiceover Man explains to us helpfully and needlessly what a “Manchester” is. This year, they got the Internet! They’re SO excited. Anyway, half the teams are going to meet a focus group, and the other half are off to research retailers (/go shopping). On Platinum, Patrick is partnered with David and Amy and drawing a picture of a bicycle that also kind of looks like a picture of some boobies. Best branding ever! Maria meanwhile has shoe-horned off both Navdeep and Steven for herself. No, those subteams don’t seem stacked in her favour AT ALL. At this point, they’re brainstorming names over the phone. Steven likes “Rusty Chain” and “Puncture”. Hey, what about “Brian”? That could work as well Steven! How quickly you forget your friends! Amy explains to Steven very slowly that if you have a PUNCTURE it means your bike can’t GO ANYWHERE. Turns out I miss her less than I thought. David then comes up with the idea of “Cyc”, pronounced like “Psych”, in capital letters. Maria says she likes it, which is a sure sign that it’s an awful name. This is the woman who endorsed “Strexy”. I mean…if you see “CYC” does your brain go “Psych” or does it go “See-Why-See”?.
Patrick asks Maria what their tagline should be and she responds, in all seriousness, “CYC : Just Do It!” before realising her own mistake. Everyone laughs a genuine, generous, hearty laugh and Lordalan sulks somewhere off-camera. It’s no “Bacon, lettuce and………… tuna!” is it? Navdeep then suggests “CYC : Lead The Way” and we have a brand.
Wetsuit Kimono meanwhile are arriving at “Evolve” which is a “training centre for urban street sport”. The training mostly seems to involve jumping off things and doing forward rolls whilst wearing a hoodie and grunge shorts. Ashleigh stomps up, flanked by Alice and Sean’s Hair, and stares it all down, unimpressed. I’m guessing this is the focus group side of things. She asks the followers of “urban street sport” what they want from a brand, and they reply that they want the brand to have ethics and to really care about them. Wow, the counter-culture got really fucking needy didn’t it? Kaen brags in interview that she’s been working in “the sports industry” for over 20 years, and if she can create a band that accurately captures the essence of all this bollocks, then she could really create a global sports brand. You know, like “Birmingham City FC”.
Max, Lucy Beauvallet and Andrew meanwhile are hitting “Decathlon”, which is a sports shop. They’re there to do “market research” which in reality translates into Lucy Beauvallet walking around MERCILESSLY bullying Andrew because it’s suddenly incredibly obvious that he fancies her, by making him demonstrate his “swagger” to her. Just as Lucy Beauvallet – cupcake baking lawyer and devourer of men’s minds gets to the point of actually saying “go on Andrew, put your SWAG on” her phone goes off. And she says “oh fuck”. AGAIN. It’s Ashleigh, and she wants to tell Lucy Beauvallet about her market research. She blahs on about how all the urbanites wanted a brand with ethos and ethics that will tuck them in and give them a binky, then unloads her tagline. “Strive. Emerge. Achieve.“. (And yes that it is her what done that prank phone-call. God but Amazing Race Australia is AMAZING). Lucy Beauvallet sneers that that sounds like a CHARITY tagline (ugh!) and it’s just not cool. Ashleigh, whose grasp of cool is such that she invented “Strexy”, replies that its cool by NOT being cool because cool people don’t care about being COOL they care about being cared about by brands. Lucy Beauvallet scrunches up her nose and tries to think of something else, whilst Andrew interviews that the beautiful delicate flower of Lucy Beauvallet is being choked by Ashleigh’s bindweed.
Next up, Maria and her wingmen arrive at a bicycle repair shop, to do their market research of retailers. Maria corners the owner of the shop (who is clearly about 38) and sneers that as it stands, people probably view cycling as something that THIRTYSOMETHINGS do (ugh!) as part of their midlife crisis. Navdeep asks him if he’s aware of any cycling “coolwear” and the shopkeeper, having just been dismissed as a tragic spod on a chopper says that he’s not no. Maria and Navdeep both coo that this is GREAT for them, because clearly they are filling a niche that nobody else is filling whilst Steven looks a bit embarrassed at how ham-fisted the girls just were. Maria then interviews that she thinks she’s really taking a risk trying to make cycling edgy urban and young (tell it to the BMX Bandits dear) and if you’re not taking a risk at this stage of the competition, then you’re just being foolish. Tell it to Yasmina.
