The Apprentice 11 – Week 6 : Handy Man

The complete lack of effort that continues to go into coming up with these episode titles sustains me.

Phone Answering Wars With early leader Natalie safely bumped off it was time to see who could lurch out of the shadows and position themselves on the first rung of the leaderboard.

It was David. As if in honour of his semi-nudity, the Disembodied Voice asked him to meer her in Balham, wearing a hi vis jacket and steel toe-capped boots. Kinky. Although Brett sadly brought us back down to Earth by pointing out that the task was probably not in fact going to be about Lordalan’s Secretary’s Filthy Sex Fantasies, but rather “making something or constructioning”. As opposed to “destructioning”, which is what Brett just did to the English language. This put our leaderboard so far as :

Natalie : 2
Joseph : 1
Charleine : 1
David : 1

Oh and Elle

is officially over this now. If these relentless early morning shots of Elle (that really could have been used for more early morning word-a-day bon mots from Sam let’s be honest) (shirt optional) show anything it’s one woman’s gradual disintegration. And we’re about to witness the last string holding her together severed. Most of the early morning chatter amongst the men was about how at this point she’s the only remaining candidate not to have won a task but as she’s “in construction” this might finally be her day. Elle herself meanwhile was

more concerened about the mingin’ shoes they were going to make her wear. Shipped in obviously, you wouldn’t expect any of these women to have brought steel-capped boots with them. Except maybe Selina. Sometimes those pedestrians will just not GET OUT OF THE WAY! Mergim meanwhile, sat at the other end of the spectrum results wise, crowed in the Powerbottom Apprenticar about how when he first arrived, everyone (including the Casting Department) probably thought he was a Comedy Candidate, and yet he’s still here in Week 6. He then unleashed his Reality TV Backstory (fled war in Albania in the back of a van, came to the UK, and single-handedly supported his entire family of 7 whilst also going to school), tipping us the nod that he probably wasn’t going to be here much longer than week 6. Sudden airtime on these shows is DEATH.

A Man, A Plan, A Van, Anal…no I’ve lost it Incidentally, I tried calling

this number, and Claude picked up and asked me what I was wearing and then I put the phone down again. Scary times. Unusually, this builders yard was not a trick location, and teams were not tasked with starting a pop-up restaurant coz “Hi Vis” sounds a bit like “Ivy’s” and The Ivy is a restaurant what where all the cool celebs like Sadie Frost and Linda Evangelista and Michaela Strachan go. Nope, this was going to be as complicated and involved a constructioning task as you could feasibly do with a bunch of Apprentice candidates. That’s right, it was Bob-A-Job Week! Teams had to go out and do bits of basic DIY for the masses, with the team who made the biggest profit over two days winning. And with a multitude of candidates apparently with expertise in this area (Joseph, Elle, Brett) Lordalan couldn’t resist sticking his fat thumbs in, making Brett Chief Sugababe and porting Elle over to Team Powerbottom to steer them. Now these two have both led subteams before, with Brett’s stint in charge of the Fish Lunch kitchen subteam marked by over-zealous barking without consideration for the skill level of others and an obsession with quality that hampered smooth production, and Elle’s on the British Ten Items task marked by…being a complete mess to be honest. So let’s see if they’ve learned and changed their styles (lol).

Elle On Wheels : Elle’s stint as Project Manager began with two choice quotes

“I may not know how to build a house, but I definitely know how to order other people around to build it for me” (“You there! Put the chimney on the top! Good man! Now put a door in the front and we’re done!”)

“I don’t think you actually need to know anything in order to be good at your job”

It really shouldn’t still tickle me that people go on television and actually say these things, but here we are, 11 series of people not listening to the words coming out of their own mouths, and I still find it amusing. Having just admitted that she knows literally nothing about anything, Elle latched on to Joseph’s construction background and Mergim’s history of washing windows, and immediately abdicated all responsibility to them, spending the rest of the task rummaging around in her bag trying to find that tiara she had last week that was super cute, she hopes Sam didn’t NICK IT, the great big GRIMER, now where is it, she knows it’s in here some…

oh shit sorry guys, never mind, we’ve missed the deadline for getting flyers printed oh well I take complete responsibility let’s move on. (Fortunately Mergim was on hand to scribble on a loose notepad page in biro, who needs a professional flyer?

