Or : What The Candidates Did After They Came Back From Their Holidays
Incidentally, somewhere in the “previously on”s we learn that Alex actually bought his Frankincense Crystals in Dubai for half the price of Rebecca’s. A whole TWO QUID less! And people say that they don’t understand why she got fired. AMATEUR! SHE COST THEM THE TASK! (/Natalie Panayi).
6am and…it’s hard to describe the waggle that Jordan puts in his walk as he descends the stairs to pick up his first point in Phone Answering Wars, naked but for a towel.
He’s like a wee midget hairy slightly roidy Birth Of Venus. We do learn also that he has a
rather ugly tattoo. I’m starting to wonder if the show’s producers gave out free transfers with every application pack.
Incidentally, if you didn’t feel pervy enough watching this sequence,
here it is shot from the perspective of an actual Peeping Tom. Also…I think maybe Jordan is going bald? They really should only use this angle on Lordalan. He is truly the only virile man left on this show, in all his hirsute, luxuriant glory.
Scores are now :
Natalie : 2
Luisa : 1
Jason : 1
Jordan : 1
Still very much all to play for, especially as I can’t imagine Natalie’s going to be around TOO much longer to stretch that lead.
The voice on the phone tells Jordan that Lordalan wants to meet them at Guildhall, and that the cars will be there in 30 minutes. Jordan says “cool” because that’s just Jordan, and he then capers off to tell the men that it’s “once more unto the breach” because…well, that’s even MORE just Jordan. Let’s skip to the part where they’re plugging up the walls with the dead.
After some more super-casual Myles nudity
(seriously, is he trying to set a record?), Neil sighs sadly to himself that his record isn’t the greatest, as he’s won 3 tasks and lost 2. (Fun Fact : Of the winners, only Stella had better than a 3-2 record at this stage). Of course, Neil has to be (faux) modest like this, because he’s in the men’s bedroom. Meanwhile, in the ladies quarters, Natalie (0-5) is scrabbling on the floor, scrying and gasping to Dr Leah (1-4) that she just HAS to win this task. HAS TO. Otherwise she’s done for!
Nothing like delaying the inevitable is there? FEELS GOOD. Frankly, Natalie should be grateful that she’s in the exclusive club of Apprentice ICONS that make up the “Managed To Lose Five Tasks In A Row” Club (Katie Hopkins. Vinnie Disney. Tom Pellereau. Harry 1.) because she’s considerably less memorable than any of them. Dr Leah meanwhile just blythely fluffs her hair and says that she personally knows that she’s going to win this task. Oh sure, she’s Zen NOW.
Meanwhile, off in their little corner, Rebecca with
glam hair like Sadako, frets to Francesca that she doesn’t really think she stood out in Dubai, so she’s going to give it her all in this task. Suddenly Luisa
APPEARS in the doorway and mutters snippily to herself whilst twisting her hair that Becky is just like so desperate to be PM that you can smell it, which, like, at least it’s different from what she normally smells of, which is, like dog food and old cigarette butts and SHET, but Luisa doesn’t rate her at all.
I hope Luisa randomly appearing in doorways like a Satanic pixie Lady Macbeth to randomly bitch people out to nobody in particular, possibly herself, becomes a thing. In all tv shows. Like, in the middle of Eastenders, Luisa just randomly goes *voom* and appears in the corner of the laundrette and does a monologue about how Sharon is, like, so jealous of her and shet and, like, how can someone be addicted to painkillers and still be so FAT, it like, makes no sense?
So anyway, it’s at this point that the ridiculously OTT orchestral music starts up, complete with choral chanting and violent strings and the camera starts doing things like this :
like we’re supposed to imagine the mound of dead bodies on the other side of it behind Nick & Kaen who have transformed into their true vampiric form to activate Alex and welcome back to their necrotic family. I would imagine this is supposed to symbolise “shit getting real” or some other overblown concept but…Natalie and Jason are still here at the very least. The candidates quail in fear before the monstrous
(/effing stupid) statues of Gog & Magog, who are supposed to be harbingers of the Apocalypse but instead are just presaging the arrival of
a miserable little Cockney bugger.
He welcomes the teams to Guildhall,
Kurt already looks kind of over it. Lordalan tells them that this great hall hosts the Lord Mayor’s Banquet. But they’ve cleaned up the jelly snakes and party rings, so it’s looking all nice and sparkly for the candidates. Incidentally, Jordan’s hair and forehead combined are now
exactly the same size as the rest of his face combined. Go on. Measure it.
Lordalan goes on to say that, as well as jollies for semi-irrelevant financial figureheads, the Guildhall also hosts many corporate events. And that’s the teams task this week. To put on a corporate “Away Day”. Lordalan has sat on two clients, each of whom are going to pay £5000 to the team for their services up front. Is this supposed to be an extension of the Flag Shop lesson last week? Is this supposed to really DRIVE HOME how only mugs would pay up front for anything? Anyway, the teams are then going to spend that money, present their services, and the clients are going to then try to desperately claw some of their cash back. The shittier the event, the more money the clients will take back. So basically, it’s the catering task from Series 5, except without blinis(/bellinis)(/greasy wraps) (/greasy wraps with Lorraine Tighe’s hair in them) (/greasy wraps with Lorraine Tighe’s hair in them and MOAR BAZIL).
Task revealed, Lordalan then tells everyone that he really thinks that it’s time he mixed the teams up. Just like it was last week. And the week before that. This week’s leaf on the breeze is Myles, who is being ported back to Endeavour after a whole two weeks of Evolution.
I’m not sure what’s evolved on him. Maybe he’s grown a tail? Give it a couple morning Flesh Parades and we’ll probably get to see it. Dr Leah is made PM for Endeavour, whilst Francesca is made Evolve PM as she has “experience in corporate events”.
Like when she won Series 6 and her job was “make tea for all the boys hurr hurr hurr”. The pain still burns. Francesca nods and grins “with pleasure”. That’s what you think, dear.