Still later now, and Wetsuit Kimono still have no brand name, so Ashleigh rings Lucy Beauvallet up again, to harangue her again. Lucy Beauvallet suggests that they might want to go doe something like heinously earnest than Ashleigh’s quasi-aspirational bollocks, maybe, and Ashleigh sighs that obviously they’re on different pages because the focus group wanted earnest and hand-wringing, and not some crappy inauthentic FUN shit. Lucy Beauvallet protests that she’s not actually TRYING to come with crappy names ACTUALLY. Ashleigh then suggests “Release” and Lucy Beauvallet says “I like Release”. She’s possibly talking about one of the indie boybands she’s shagged her way through. Ashleigh says that she too likes “Release”, like how you release your anger and frustration, on a punching bag or a wall or some bint’s face what looked at you t’wrong way outside Bar Cuba at 2am on’t Tuesday Night. They both agree to go for “Release” and Max and Andrew both mutter their ascent. Lucy Beauvallet screws her mouth up and says “you guys don’t sound too convinced”. Andrew snarks back “neither do you”.
He suits the role of “Lucy Beauvallet’s Henchman” so well. He and Steven should have played the role of her occasionally bickering Winged Monkeys all series, frankly.
Ashleigh meanwhile is interviewing that she thinks she’s being much more grown-up than Lucy Beauvallet about this task. She’s going on what feedback she got, whereas it appears to have gone right over Lucy Beauvallet’s head. To be fair, nothing’s getting over Ashleigh’s head, not with the Flock of Seagulls ‘do she’s got going on.
5pm now, and both brand names are fixed. It’s Release vs CYC. And guess what? We ARE getting a pointless advert element to the task! In the form of a VIRAL FLASHMOB STYLE VIDEO! OH JOY! The teams are gathered so that it might be explained to them what a flashmob is, via the means of that T Mobile advert from ages ago. This is all done whilst they’re sat around a PUB LUNCH TABLE INDOORS. Ugh. Marketing people. They’re told that flashmobs are clever and funny and stir peoples emotions and feelings. Mostly the emotion and feeling of “oh fuck off” in my case.
Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that both teams have access to “a database of dancers, singers and actors”. I’m guessing it consists of all the people who applied for this show, didn’t get on, but were still desperate to get their mugs on tv anyway. From this database, they will pad out a day of task time producing their “viral video”. Ashleigh and Alice are conceiving their idea – street dancers dancing in peoples faces to “Mama Do The Hump” – whilst cackling openly to one another about how socially awkward they’re going to make everybody. Sean’s Hair, who I guarantee has never danced in his life, looks vaguely aghast at the side.
Patrick, David and Amy meanwhile aren’t being allowed to brainstorm on their own, not with the dread hand of Maria choking this entire team. He has to report on the phone to her his idea – a 50 person a capella choir singing a Lady Gaga medley (try to look surprised). Steven giggles to Maria that he’d rather they sang “Bicycle Race”. He then sings “Bicycle Race”. So robbed. Maria sneers loudly down the phone that people in choirs are all OLD and her brand is for YOUNG PEOPLE. What if there are GRANNIES in the choir? Patrick asks Maria how she can possibly know the age of the choir just by stereotyping them and Maria’s all “I’M SICK OF ARGUING, I’VE MADE MY POINT, YOU’RE NOT DOING IT!” the very second someone makes a counterpoint to her arguments, as usual, and then hangs up. Like Maria could ever be sick of arguing. Patrick sighs that Maria is so aggressive all the time, whilst Maria continues to yell at Navdeep and Steven about everything, ever. Navdeep reassures Maria that she’s sure Patrick will listen to her, and not hire the choir for their video.
Patrick hires the choir for their video.
8am next morning now, and Maria is about to discover that Patrick hired the choir for the team’s video. This entire meeting is officially in my Top 1 Young Apprentice Moments of all time, and what better way to record it than with a paraphrased, entirely biased, imaginary transcript.
Maria : I’ve gathered you all here today to glower and yell at you all, as usual.
Navdeep : (*why am I even here? Why are there so many people on this team, when there’s so little to do? When am I going to get to give a speech?*)
Maria : Patrick, did you book the choir?
Patrick : Yes (*biggest shit-eating grin EVAH*)
David : (*oh shit*)
Maria : DID YOU FIND OUT HOW OLD THEY ARE? BECAUSE IF ANY OF THEM ARE OVER 23 I’D GOING TO FLIP YOU IN THE FLIP HOLE YOU FLIPPING FLIPPER!
