INTERVIEWS! This year they’re being carried out by Claude (investigating the business plans), Ant (doing general business stuff), Margaret (reading out people’s CV, this show’s equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel), and new interviewer, Brownie Reporter Claudine (asking about people’s dead dads and trying to find out if they love their nans and are nice to puppies and stuff). I’m not sure if she’s a step up from Dec or not, but at least she’s less full of herself and doesn’t make anybody do the elevator pitch.
Francesca : Francesca puts in a classic “comes across as a nice person, not so much the business” interviews performance. Charms everyone with her plain-speaking and fairness, doesn’t so much fill them with confidence with the fact that it turns out that she’s completely made up all of the numbers for her existing businesses based on literally nothing other than which ones sounds nicest. Five million. That’s a nice number isn’t it? LOTS OF MARGINS FOR EVERYONE! The main story for Francesca though is really that she spends the entire episode gradually building up to calling Luisa out for everything she’s done throughout the process, only to muff it entirely by winding up saying “Luisa was horrible in the beginning but I guess now she’s sort of alright I guess at this stage fine”. If you’re going to knife someone Francesca, don’t use a spork. She goes out in third place.
Jordan : Anyone hoping that last week was only the set-up for a GLORIOUS VOMIT-FREE COMEBACK this week are going to be disappointed. Yes, his utter collapse continues apace, starting with a light grilling from Margaret, proceeding through a truly arse-puckering experience with Ant, wherein Jordan is forced to do a Rubik’s Cube at gunpoint, and finally a brief drive-by pissing-off (with air quotes) of Claudine before it all culminates in Claude screaming in his face that he is a DIRTY PARASITE and he’s not even going to bother interviewing him. Needless to say, he is fired out of a cannon into the sun at the first opportunity, choking and half-crying and pouting. It’s probably the least dignified exit at interviews ever, which is quite sad, because let’s face it, he deserved better than Jamie Lester got at the very least.
Dr Leah : Starts off by telling Ant in (unnecessarily blunt) detail about all the plastic surgery she’d give him, and then only gets more awesome from there. Utterly disarms Claude by reeling off a full list of her business costings (including an offer to do all her own cleaning), owns the final Boardroom preamble, gets a minimal frisking from Margaret. The worst that happens is that treehouse reporter Claudine thinks she’s a “bit cold” (who cares?) and Lordalan has ethical misgivings about the fact that he’s going to be buying into the Botox business. She’s the first to be put into the final, and at this point I would be betting on her to pull off the final victory. Hopefully at which point she will turn to Luisa and say “NO OFFENCE LOVE, BUT I’M THE APPRENTICE!”. Full circle, innit?
Luisa : Luisa is pretty much the voice of the Interviews process, by which I mean she sits there in the atrium giggling in everyone’s face when things go wrong for them “being sympathetic” in the least sympathetic way possible. Oh and talking about how her old boss was an idiot. So expect THAT interview in the Daily Star come Saturday. Her business plan turns out to be a GIANT BAKERY and it also turns out to be…quite badly written. Fortunately the power of Luisa’s ever-flapping gob comes in handy for once as she just about manages to take the edges off and put the thing forward convincingly. She makes the final, just about, making the Final Two officially a battle of LUISA VS BOTOX. Good luck selling that one to The Daily Mail.
Neil : Which just leaves us with Neil. Who is this year’s Helen, it turns out. He charms the interviewers, he’s given notice that he’s the one who’s done best in the tasks, he gets his sympathetic back story pulled out again by Bella Magazine’s Claudine Collins (much to his incredibly obvious discomfort), and finally he gets told that if this show was taking place under the old format, he definitely would have won the job. Unfortunately for Neil though, he actually has to have a business plan, and his revolves around everyone wanting to make the process of moving house THAT MUCH MORE STRESSFUL by taking on full responsibility for selling the thing themselves. All of the interviewers tell him it’s not going to work, and his only response is “yes it will”. Turns out Neil spent too much time playing football and not enough time at debate club. Actually scratch that, there’s no such thing as “not spending enough time at Debate Club”. He’s out in fourth, with regret from the entire panel.
Next week : Luisa, Jason, Zeeshaan, and Natalie are all on the same team (OH THE HUMANITY) ; Francesca does a dance, Luisa has a nervous breakdown ; UZMA DONE A BOTOX ; and quite feasibly it all ends with Lordalan saying “Do you know what? I can’t handle the potential controversy so I’m picking Luisa”.
Should be a good’un.