As the teams are despatched to brainstorm ideas (/pick the least stupid idea out of a list of very stupid ideas provided to them by the producers) Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that corporate Away Days are worth £1,000,000,000 a year. Never have I wanted to correct “worth” to “cost” more in my life. Sadly the BBC don’t have any convenient stock footage to hand in order to illustrate the concept of the “Away Day” so
here are some miserable looking members of the general public. It just about works for me. Personally, I can only view this task as the show taking back from a field that has already taken so much from it, given that pretty much ALL corporate bonding exercises now are based on either this show or Dragon’s Den.
In Evolve Apprenticar A, Francesca is patting herself on the back for holding out “intelligently” so she could be PM on a task where she has expertise. As opposed to say, last week’s task, which pretty much won itself. Luisa meanwhile, sharing the car with her, just smirks. Yeah, I don’t think this is a happy camp already. I mean, nobody LIKES the first few days back at work after you’ve spent a weekend sunning yourself in Dubai but it does feel like everyone’s come back ready to make the day as miserable as possible for all concerned, on both teams.
Francesca : “I’m so suited for this task! I am basically Mrs Corporate! (until five episodes time when I sing “Knees Up Muvvah Brahn” on top a bus and blow my cover)”
Luisa : “EURGH NO! CORPORATIONS ARE FOR SPAZZGAYS!”
We then get an interview with Luisa
terrifyingly close to her face for absolutely no reason, where she says that she thinks the corporate world is really boring and full of people in boring black suits and just not for her really because it’s so BORING.
In unrelated news, Myles is being welcomed back to the Endeavour Cool Boys Club, and Neil greets him with the news that Alex has been promoted to Vice-Captain whilst Myles was away because Jordan got that really annoying new girlfriend who he’s spending all his time with lately. All the Cool Boys agree that Dr Leah has a point to prove after she set about her PM last week with an entire kitchen knife set, but if she just does exactly what they tell her to do, she’ll be just fine!
With that in mind, at the team’s brainstorming session, Neil says that he should pick the theme, because he’s been on loads of corporate away days, and he really likes the idea of a “School Days” theme. Specifically a school Sports Day, where they can do a sack race and an egg and spoon race, and just loads of really cheap stuff. Dr Leah
disagrees. She wants to do a history theme, so she can take people back in time so they can appreciate the true majesty and pageantry of the medieval era. Presumably by watching Alex running around with his face painted green going “GRRR! RARGH! I AM A WELSH DRAGON BOYO AND I DON’T NEED NO VIAGRA TO RAVAGE YON MAIDENS BEGORARRRGHHH!” whilst Neil and Kurt stick saucepans on their heads and whack one another with tubes of tin foil. Neil’s argument against this is “Everybody went to school, but not everybody did history”. I mean…yes, I went to school, and the fact that I already did it once means I NEVER EVER WANT TO DO IT EVER AGAIN. Especially not in the context of watching Marie-Claire from HR wearing pigtails and a gym skirt that no longer fits properly doing flirty baby voice to the guys in accounts and asking the end-of-day motivational speaker if he thinks she needs a little discipline with his CANE (*wink wink*).
Anyway, Neil and Myles then suggest that maybe if they do a school theme then maybe possibly Dr Leah could dress up in a St Trinians uniform and
Dr Leah shuts that shit down so fast that it doesn’t even need flushing to disappear.
Francesca Corporate meanwhile is telling her team what themes really work in the corporate world. James Bond. Vegas. Dubai, which is JUSS LYKE VAYGUS! “Moulin Rouges”. However, of the limited list before her, she’s torn between “luxury” and “back to schhol”. I…is “luxury” in there as a joke option? Spend lots of money on something you’re being paid a fixed price for, for no real conceivable benefit? Fortunately, both Jordan and Luisa push hard for Back To School, and they get enough support from somewhere else to push it through. Outside Francesca interviews that
whilst she’s not an events organiser she does “supply for events”. Try to make yourself sound less like a drug-dealer love. Incidentally, could they make her chyron any bigger? I feel like one day it’s going to have spawned and go clear off the side of the screen.
Back in the room, theme picked, it’s time to choose some events for this school themed away day :
Rebecca : “WHY NOT WINE TASTING?”
Jordan : “Because it doesn’t fit the theme? At all? Unless we pretend that we’re sneaking it in past the teachers or something stupid like tha…
Rebecca : “What a GREAT IDEA!” *starts pawing at Jordan’s shoulder like a merry pussy-cat*
Jordan : *physically recoils*
Francesca : “I was thinking maybe also chocolate making?”
Luisa : “I DO CLASSES IN CUPCAKE MAKING, WHICH IS, LIKE, EXACTLY THE SAME!”
Mary Berry : *strokes out*
Francesca says that she doesn’t really want the whole day to come across as being DIY and cheap, so she’s not sure whether Luisa’s cupcakes will really fit in (meow), so she’s sending Luisa off to investigate the chocolate making and see what she can do. Luisa pouts that if they let her do cupcake making she will save the team £1000 (and also get a free advert on national television for two of her three businesses). Jordan, entirely without an agenda of course, volunteers to look after the team’s budget, and then, already feeling consumed by the two headed Jorluisa monster, Francesca tells them to SHUT UP.
I think somebody needed a little longer by the pool.
In Evolve Apprenticar B, having requisitioned Jason as her second, Luisa launches into hilariously
unflattering impersonations of Francesca, mostly revolving around what a wishy washy “nice girl” sap she is, whilst Jason nods along happily. Jason seems remarkably good at getting the ear of whatever girl wants to bitch about another girl at any given time, given that two weeks ago he was exactly like this *with* Francesca *against* Luisa. When Luisa starts piping up about how she thrives more with men than women, it’s interesting to reflect that the reverse of that looks like Jason.