Patrick : They’re a variety of ages, like people usually are (*biggest shit-eating grin EVAH maintained*)
Maria : ARE ANY OF THOSE AGES OVER 23? BECAUSE I’M TRYING TO REBRAND CYCLING TO MAKE IT COOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE! DID I MENTION THAT? I PERSONALLY AM MAKING CYCLING COOL BY CALLING IT CYC AND…THAT’S PRETTY MUCH MY ENTIRE PLAN, BUT IF I SAY I’M DOING SOMETHING IT MEANS I AM! FLIP ME! FLIP ME SIDEWAYS!
Patrick : (*eye-roll)
Maria : FLIP ME! YOU SLY FLIPPING FLIPPER! (*looks to camerapeople for support for some reason, like she expected production to swoop in and tell Patrick he’s not allowed to disagree with her*) WHY DIDN’T YOU CONSULT ME?
Patrick : Why should I Maria? You’re not the PM. (*triumphant face*)
Maria : YOU’RE NOT THE FLIPPING PM EITHER SO HOW DARE YOU MAKE A DECISION WITHOUT ME!
Patrick : Whatever, it was my subteam, bitch.
Maria : I FLIPPING HOPE YOU ENJOYING FLIPPING LOSING YOU FLIPPING FLIP FLIPPITY FLIPFACE!
Patrick : It was so worth it.
Navdeep : Yeah, woo, calm down and stuff.
Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that next order of business for both teams, after that madness, is to design a logo. Lucy Beauvallet is at the helm for Wetsuit Kimono, as she creates a logo that looks very much like the title of a late 90s Mega Drive shoot-em-up. She interviews that she’s very glad to be in control of this subteam, and that she hasn’t got Ashleigh breathing down her neck the whole time. Her big idea? To make the “R” in Release a bit bigger than the rest of the word. Exciting stuff. Kaen interviews that she likes Lucy Beauvallet’s logo, and so would I if she were advertising a paintballing weekend. Andrew googles his eyes at Lucy Beauvallet the whole time, just grateful to be in her presence, really. Max tries to snurfle in that he thinks Lucy Beauvallet’s doing a really good job as well, but Lucy Beauvallet clearly knows where the money is here, getting Andrew to swear himself “Team Lucy” then grinning that that really does have a ring to it. She’s got him over a barrel. He’s basically that guy that ran the garden centre, but tenfold. We’re lucky he stuck to just championing her in the final boardroom, rather than ACTUALLY PROPOSING. I’m retrospectively thinking that that awful toilet paper joke wasn’t just because he didn’t like the French model guy, but because he was ACTIVELY trying to look impressive by comparison in front of Lucy Beauvallet. So many layers, these children.
Meanwhile, Maria designs her logo. It looks crap. It’s a green Y, with spokes, inside two purple “C” brackets, that are supposed to look like a wheel. So she’s twisting her already awful brand name even further into a pretzel of garbage. Navdeep couldn’t look more like she’s waiting the clock of this task out if she tried. Meanwhile, in the other Apprenticar, Patrick, Amy and David are all having a party about how they screwed over Maria, complete with party horns and cheesy wotsits. Well, in my head anyway.
Next up, it’s time for the teams to affix their logo to the cheap unbranded clothing that Lordalan has provided them with. This segment is solely an excuse to squeeze Steven into a pair of lycra cycling leggings and for the women of the team to laugh at him. Navdeep hoots that Steven’s legs are SO SKINNY and Steven mock-defensively replies that it’s “all muscle” and then Navdeep asks him if “they’re flexible”. I’m not sure if she means the leggings or his legs. This whole episode has a very “end of term disco where everyone cops off and gets drunk enough to finally tell Maria to FUCK OFF” vibe about it. I predict that if we’d gone on for another half hour, David and Andrew would have a fist fight over Lucy Beauvallet, and Ashleigh would be comforting Max in a corner until he tried to cop off with her and she punched his lights out.
Speaking of Ashleigh, she’s currently in Piccadilly Gardens, in central Manchester, and directing her flashmob. She tells the assembled crew of streetdances that she’s their “gaffer” today. She really looks like more of a key grip to me. Or a Best Boy. She hands out t-shirts, all of which say “Strive. Emerge. Achieve” on them. “Strive, Emerge, Achieve, Release” sounds like the chorus of a 2009 dance track doesn’t it? A very…sexual one. She directs the dancers to go dance in the faces of whoever Sean’s Hair points at, and is pretty charming whilst doing so. The first woman targeted has an attack of Social Anxiety Disorder and nearly passes out on the spot. This is not a good start.