Almost better than the real thing)

This Week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend :

Lee The Theatre Manager, apparently for a theatre for dwarves which needed its dressing room refitted, which was one half of the “commercial contracts” on offer for the teams on this task. Both teams were required to pitch their services to yet more poor small businesses what Lordalan had sat on, the other being a local football club that needed its stands power-washing. Just so both team could be guaranteed to have something meaty to do (and potentially screw up) beyond cleaning out gutters and sweeping floors. Sadly, whilst you’d think Sam would thrive being bent double hammering away backstage at a small theatre, the Sugababes were left all at sea when he was asked, after much barking of “NUMBER 7 MARINE 4 PLY 6 BY 7 HEAVY WASH DOWLING JOINT FINISH SCREWTIPS” from Brett, to provide a quote, and came up with something from Henry IV Pt 2.
[*insert Holly Valance hand here*]
Oh alright not really, as usual on this sort of negotiation it was entirely about which team undercut the other, with The Sugababes winning the football job by offering a £481 quote compared to Team Powerbottom’s £500 and Team Powerbottom winning the theatre after their initial offer of £560 was chivvied down via Lee’s and Richard’s combined negotiation skills :

Lee: Your price is considerably high
Ricahrd : What would help us win the job?
Lee : It being considerably lower

to £375. Compared to Brett’s offer of £877. I think Sam possibly wanted to put in a full lighting rig and water effects for a live action production of Snottydink The Musical. As such, both Team Powerbottom and The Sugababes had guaranteed work for Day 2 of the task! Hooray!

For Want Of A Screw : Whilst the PM teams got on with negotiating big jobs, it was up to the subteams (April, Mergim and Charleine vs Gary, Scott & Vana) to do busy work for the day and distribute their flyers(/scribbles on notepad paper). The two teams had very different approaches – the Sugababe subteam decided that their time would be best used on………

market research? Yes, led by Vana, the subteam trudged around leafy Dulwich asking people if they thought this was an area where people would be more likely to need gardeners or toilet unblockers or sign painters. Rather than…asking people if they needed a garden doing or a toilet unblocking or a sign painting. It was an interesting approach to the task, and one that seemed to only accidentally pay dividends as Scott caught someone’s eye in the street who needed a big strong boy to come and sort her shrubbery out

and knock a wall down and remove the unexploded World War 2 bomb and maybe install a water feature. A job so huge that it needed to be postponed until Day 2.

Meanwhile over on Team Powerbottom, Mergim and his ladies took the slightly more obvious route on a task where the teams were supposed to take on odd jobs and earn money by…taking on odd jobs and earning money. All seemed to be going well as they accrued small amounts of money washing windows, until April had the bright idea of farming themselves out for more complicated work at the low low rate of £10 an hour (!) at which point we learnt that washing windows was about Mergim’s limit, handyman wise, as he

gouged great big holes in opticians’ walls and complained to Kaen that screwing in nails was harder than it looked. Kaen was not particularly eager to explain to Mergim the difference between screwing and nailing

but given that the BBC presumably had to pick up the costs of any semi-permanent damage these guys did to strangers property, it was a job that needed doing.

Pitching In : So, that football pitch then. You could kind of tell that Sam was exactly as into manual labour as you’d expect him to be when he asked Brett, upon winning the contract to clean the football stands, if this meant that they’d actually have to do it themselves (no Sam, they’re going to get a couple of first years to fag in and do it for you whilst you lounge in a smoking jacket and read The Canterville Ghost), but it was still quite something to see him there in the stands

powerhose and broom in hand, wearing casual chinos so tight you could see how much loose change he was carrying and braying that this was all “soooooo grossssss” as he had to sweep up three dead leaves and a cigarette butt. Selina, side pony at the ready, was given the more disgusting (and possibly infinte) task of scraping off every piece of chewing gum that had found itself mashed into the concrete with a bucket of water and a chisel. A task that…hadn’t been requested by the pitch owner. Whether Brett knew this or not I can’t say, but I can say that

Selina did a really good job of looking like she wasn’t about to hammer him in the shins with her steel toe-capped boots when she found out. Unfortunately for this team Brett’s…dedication to quality and specifications led them to a small demerit, as his focus on additional jobs like chewing gum removal and sundry extras left them without the time to paint the safety lines on the steps properly, meaning that they only received £440 for their work rather than the £481 they originally agreed. SPOILERS : this was not exactly the margin between victory and defeat.