Meanwhile, Endeavour are still raking over their theme, like it matters, so long as it’s not “gold-plated doorknobs” or whatever Dr Leah was suggesting. Neil wants “School”, Dr Leah wants “Medieval Majesty”, Neil thinks history is WEW BORIN, Dr Leah thinks it’ll be much easier to find events that fit a historical theme, and so it boils on. Dr Leah calls a vote, loses (oddly enough, Kurt is the one backing her up, which is interesting), but then ploughs on anyway, in the grand tradition of Secret Signals and Melody’s teapot. Dr Leah sends Neil’s subteam (Neil, Alex, Kurt) off to research archery and “lawn games” whilst she goes to meet with the client.
Kaen interviews that
she’s seen Dr Leah in the boardroom before, whinging away that she’s messed up by not following her gut. Well she’s certainly doing that now with her boring theme with no logic behind it that her team hates. I don’t think Kaen likes Dr Leah much. Just a vibe I’m getting.
In Endeavour Apprenticar B, Neil bitches away that Dr Leah ignored his expertise, whilst Alex sighs that Dr Leah is being really selfish by picking something she wants over something the team wants. Because Alex really strikes me as the sort to lead by committee. *snort*
Having got an early start, Francesca is meeting her client, lastminute.com. Doing nothing to disprove Luisa’s impersonation of her
as she does so. The client tells Francesca that their ethos is “5 star experiences at 3 star prices”. Has there ever been a more clear sign to do this event on the cheap? Other than the fact that you’re on The Apprentice? Jordan further extracts from them the ideal goals of improved communication and teamwork and then, on his way out, in the grand tradition of shortarses
almost up-ends himself trying to shake hands over a table. I’ve been there.
12:30pm, and it turns out that Evolve’s fruitless waffling went on far too long, and Dr Leah is now late for her meeting with the client – Barclays Bank’s retail branch.
Dr Leah : “HI THERE! I’M DR LEAH TOTTON! I’M LOOKING FOR AN OOOOOOOOOOOOYOIYYD! OIIIIII YOIII DOOO…on no, wait, wrong task.”
Barclays Bank Boss : “We’ve kind of been waiting for ages?”
Dr Leah : “Oh, yeah, sorry. Erm…really bad traffic and stuff. What would you like from our Away Day?”
Barclays Bank Boss : “We’re implementing a lot of new technology, so we really need our branch managers to improve their listening skills, so they can really hear the branch staff whine and cry when we sack them all off for robots. If this Away Day goes well we’ll implement it for all 35,000 of our staff (LOL LIKE THAT’S HAPPENING!)
Dr Leah : “Oh, cool, erm…our theme is dressing up like Game Of Thrones and playing MAJESTIC croquet!”
Barclays Bank Bitch :
LOL NO THAT SOUNDS STUPID!
Barclays Bank Boss : “Yeah, no, I’m not here to solve this task for you but…definitely not that shit”
Dr Leah : “Oh…ok…erm…bye?”
Barclays Bank Bitch :
*deliberately laughs extremely hard the second Dr Leah steps out the room, so she can hear her*
Dr Leah *outside* : “Wow, I was really surprised by how much those two hate fun! And majesty!”
Unfortunately, whilst this shoeing is going on, Neil is busy negotiating cut-price archery in Hertfordshire with this
Midsomer Murders villain. He gets the price for a day’s archery down from £400 to £320.
Neil : “So the good news is that I, Neil Neckbeard, have just got a great deal on archery for your dumb Medieval theme”
Dr Leah : “Yeah, I’ve changed my mind, we’re doing an army theme now”
At this point, Luisa and Jason are just arriving at the chocolatiers to do research :
Luisa : “HI! I’m just here to find out about stupid chocolate making and shet!”
Chocolatier : “We set people the challenge of making their own chocolates, including their own truffle mix to go with them”
Luisa : “Ohyeahsuperinterestinggreatthanks”
Chocolatier : “Have you ever made chocolates before?”
Luisa : “NO I MAKE CAKES! I HAVE A CAKE SHOP!”
Chocolatier : “Ohreallythatsgreathowcoolforyou”
Jason : “How much do you charge?”
Chocolatier : “It’s £795 for 12 people, and then £70 for each additional person on top of that”
Luisa : “Wow, ok, me and Jason are going to go outside and discuss and be right back!”
Luisa : “Lol what a ho. I’m not paying that. Let’s DO HER”
Jason : *nods along happily”
Luisa : “HI HEATHER! So what we’ve decided is that I’m like you, but fitter, and with cupcakes, so we’re just going to go ahead and have me do a workshop!”
Chocolatier : “Oknoproblem”
Luisa : “How much for a piping bag?”
North London now, and Francesca’s subteam are in a Morrisons, buying food, because apparently catering is a thing that’s happening on this Away Day. Oh for the days of Yasmina. She would have bought 6 packets of own-brand Jammie Dodger knock-offs and had done. Not spent
nigh on £300 on courgettes and napkins. Jordan tries to keep costs down. Rebecca emphatically does not, careening around out of control hurling packets of any old shit into the trolley. Dr Leah meanwhile
is at a Cash N Carry in Hackney. Attagirl. All you need to do now is sand off the “Use By” dates, and you’re away. She stands there, chipping pounds off every single item, before getting a call from Neil.
Dr Leah : “TALK TO MOI!”
Neil : “I’m just a bit concerned that the only activity we’ve got planned is archery. Aren’t people going to be a bit bored? Maybe we could get them to do sumo wrestling?”
Dr Leah : “I’M NOT REALLY IN LOVE WITH THAT IDEA NEIL!”
Kurt : “But all we’ve got is archery!”
Dr Leah : “I DO NOT WANT THE MANAGERS OF BARCLAYS ROLLING AROUND IN SUMO SUITS! IT’S JUST NOT MAJESTIC!”
Alex : “FOR GOD’S BLOODY SAKE DR LEAH, YOU’RE TALKING NONSENSE!”
Dr Leah : “TELL ALEX TO HAVE A WEE BIT OF RESPECT BECAUSE HE’S GETTING RIGHT ON MY TITS, NEIL!”