Meanwhile, Patrick is assembling his wobbly old-lady choir in the Trafford Centre. To be fair, Maria’s suspicions about the choir are entirely on the nose. Either they’re old, or they’re young but not COOL AND URBAN like the market she’s apparently aiming for. The important thing really is that Patrick has a megaphone. He yells the team’s plan to the choir. They’re going to be milling around the shopping centre in small groups of two or three. Then, slowly, one by one, each individual group will start singing, and then come together, creating an ever increasing wall of sound, that coalesces finally in the “CYC” logo. None of this actually happens, obviously. The choir just stand there, sing, then form a vague blob that the show’s editors clearly had to struggle for several hours in post-production to make even remotely look like “CYC”. The whole mess does at least make it obvious how staged and awful “viral video flashmobs” are, as the fact that David is stood there with a whacking great camera the whole time is never less than obvious. Once the choir have finished singing their Lady Gaga Medley, Patrick yells “CYC! GOOGLE FACEBOOK TWITTER SOCIAL MEDIA! CYC!” which I think is probably something of a personal victory for him on some level.
Some people stand around laughing, pointing, and recording the events on their videocameras so they can leak Apprentice spoilers onto the Internet. Later they realise that it was only Junior Apprentice, and nobody cares, so they don’t bother. Patrick takes all this as a victory, bless him. He yells down the megaphone to his choir that they all did amazing, then stands there basking like this is the end of The King’s Speech or something.
Back with Ashleigh now, and she’s slowly losing her light, but it’s looking like she’s finding some people who are more receptive to her dancers. One (URBAN!) victim (BY WHICH I MEAN BLACK!) (ACTUALLY BLACK!) (SO URBAN!) actually joins in, which is flashmob gold-dust, which Ashleigh realises immediately as she cacks herself laughing at her good fortune. She declares to the camera that this “marketing stunt” has really worked. I love that she calls it a “marketing stunt”, which is what it is, not a “viral interactive social media event” or whatever the show clearly wants her to call it. She then points out to the camera that she’s got bird-poo on her arse from all the filthy pigeons milling around. Excellent.
A whole day wasted on that viral marketing crap, it’s time for the Day Of The Pitch. We start at 7am, with both Patrick and Maria applying enough product to sink the Belgrano. Ashleigh’s hair however, appears just to be stuck like that regardless. As both teams arrive at their conference centre, they get surprised by a video-wall outside, showing their logos. Wetsuit Kimono’s looks more professional by a ridiculous distance, and Ashleigh gives Lucy Beauvallet a big gushy hug at the sight of it. Lucy Beauvallet remains unmoved by Ashleigh’s sudden show of friendship. Meanwhile, Maria is having a mini flap about her pitch, with Navdeep talking her down and telling her that she’s really good at pitches. I know. Navdeep talking about public speaking. She really is showing a WHOLE other side of her in this finale isn’t she?
Time now for the usual pre-pitch shenanigans, as the teams gear up for the big push. Lucy Beauvallet surveys her team’s clothing, Ashleigh directs lighting rigs, Alice and Andrew carry a bench around, Steven points out to Maria that she should probably remove the part of her pitch where she describes her brand’s target market as “having no money”, Patrick choreographs a contemporary dance routine themed around bicycles…
And so it comes to Pitching Time. Up first are Platinum, with their stage set that looks a bit like a school assembly about road safety. Helpful Voiceover Man introduces us to our audience. They are Marketing Executives (shifty looking fuckers, as usual), representatives from Lacoste (Severe!), O’Neill (Icy!) and Adidas (FIT!), and Rio Ferdinand, because why not? Actually…I can think of many reasons. Oh and, of course, Lordalan himself, flying in by private jet from London.
Platinum’s pitch begins, hilariously, with Patrick’s contemporary cycling routine. 3 dancers do Year 5 School Disco moves as some models strut around in their midst, and 2 more dancers…sit at the side peddling stationary exercise bikes. I’m not sure how this could look less cool and urban. Rio Ferdinan is aghast. AGHAST. Then Patrick starts pitching, in a really chirpy and upbeat way, clearly determined to banish all memories of his disastrous pitch on the cookbook task. Oh and is if to make their pitch even cooler, Patrick’s microphone has a blue trim, whilst Maria’s has a pink trim. It’s like they’re playing Singstar in the most gender-appropriate way possible. I can just imagine their version of “Islands In The Stream” now, simmering with resent. Here are some choice nonsense moments from the pitch as a whole :
“From the year 2000, cycling has grown by 117% due to the increasing popularity of the sport”
“This is Ben. He’s never cycled before because there was nothing relevant to his age”
“Now Ben cycles every day, looking good and reducing his carbon footprint”
“Our marketing stunt shocked, energised, and enticed our target market”
Oh Apprentice pitches. It is at least confidently delivered, and they manage to bluster through the fact that their “VIRAL EVENT!” was just some people singing in a shopping centre whilst people watched. In a University town, that’s Saturday.
Maria opens the floor to questions, and Rio Ferdinand announces that something is concerning him. Is it Gaza? The police conspiracy against Andrew Mitchell? The impending extinction of the red panda? NO! It’s that CYC’s colours are quite similar to the Wimbledon colours. Thanks Rio. Maria blithely replies that at no point during their conceptualising process did she ever consider other brands. Oh that makes it alright then. She explains to Rio that the green represent eco-friendliness, and the purple represents what a load of cock-end their brand is. Oh, no, sorry it’s because “it relates to their target market”. Somehow.
Next some guy asks Patrick which is more important to their brand – a high quality product, or a low low price? Patrick replies that it’s all about a compromise between the two, not at all just speaking blindly and hoping for the pitch to stop now please. The questioner then asks if their brand will be the cheapest on the market and Maria replies that she’s created a budget brand, but not the cheapest. Items will cost between £20 and £50. Or thereabouts. The end.
After Maria and Patrick have left, the Marketing bods give their feedback. The general thrust is that they like the focus on cycling, as it’s currently a “boom sport” but they’re not so sure about trying to play to the Urban Market by having a bunch of grandmothers doing a little dance to Poker Face. They may have a point.
Wetsuit Kimono’s pitch is next and it too is opened with dancing. And unicycling. And somebody repeatedly leapfrogging a bin. The state of the performing arts in this country, I swear… Once the speeches start, it’s clear that neither Ashleigh nor Lucy Beauvallet are quite the natural public speakers that Maria is, but they make a decent show of things, with Ashleigh focusing on the warm, fuzzy, ethical “let’s help the streetkids” side of the “Release” brand, and Lucy Beauvallet dealing with the hard-sell and advertising guff. What they DO have over CYC (other than just being, you know, better) is that their viral video has been really well-shot and edited together, and makes sense in terms of what they’re advertising. It looks staged in a PROFESSIONAL way, as opposed to looking like some DVD put together by some over-ambitious University choir director.
Once the floor is opened, of course the very first question focuses on what they actually MEAN when they say their brand is ethical, and Ashleigh pumps out some generic waffle about “setting up sports clubs” and “free lessons for kids to learn how to street dance”. Of course they won’t be able to do this until they get given lots of lovely money, but hey ho. Dream big, eh kids? Also give us your money. Icy Blonde Lacoste Woman next asks Lucy Beauvallet how their logo is going to translate globally, to countries where English isn’t their first language. Lucy Beauvallet smiles back that she thought of this when creating the logo. It’s all about her Big Rs. Lucy Beauvallet thinks her big Rs will be globally recognisable. And having big Rs really fits in with their street-brand.
Hey, I never said I was mature.
When the feedback comes in, Rio says he’s all about empowering the kids and being ethical and that, but all the marketing executives sit around wondering if the brand is really unique enough to distinguish itself in the marketplace, and really they wonder if the charity work Ashleigh is promising would ever be feasible. Those poor streetkids. They thought they’d found a brand which truly loved them, and it was ALL LIES. IT’S BACK UNDER THE BRIDGE WITH A BOTTLE OF BUCKFAST FOR THEM!
Next day now, and it’s time to find out the results of this most final of final tasks. One of the Apprentibabies will emerge from this Final Boardroom a winner, one of them a loser, and the other two also losers but MORE SO. Patrick interviews that if he doesn’t win Lordalan’s investment, he will be gutted, because he and Maria really came up with a great brand and concept after “working through their differences”. By which he means Maria sat on him and burnt him with hair straighteners. Maria interviews that in a perfect world she would win this show and go on to be the greatest businesswoman ever.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a statement on reality tv that I would agree with less. And there’s a LOT of competition. Most of it from Maria.