“Oh God, the shouting’s back” *applies sparkly lipgloss*
Dr Leah : “If the afternoon gets really boring, we can get some sumo suits out but NO WRESTLING. The managers can just stand around…touching one another”.
They do notoriously have some niche sexual fetishes in the military Dr Leah, but…
Alex interviews that Dr Leah is both out of control and “out of her depths”. Quite.
5:30pm now in Kent, and Luisa and Jason are disembarking their Apprenticar to buy corporate team-building bits and bobs.
Why yes, Luisa is trying to do this in heels. Don’t even pretend to look surprised. Needless to say
it doesn’t end well. Except possibly for Jason.
Indoors, Luisa gets this “event” as well as two others, for the knockdown price of £310 (from £350). Jason of course tries to join in negotiations, but Luisa silences him with a gentle tap on the elbow and a discrete look, rather than by screaming “SHUT UP YOU STUPID CUNT!” at him. Funny that.
9pm now, and both subteams are arriving back at the Apprentice Mansion, to be reunited with the main teams.
What a heartwarming reunion. It’s like when the rest of Steps saw H coming. Meanwhile, Dr Leah’s returning subteam greet her by saying that they just want to get some things off their chest before the next day, so they can all move on together in the spirit of harmony. These things are “Dr Leah sucks”, “Dr Leah has no focus”, “Dr Leah can’t take advice” and “Dr Leah sucks”.
Glad we’ve got that sorted then.
Once everyone’s got themselves reacquainted, discussion on Evolve turns to getting a motivational speaker in. Rebecca wants to spend £600 on getting a professional in, whilst Luisa and Jordan think they should just do it themselves for nothing. Francesca and Rebecca both argue that you need to pay cash to put on a quality event so the client won’t ask for a refund and whilst I’m with them…maybe not £600 worth on one speaker? That they’re probably hiring blind. Especially as all the candidates are going to be hitting the “inspiring business talks” circuit the second they get fired. Might as well get some practice in now. As if to prove this point, over on Endeavour, Neil inveigles his way into the public speaking role by saying “I coached some football once”. £600 of value right there, FOR FREE.
9am, and Endeavour are arriving in Hertfordshire, where Dr Leah’s military themed away day will take shape. By which I mean Neil and Myles’ military themed away day, as they have seized control of logistics and are planning the day’s timetable out, with no input from their Project Manager. They stick Natalie and Kurt in the kitchen, to cook up the food. The two of them both agree, amongst themselves, that food is THE key element of the day, and truly their ability to cut carrots is what will carry the day. Don’t stop believing, I guess.
Meanwhile, 5 miles away, are Evolve. Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that they’re setting the stage for their school themed away day.
Is it a school for drag queens? Nick saunters up to a prop and asks Rebecca how much they cost.
They cost £300. Hold the bloody boardroom right there and then, that’s what I say. Jordan is attending to some sort of flickering faux flame effect machine, then starts gooning about with it and asking Luisa is it looks like he’s getting BURNT AT THE STAKE LOL!
No Jordan, it looks like you’re trying to get off on a swimming pool extractor fan. Quit it.
In the kitchen for Evolve?
What a surprise. Rebecca sets Jason to work peeling carrots. Rebecca actually announces to camera that she sincerely believes this to be the best possible use of her skills on this particular task. I mean…that’s just sad.
11am, and the delegates are arriving for both teams, 16-a-piece. Immediately it becomes obvious how Endeavour’s theme is going to help them, as they get to bark orders and get all “CALL ME SERGEANT NEIL!” from the off, providing the minimum of creature comforts, whilst Francesca flutters around Evolve like the head of the PTA, plying everyone with choccy biccies and tea.
Then this happens :
Neil : “I want to introduce you to somebody now, who makes me feel very nervous. CORPORAL!”
This One Woman From Barclays : BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Alex : “Firstly, I have got you cadets privileged access to my own Officers Club”
Don’t worry love. I don’t think women are going to be allowed in.
Alex then of course makes everyone march up and down outside, whilst yelling at them, whilst dressed as the laziest member of KISS.
Back on Evolve, they’re still just handing out tea and coffee.
This poor guy has absolutely no idea what’s going on at all. Luisa interviews that Francesca should probably get the actual day’s events started soon. Whatever they might be. Wine tasting, cupcake making and stomping around on slats. Oh and 100% bona fide content free waffle-speeches.
Francesca : “We really really wanted to get across to you today the feeling of communication, teamwork, motivation and taking you all as separates and individuals, taking the best elements from those and moving you forward to the one goal, which is either success at work, success in yourselves, or just success in life. And happiness”
She then goes off on a tangent, saying she wants to bring everyone back to their school days, so that they can remember what inspired them as kids. She personally was inspired by wanting to be a policewoman. Which…she isn’t now but…certainly it was…erm…an inspiration to erm…stuff. I mean, I can appreciate what she’s trying to do, which is an angle on “Back To School” that actually means something beyond running round with a sausage on a fork yelling “LOL, REMEMBER GRANGE HILL!” but she’s not pulling it off at all.
Meanwhile, over on Endeavour, Neil is directing everyone through a series of cheap garden games, like croquet and boules, but with a corporate twist. The corporate twist is that people are working in teams of two, but one person has their eyes shut. That’s right, Dr Leah isn’t even springing for blindfolds. Admirable stuff. Meanwhile of course, Alex walks around aimlessly yelling at clouds. Ah, the Welsh military. Myles meanwhile is
as seductive as ever. Neil Clough interviews that
oops, it looks like Neil Clough is pretty hot shit yet again. Neil Clough. Dr Leah?
Not exactly in the thick of things. Rest assured
Kaen is on to this trick.
At this point…it starts to rain. Heavily. Alex shouts at everyone some more, and Dr Leah runs around in circles trying to think what to do. That’s indoors. THAT ISN’T BLOODY SUMO.