Ashleigh interviews that she’s learnt a hell of a lot whilst on the show, and she hopes that Lordalan sees how much she’s developed. Hey, you’ve not learnt as much as Maria did. She learnt what a planet is. Ashleigh then goes on to say that she has “been a massive input”. Well quite. Finally we get the last word before the Final Boardroom, from Lucy Beauvallet, wearing her CAPE OF TRUTH.
“I am an A Grade student, I have my own business, and I make a really good profit. I can be lead, but I’m also a really good leader, and I don’t think everyone in this process can say that”.
Indeed. Ashleigh would have thrown about 17 superfluous “t'”s in there for a start. BLAHDDY NORFERNERS.
All of the Final Four file into the Final Boardroom, flanked by their helpers. Lucy Beauvallet may or may not get Andrew to hold her cape for her.
When Lordalan enters, he reminds them what the task was – create a new brand of sportswear that could be sold throughout the world, then pitch it to a group of industry experts and also Rio Ferdinand. Lordalan jokes that he guesses it can now be said that Rio Ferdinand works for two miserable bosses now!!! TWO miserable bosses! Because Alex Ferg…oh never mind.
It’s Platinum being discussed first, and Maria outlines that they weighed up the pros and cons of everything, and cycling seemed to have the best “vibe” about it. Nick points out that in the discussion, the “pros” of cycling were “Maria wants to do it” and the cons of cycling were “don’t make me hurt you”. Maria grins that she did push for cycling harder yes, because she didn’t think young people had been targeted by cyclists before and she could come up with a novel and funky-fresh approach. Lordalan asks Patrick if he did anything on this task at all, and he replies that he argued with Maria a lot. That was his input. Maria grins that she thinks it made her stronger to be argued with, because it made her aware of what the negative points of her idea were, so she could ignore them completely.
Lordalan is frankly entirely unsurprised that a team with Maria in it spent the entire task bickering with one another, and Patrick plays his trump card, which is that he “doesn’t think that Maria was happy with what I done”. The stream of sugared swears kind of tipped him the wink, I think. Maria makes out that she was just annoyed that Patrick made the decision “behind her back”, even though he rang her up and told her he was going to do it until she hung up on him. Lordalan asks if this act of wanton sabotage was Patrick “asserting his authority” and Patrick says it was. And what a great time he picked to do it. It’s just like when he “asserted his authority” as Porject Manager by dragging his team off a steady sales pitch to go and walk around Brick Lane wailing mournfully about the Wetsuit Kimono of Wetsuit Kimono.
The returnees are now asked how Maria & Patrick were, and Navdeep bland-waffles that they both worked very hard and overcame their differences and created a new utopian society of cycling blah blah blah.
Over to Wetsuit Kimono now, and Lucy Beauvallet reveals that they elected to create a streetwear brand, and Ashleigh explains that it’s because it’s an age-appropriate idea for them, and they might as well stick to what they know. Yes, I can just see Lucy Beauvallet pulling an ollie in her Adidas high-tops (*not a euphemism*). She then goes on to talk about how her focus group told her they wanted an ethical brand that really cared about them. What a bunch of pusses. She carries on describing her quest to make her brand MEANINGFUL and EARNEST and UNBEARABLE, and then Lucy Beauvallet talks about her massive Rs and how everyone around the world will love and recognise them.
The four returnees are next asked what they thought of our final two to be, and more specifically Andrew. Well…this should be good. He says that they’re both great people and he likes them both, but Ashleigh’s a bossy bitch and Lucy Beauvallet is an inclusive goddess who smells of Pantene and rainbows and one day he hopes one day to cook his desserts in her pub kitchen, if you know what he’s talking about (*wink*). Everyone laughs at Andrew’s transparent love for Lucy Beauvallet, and then our eight returnees are dispatched. Sean’s Hair having had the distinction of being the one to say absolutely nothing all episode.