5 miles away…it’s not raining. And lastminute.com are
finally out of that marquee, and waddling around, whilst Luisa yells at them to COMMUNICATE MORE! TALK TO ONE ANOTHER! SLAG OFF THE WOMEN ON THE OTHER PLANKS! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO! THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS! TRY TO PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVELY DESTROY THE OTHER TEAM MORE! MAYBE TRY SANDBAGGING THE PERSON BEHIND YOU BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT SHOWING YOU ENOUGH RESPECT! ACCUSE SOMEONE OF BEING RACIST! AND REMEMBER TO THANK ME FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!
Everyone larks around pulling happy faces and falling over and I feel like the bar is being set *really* low for this team’s expectations of itself.
12:45pm and on Endeavour, everyone’s just sitting around looking sad as it pours it down outside and Natalie hands out coffee. A few of the Barclays people agree amongst themselves that there’s obviously been no contingency plan made in case it rains.
With nothing left to do, Dr Leah is forced to implement Plan…somewhere beyond a place that letters of the alphabet can reach.
Good grief. An attempt is made to tie this into a theme of “conflict resolution”. Don’t ask me to repeat how. Dr Leah asks all of the attendees, who work together, to talk about their experience of conflict in the workplace.
Not really thought this through has she? Then Neil and Myles run in, bounce off one another a few times
then they’re finished, then they run out again. Dr Leah says she’s going to run through some strategies with the attendees to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. I’d be up for it. Outside, Myles and Neil wonder together how any of this has anything to do with business. I don’t know either Neil, but it’s been running for 9 series now so…
Lunchtime now, and dinner is served. Rebecca and Jason’s school dinners seem to go down well. Endeavour’s fare…less so.
Natalie : “THIS GUY HASN’T EVEN TOUCHED HIS MASHED POTATO KURT!”
Kurt : “Oh well”
Natalie : “HE’S MISSING OUT!”
Kurt : *utter bored silence*
2:30pm now, and lunch is over. Time for the afternoon’s events to begin. Starting with wine-tasting with Rebecca and Jason.
Which, let’s face it, is a BBC 2 afternoon programme just waiting to happen. They both discuss between them who is going to do the “waffle” and ultimately they decide that they’ll both do it, and “make it comedy”. Like they have any choice in the matter. Sadly, we are denied Jason’s Jilly Goolden impersonation, which is a shame, because there’s an
Oz stood right there. Alongside Incidental Character Boyfriend Of The Week, Robert The lastminute.com corporate manager.
Jason : “So there’s a LOW quality wine, a MEDIUM quality wine, and a HIGH quality wine, and your job is to tell us which one is which”
lastminute.com Corporate Type : “So, at the end, are you going to tell us how to tell a good wine from a bad wine?”
Rebecca : “It’s not so much that we’re wine connoisseurs, it’s more that we know how much this shit cost, so we know which is the best quality, because the more things cost, the better they are”
*shovels nibbles into gob*
Nobody, unfathomably : “Hey, remember how we described our corporate ethos as being how you can provide a really top quality service for really low prices, and that we fundamentally reject the idea that the higher prices market forces set for things the better they are?”
Rebecca : “It’s to link in to your company, which is…I know, erm…you provide five star events and erm…”arrangements” with different costs. So it’s to do with costing and quality.”
Nick : *shovels more nibbles into gob*
Whilst half the team are stuck swilling down Morrisons own-brand £1 a bottle lighter fluid, the other half are doing cupcake decorating with Luisa.
This mostly consists of her yelling “GET CREATIVE!” at them, like she’s her own one-woman Occupy Chichester and they’re all going to abandon their corporate shackles and sign up for Luisa’s Wacky World Of Cupcakes. *SQUEAL*. Also it consists of her mocking them to their faces for their crappy cupcakes because…this IS Luisa. She’s just being real. The head of lastminutecom interviews that all the day’s activities have been a lot of fun but…he doesn’t really get why they’re doing them? Or where the supposed “Back To School” theme has disappeared off to. Don’t worry, boss of lastminute.com, Francesca is about to explain.
lastminute.com man : “Sorry, what’s the point of any of this?”
Francesca *verbatim* : “It’s all about experience, you know. At the end of the day, that’s what you guys supply. So for you to have all different types of experiences and working out how things are relative to you, again, the communication, the creativity, the collaboration…all those things really come together and make one end product”
Back over at the wine-tasting, Jason’s been keeping track of the scores.
Oh dear. Turns out he’s forgotten which wine is good and which wine is bad and who’s said what and tum ti tum EVERYBODY WINS.
Back on Endeavour it’s stopped raining and the fresh-faced, eager
ready-to go Barclays execs are taken outside to do some archery. Everyone picks up their bows and starts pinging away. Kaen rather
blissfully interviews that Neil and Myles have really worked out how each task can be used to meet the client’s brief about helping their executives with their communication and listening skills. Apparently in the case of the archery task they’re doing this by…walking around asking people about their communication and listening skills. Wow, they ARE good.
5:15pm now, and it’s time for the motivational speakers. We see about 10 seconds of each speech, but lord knows that won’t stop everyone weighing in with their tuppence about who was CLEARLY better. The professional on Evolve jerks around like a bad Tony Blair impersonator. Neil meanwhile tells everyone about how he draws his inspiration and strength from how he responded to his dad dying of cancer when Neil was 18. It’s so odd seeing normal people (you know, ish) watching this sort of speech, rather than jaded cynical reality tv addicts, who greet this sort of thing with universal derision. Maybe we all learnt a little something her today about opening our hearts and underst…nah.
Rebecca interviews that she thinks their day went reasonably well.
Sure you do Rebecca. Sure you do. Time for feedback.
“I really liked the motivational speaker, he was amazing, and the best part of the day”
“Well that was stupid, but at least I got to be on tv”
“Mmmm, Sergeant Neil. He can drill my privates any day, if you know what I mean *wink*”
The day ends with Alex getting everyone to give “the catering team” a round of applause
No, really, don’t. The satisfaction of making lumpy mashed potato is, in itself, praise enough. Back in the kitchen, Neil (now fully Project Manager by the looks of it) tells his team that it would take something “truly remarkable” for Endeavour to beat them on this task. Yeah, “basic competence” would be pretty remarkable on this show let’s face it.
AWAY DAYING ENDS!
Even when you know Dr Leah’s Boardroom hair is coming, it’s still kind of terrifying. Lordalan finishes getting Yasmina and Simon Ambrose to try to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture whilst blindfolded and handcuffed together whilst Lee Mcqueen shouts instructions (“LEE MACQUEEN SAYS GO LEFT! LEFT! INSERT SCREW INTO SLOT B COUNTER CLOCKWISE! NO! COUNTER CLOCKWISE! OH LEE MCQUEEN GIVE UP. YASMINA NO CAN FOLLOW BASIC INSTRUCTIONS! MAKE LEE MCQUEEN CROSS. APPRENTICE CANDIDATE AWAY DAY RUINED FOREVER!” *sad Hulk music plays as Lee McQueen walks away*) and enters.
We start with Endeavour, and Lordalan asks Dr Leah if she found the task easy going. She says “no” and then
tries to do some sort of self-deprecating smile. Ah well. She starts off by outlining the brainstorming, which she thinks was “very organised”. Neil disagrees – he thinks Dr Leah should have just agreed with him, because he’d been to a school-themed away day before and found it really enjoyable. Dr Leah says that she wanted to go with something more classic and majestic. I have no idea what Dr Leah’s fixation with the word “majestic” is about, but it’s starting to unnerve me. Anyway, Neil brings up that Dr Leah called a vote, and lost it, and then ignored the outcome completely and just ploughed on with what she wanted to do anyway.
Of course the irony here is that if Dr Leah HAD paid attention to the vote, they wouldn’t have got the Back To School theme anyway, because the producers never let the teams do events with the same theme because it makes for bad tv. So they would have done military as a theme in the end anyway. Woo.
Anyway, Kaen backs up Neil on how Dr Leah was simultaneously indecisive and pig-headed and also did she mention that Dr Leah was late for her meeting with the client
all whilst puffing herself up like Bonnie Crane : Girl Attorney. Like I said, no love lost there. Kaen further rakes up the fact that it was the CEO of Barclays Bank Dr Leah snubbed and
Luisa and Rebecca both mug away in their respective styles. Kaen then rolls FURTHER ONWARDS by telling Dr Leah that her medieval theme was completely half-arsed and Dr Leah admits that it wasn’t the most fully developed idea that she’d ever read off a piece of paper given to her by the producers, no. Dr Leah goes on to point out that she learnt from the client that he didn’t really want a “Fun Day”, so Neil’s choice of dressing up like tarty schoolgirls and doing an egg and spoon race wouldn’t have gone down MUCH better. Which is a fair point.
Lordalan goes on to say that he’s decided that Dr Leah is indecisive, so he wouldn’t want her to be his GP because she’d probably take a vote and give him an enema or SUMFIN HURR HURR. Dr Leah tries to make her point that if she’d been decisive and stuck with a theme the client didn’t want, she would definitely have lost. Lordalan’s not hearing it. He goes on to ask Dr Leah how she put on a military theme at this last minute then.
Dr Leah : “We put Alex in a sergeant-major role”
Alex *deadpan* : “Colonel”
Kaen goes on to say that she personally found Alex a bit pantomime, and Alex replies that the theme was so “dishevelled” that it needed a strong central unifying element to pull it all together. Unifying in the “gales of laughter” sense I guess. Lordalan asks Dr Leah what the business points behind the theme was, and Dr Leah sarcily replies that they did “conflict resolution and how not to resolve it by wrestling in sumo suits”. Lordalan disbelievingly asks if they REALLY used sumo suits and Dr Leah smirks
“yup”. I really would have enjoyed her and Neil tearing chunks out of one another in the boardroom. You can tell they’re just DYING to. Meanwhile Jordan just
smirks, looking like something unpleasant out of a Dick Tracy whilst he does so.
Evolve are delt with next, and Francesca outlines how she split the team up, with Rebecca and Jason as the “hospitality” team and Jordan and Luisa as the “periodically sneaking off for a grope round the back of the bike sheds” team. Or, in the case of Jordan’s school the “periodically sneaking off for a grope round the back of the pottery studios” team. Francesca smiles that she did let Rebecca and Jason “out of the dungeons” to do the wine tasting and
Jason and Rebecca’s individual responses to this “joke” are…indicative, I think. Lordalan splutters at the idea of WINE TASTING as part of a SCHOOL THEME. I have fond memories of the 7th series of American reality cooking competition “Top Chef” when Amanda (who was my favourite for reasons that only this picture can truly capture, responded to a “healthy eating in America’s schools” challenge by making a bunch of 11 year olds Sherry Chicken. Francesca carries on by saying that Luisa was responsible for a cupcake decorating class.
Lordalan asks how the day was supposed to be inspiring, and Jordan lies that every part of the day delivered on the brief given by the client. They improved communication, creativity and collaboration amongst the workers of lastminute.com. Did you bollocks Jordan. Throwing mini marshmallow at a cupcake base does not “improve communication, creativity and collaboration”. We then briefly cover the inspirational speaker of the day, with Rebecca saying that she pushed very strongly for the team to hire a professional, because she knew none of them had the expertise to give an inspirational speech. I mean…none of the team had the expertise to organise a corporate away day either (CLEARLY) but yet here we are.
“Goodteamleader?” gets a positive response from Rebecca, and a negative one from Jordan and Luisa, unsurprisingly. Indeed, Francesca mutters “surprise surprise” under her breath.
Very much the new Cilla.
Endeavour were paid £5000 for their event, spent £2171, and were asked for a £1250 refund because there was no rainy day contingency plan and the structure of the event collapsed when the weather turned sour, meaning a profit of £1578
Evolve were paid £5000 for the their event, spent £2665, and were asked for a £1250 refund because they were felt there was an almost complete lack of business sense in anything the team did, meaning a profit of £1096.