Children sent to bed, it’s time for Lordalan to probe the teams in a little more detail. Lordalan starts with Platinum, and asks Patrick what exactly the logic behind his viral video was, and he replies with that whole “a bunch of random shoppers converge and start singing slowly” thing that never actually happened. Lordalan then pulls a face, and expects us to believe that a bunch of MARKETING EXECUTIVES sat around saying “but what does this viral video have specifically to do with the product being sold?”. Yes, because that’s usually a problem. Patrick gives the usual reply – it gets people talking and “the urban man likes looking things up”. Lordalan goes on to ask why all the choir were SO OLD and Patrick says it was just a risk that he had to take that they might be old. Maria pipes up to say that this was a risk that she DIDN’T want to take, and it turns out she was right. (*smug face*).
Still worth it though.
Ashleigh next gets questioned on why Release isn’t just some generic streetwear brand that doesn’t offer any unique angle. Ashleigh replies that the concept of streetwear is brand new, and nobody had heard of it three years ago. Yeah, maybe in Kendall, love (/Jamie Lester). Their charity angle is covered next and poor Lucy Beauvallet has to try to make this sound realistic. She claims there will be a really big advertising spend to explain how the ethical side of their business is actually going to work, so that people will understand. Neither she or Ashleigh of course explain how it IS going to work. But there will be adverts.
The experts and Rio Ferdinand all said that Wetsuit Kimono had the better brand, they win. You can tell, because Lordalan says that he’s about to disappoint one of the candidates, and you know that Patrick got all that he wanted out of this show a long time ago. Maria congratulates Wetsuit Kimono, which is nice of her. Lordalan tells that both of them can leave with their heads held high. He just knows that he’ll see a “lady like Kaen” wearing one of his garments one day. Not ACTUALLY Kaen obviously. She’s got far too much taste. But some housewife with her face. Maria is also told that with her “bubbly” personality and academic record, she’ll go a long way. Hopefully. She and Patrick skip off into the sunset, arms around one another, oddly cheery about having just been dispatched. I was expecting fire and brimstone it has to be said.
Final Two Candidates go out, Kaen and Nick conduct a symposium on traditional stereotypes of Northern and Southern women with Ashleigh and Lucy Beauvallet as their case studies, Final Two Candidates come back in again.
I will just say before we start that is is my favourite Young Apprentice Final Two EVAH, for the reasons that it doesn’t have Arjun in it, and it doesn’t have Zara in it. Both Ashleigh and Lucy Beauvallet have been Big Characters and Credible Candidates and that’s all I ask for from my Apprentibabies.
We start with Lucy Beauvallet, and her RAY-SOO-MAY, which we’re reminded included a statement about her being a stubborn moo with the philosophy “it’s my way or the highway”. He asks if she’s learnt anything from the process. Other than “don’t trust girls whose names begin with A, they be bitches”? Lucy Beauvallet replies that she was a stubborn loner coming into the process but she’s changed (*good*). In her Cake Business (*good*) she works alone, but she’s learnt from the show that it’s always better to have a strong team behind you, helping you out (*good*). Good answer all round there Lucy Beauvallet, well done.
Ashleigh meanwhile, is asked to say why she’s more deserving than Lucy Beauvallet, and she replies that she’s got a better track-record on the tasks than Lucy Beauvallet does and she’s more of a grafter. She’s made major decisions on every single task, and she’s only lost two of them. So there.
Time now for the candidates to say what they’d do with the money if they won. Is the answer “buy a laptop”? Sadly no. Lucy Beauvallet says she’s going to go to study Law at University (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!) and then go to a company connected with food. To do what? Defend The Hamburglar from sexual harassment lawsuit? Ashleigh for her part says she wants to be either a property developer or set up an accountancy firm. One or t’other. She’s not sure which. She’ll have decided by next year though. Honest.
Having queered her pitch with that whole academia thing, Lucy Beauvallet makes one last desperate grasp for the title by bring up her Cupcake Firm again. I wish we’d heard more about that over the series, I really do.
WINNER PICK TIME!
Ashleigh is the winner, because of her “graft”. I can’t believe somebody just won this show BECAUSE they’re from the Norf, rather than it being an unsurmountable handicap. Ashleigh cries a solitary tear, then hugs Lucy Beauvallet, who disappears off into the middle distance, forever to make cupcakes and wear capes and seduce men and be perfect. *sniff*
In her Limo Of Victory, Ashleigh tells us that she’s so happy that Lordalan has decided to invest in her, and that she can’t wait to get home and tell her family and friends that she’s won. Especially her little brother. NOW HE WON’T HAVE TO GO DOWN T’PIT AFTER ALL!
FOR THE NORF!