Dr Leah looks utterly non-plussed and Lordalan grins at her that he bets she’s wondering how she managed to win this one. Dr Leah is all
“HA HA HA HA YEAH!” in response, so Kaen decides to swoop in and announce that it was all because of Neil because Neil is amazing. Lordalan tells Dr Leah that she needs to thank Neil for delivering this win for her, and Dr Leah looks like she’d rather forcibly ingest elephant scrotum.
Which is just one of the treatments at the FABULOUS SPA that Lordalan is sending them to for their treat. Woo!
NATALIE IS EXCITED!
As they leave, Francesca congratulates Dr Leah on her victory, and she slopes off, with the Endeavour Cool Boys Club
all backslap like an episode of LA Law behind her. I see Alex has solved the problem of his lack of understanding of tie pins by tucking. That’s not much better Alex. Back in the room, Lordalan tells Evolve to go away and think about what they’ve done, because AT LEAST one of them is getting fired. Mindful of a potential BOARDROOM MASSACRE, and aware of Zeeshaan’s most fatal error last week
Jordan makes sure to get his groundwork in.
TO THE SPA!
Well there’s an image. Alex reveals to his beauty therapist that it’s been WEEKS since he got his eyebrows done, and he’s been tweezing them ever since. The indignities this show puts its participants through sometimes… From the sidelines Neil chirps “THEY’VE JUST TAKEN ONE OFF!”. If only. Meanwhile
Natalie has leeches applied to her and
guess who parks themselves front and centre for the climactic semi-naked shot. OH MYLES. Never change. Or, change often, with a camera watching you whilst you do so.
I love that they just did this treat, which is always just an excuse to see the candidates in their pants, on THIS series, where they can’t keep their flipping shirts ON. I guarantee Myles is going to be hanging out of one of those mobile homes in a thong next week, all “LOOK HOW CASUAL AND HOMELY THEY ARE!”.
To Loser Cafe now, where Jordan has decided that if they hadn’t spent £600 on a motivational speaker and just done it themselves, they would have won the task.
He goes on to say that this decision was made by Rebecca and Francesca, so it’s all their fault nurr-nurr-nurr. Francesca snorts at him to please “stop passing the buck”. Not that shit again, PLEASE. Outside, Francesca
like she’s in a wind tunnel, snaps that Jordan is a TURNCOAT who has stabbed her in the back. I am mystified that she thinks it was ever not entirely transparent whose team he was on all along. Meanwhile
Luisa is off interviewing about how Francesca should be fired because she’s a homeschooled jungle freak, that’s a less hot version of her. To close out this rather fruitless Loser Cafe session, Francesca says
“If I’m going down, I’ll go down in flames, but at least I’m DECISIVELY in flames”. Quoting Joan of Arc. How inspiring.
Once the candidates are seated, Lordalan reminds them at the outset he told them that this was to be a business function for business people to do business things. Well! He’s read the comments and the business people of lastminute.com thinks that Francesca was trying to take them for mugs. The day started off with a school theme, and after that it was BLAG after BLAG after BLAG.
Francesca : “I felt like it was a professional event! The main thing was to collaborate together to move towards one goal”
Lordalan : “And the cupcake piping and whine guzzling led towards that goal…how exactly?”
Francesca : “With the cupcakes, we wanted to concentrate on the creativity of each person and once each person puts that creative input in, when they all come together they put that together, that can create something great at the end of it, like the Megazord of cupcakes or whatever”
Francesca : “It takes everyone’s input to make one thing happen!”
“Oh sweetheart just stop it, you’re embarrassing yourself. Nobody’s buying this shit”.
You know who used to speak like this ALL THE TIME? Miriam. Which is why I was never on that particular bandwagon. Francesca just mutters “ok” and looks sad that her love of generic beige corporate bollocks hasn’t won Lordalan over. Poor Francesca. Sometimes it’s hard to be a corporate on this show.
Lordalan drives home his point that the cupcakes and wine tasting were totally inappropriate for the event they were holding. Unlike, you know, archery. Francesca protests that she was fought all the way on them, and then Luisa chirps in that Francesca really wanted to do chocolate making instead of cupcake making, but Luisa saved the team £1000 by doing it herself and making it cupcakes! Francesca protests that she didn’t *really* want to do chocolate, but goes no further explaining it, because the edit swings a great big rusty blade at her neck.
Next up, Lordalan wants to BREAK DOWN THE NUMBERS. He tells them that they lost by £500, and that their speaker cost them £600 when they could quite easily have done it themselves. So he’s decided that’s why they lost. And he hears that Rebecca
who can see this coming a mile off, is responsible. Rebecca’s defence is that she said that she thought it would be a good idea to have a motivational speaker yes, but whilst she’s heard from Jordan and Luisa since the task finished that they thought they would have done an equally good job, neither of them volunteered. Rebecca goes on to say that she thinks Jordan is quite intelligent
(*smug face smug face*) and would have backed him to be their speaker, if he’d offered. Jordan and Luisa both protest that they SO DID VOLUNTEER, with Francesca backing up Rebecca’s version of events.
Francesca at this point decides to fire all her guns at Luisa at once, bringing up how Luisa told her that she hated the corporate world and everybody in it and on that token WHERE DOES SHE THINK SHE IS?
Erm…a game show?
Lordalan asks Luisa what she means by this, and she says that she doesn’t like the corporate world, because it’s full of empty words, just like the shit that Francesca was shovelling all day. At this point Francesca is
actually baring her teeth. She tells Luisa that she’s saying that she hates corporate people in front of three corporate leaders, WHAT DOES SHE THINK SHE’S DOING? LOL at the idea that Lordalan is ever going to self-identify as “corporate”. He hates that stuff. He’s a down-to-earth plain speaking son of the soil etc etc. Luisa protests that Lordalan, Nick and Kaen aren’t corporate because they don’t talk a load of CRAP like what Francesca does.
Kaen snarls that Luisa might find this a rough attitude when she finds herself in a bank asking for a loan.
We move on to props next, as Lordalan asks Francesca who spent the £300 on pink flamingos and paper flames and all that shit. Francesca, very firmly, says that she did. Lordalan asks Jordan why he, as financial director, didn’t stop this overspend, and he says that he tried, but Francesca and Rebecca were just too invested in splurging money everywhere.
Lordalan : “Are you a waste of space Jason?”
Jason : “Who me?”
Lordalan : “I mean you seem nice enough and all that”
Jason : “You’re very kind, thank you” *bats eyelids a la Princess Diana*
Lordalan : “Problem is I’m not just looking for a nice enough fellow who’s crap at business. That was two years ago, I aint doing it again”
Jason : “Fine, erm, Francesca was crap and if I’d been Project Manager we would have won, because stuff. The brief and so on. I did what I could when tasked with chopping carrots and leading a “wine tasting in a school”.
Lordalan : A WINE TASTING IN A SCHOOL! I’D FORGOTTEN THAT! WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT?”
Luisa *quick as a flash” : “REBECCA!”
Rebecca protests that it wasn’t HER IDEA, she just SUGGESTED it, like she SUGGESTED that pub in the arsecrack of nowhere in Task 2 by jabbing her finger at it and yelling THAT ONE. It was just a hint. A tip. A mere throwaway notion.
Time to decide who is coming back to the Boardroom. Lordalan gets very jabby with Francesca,
and tells her to not just bring back Luisa because she hates her. Francesca then brings back Luisa, because she hates her. Oh, and Rebecca, who she apologises to profusely beforehand. Luisa squeaks her protestations, saying that this is personal and tactical and also just RUDE.
Candidates go out, Kaen says that she senses real animosity between Francesca and Luisa
just a vibe she’s getting, don’t know why, call it businesswoman intuition or something, but she thinks that there’s a definite slight tinge of dislike there, candidates come back in again.
We start with Francesca being asked why Luisa has been brought back to the boardroom over Jordan, who was in charge of finance, and Jason who…is Jason. Francesca says it’s because Luisa doesn’t like the corporate world and she feels like her attitude was obvious on the task. That is…up there with the lamest reasons ever for bringing somebody back to the boardroom. I mean…why not just say it’s because she’s missing her kids and punch the full ticket.
Luisa reiterates that what she dislikes about the corporate world is embodied in Francesca’s piss-poor speechifying and hollow gestures. Lordalan asks her if she ever regrets the things she says, and Luisa
lies her face off and says of course she does. Sometimes she thinks she speaks before she thinks. And then she says that she thinks that she speaks before she thinks. And then…well you get the picture. Lordalan snarks that she clearly WRITES before she thinks based on her RAYZOOMAY where she she talks about how if you push her and push her and push her she will flip and…I don’t know, stab you to death with a nail file or something. *shrug*
Lordalan says that he’s a bit worried about entrusting a business with Luisa, because she seems to alienate people. Luisa protests that she’s not difficult to work with!
So long as you’ve got a penis! Rebecca mutters that she finds Luisa obstinate and argumentative, and Luisa flounces that she’s just too real for women to work with, because she doesn’t “flower around them”, and this is why she works better with men. She thinks women just pigeonhole her because of her looks, whereas men TRULY RESPECT HER AND LOOK PAST THEM I’M SURE.
Lordalan tells Luisa that he doesn’t mind her “argumentative nature”, so long as she talks sense. Because an argumentative nature can mean one of two things. Either that you’re a pain in the arse, or everyone around you doesn’t have a clue. Well…on this show it’s normally both, but he’s got a point. Luisa pips up that she thinks in this case it’s because Francesca didn’t have a clue, and that the failure was down to her, and particularly her overspending on the motivational speaker and the wine tasting and the props and so on. Lordalan tells Francesca that she can’t really argue with that and so Francesca…doesn’t. She just tells Luisa to stop shouting and says that she doesn’t think she personally could have delivered a motivational speech to top-end management.
Luisa : “Effing NEIL managed to do it, how hard can it be?”
Lordalan does his usual at this point and, having consistently asked the other two candidates about the other two candidates, turns to the third one and says “well YOU’RE being very quiet!”. Rebecca just mutters
“it’s a very high pressure situation”, voice quavering ever so slightly, eyes bleary, licking her lips. Yeah, I think she’s finally cracked. She tells Lordalan that she has her feet firmly planted in reality, and she knows she has the skills to be Lordalan’s business partner. Mmm hmmm.
Francesca is shoved into the limelight to beg first, and she says that she is always professional and fair, and that Lordalan’s investment would change her life. Luisa is next up and says she should stay for her proven track record of starting companies and making them a success, and she don’t even care that SOME PEOPLE can’t handle her. Lordalan asks Luisa who should be fired, she says that both of the other two suck and she can’t decide between them.
Both Francesca (screwing up the task) and Luisa (for generally being a pain in the bum) get a fire-teasing but in the end it’s
Rebecca who takes the bullet, for “just being a saleswoman”. Rebecca goes out to the sofas and twitches.
Luisa gets an official warning, but also kind of excused for “just being 25” and both she and Francesca are sent off to alternately be hugged
and not hugged
In her Cab Of Shame Rebecca
comes across like a normal person, like the twitching paranoid weepy loon that she’s been ever since that early boardroom took the wind out of her sails has been exorcised. Which is the important thing. Certainly more than anything she says which is the usual “I’m so sorry Lordalan never got to see the best of me” guff.
Back at the house, Jason is merrily gossiping about how two people are DEFINITELY leaving because “Lu” embarassed herself SO badly OMG
it was just so like CRINGE. Meanwhile Jordan thinks that Francesca is leaving. However Jordan is
wearing jorts, so his opinion on anything right now is to be discounted. Anyway, Luisa and Francesca return, and Luisa tells everyone that Lordalan gave her a good drilling.
Next week :
CARAVANS OF THE FUTURE!