Theatre Of Cruelty : Team Powerbottom’s renovation of the theatre’s backstage area was sadly by some margin less exciting and was notable only for four things. Firstly Elle actually saying “Joseph I’m no longer Project Manager, you are” regarding the renovation itself which…at least Luisa had to put some pressure on Jason to get him to reliniquish his authority, Elle was more or less giving it away free on the street corner. Secondly for Kaen following this up with a talking head interview in which she actually said “I’m not seeing any authority from Elle on this task, in fact it seems like Joseph is Project Manager” which…yes Kaen that is literally what Elle just said, thanks for the catch-up. Seriously, at this point I think Kaen serves more or less the same reality tv purpose and with about the same level of finesse as “Coming Up on Ex On The Beach”. Thirdly for David measuring out some poles to the wrong length and this being a major problem until Joseph swooped in and had to fix it, and more pertinently that David’s immediate response to it being found out that he’d done something wrong was to try to blame Richard somehow (that detente from last week not being complete obviously). And fourthly that

it looked even worse when they finished than when they started.

Ground Farce : Returning to the job they’d booked on Day 1, Vana, Scott and Gary collectively realised that promising someone a complete garden makeover in the space of a day was probably a slightly ambitious undertaking, and so Vana was instructed to let the poor woman who’d fallen for Scott’s feline charms know that unfortunately all they were going to be able to do was pull up her weeds and tidy things up a little. Presumably because

she was the one with the best Customer Service smile. We’re talking beyond Disney Princess and into Disney Cheerful Helper Chipmunk territory here. This was all an object lesson in how the show parcels out praise because, despite Scott finding the job, negotiating the price and, it seems, doing more than his fair share of the work whilst Vana clipped at things vaguely, this was chalked up as a win for her via a talking head from Claude and a boardroom segment later on and a major failure for Scott. To be fair

they did all do a good job of things and both halves of the team then seemed to have little trouble finding small garden jobs to do to pad out the rest of the day.

Paint Misbehavin’ : The game on the Powerbottom subteam meanwhile seemed mostly to be about finding something at Mergim’s level. Slightly more complicated and lucrative than washing windows, but nothing that could potentially involve him causing a lawsuit. They settled in the end of painting the fronts of shops, what coul

oh Mergim. It never ends does it? Between this, and April somehow getting the team an unexpectely massive job for £100 that Charleine’s negotiation skills

Charleine : I’m afraid we’re going to have to charge you a bit extra because it’s a much bigger job than we anti
Shop Lady : Noep

failed to reverse them out once they’d started, Project Manager Joseph was called in to assist with…well just Richard really, as David dribbled paint all over the pavement and Elle just stood there

slowly counting down the seconds until her firing. God only knows if she even remembered she was supposed to be in charge of this mess. There were also a lot of shots of her looking at the task rulebook for no particular reason, with an hour left to go and no wiggle room, which is a clear sign of someone with absolutely nothing going on mentally trying to look busy. In the end, she was so lost in space she

ENTIRELY ACCIDENTALLY LEFT DICKY BEHIND OOPS. There then followed a two hour interlude where Richard defended the shop they’d just painted fromm bruglars using a variety of wacky improvised traps made of common household items. Sadly he was not paid extra for this. Never gets proper credit does he?

RESULTS TIME! Lordalan, in a rare moment of self-awareness, started off the pre-results preamble by saying that the candidates were probably wondering

WHAT THE BLAHDDY ELL ‘AS WEVVER I CAN SCREW A NAIL GOT TO DO WIV BIZNISS? Although having sat through previous tasks “write a book for kindergarteners in an afternoon”, “cook some fish” and “find cheese” this all felt a little bit late in terms of an intervention, and by the looks of things we’ve got “organise a kids birthday party” coming up in a few weeks time. Needless to say of course this WAS all relevant for business coz Lordalan done some stuff like this before and he is a businessman so quid pro quod est demis memorandum as the Ancient Greeks used to say. For Team Powerbottom, the pre-numbers focused on how Joseph basically did everything good on the team, and also a lengthy discourse by Mergim on everything he’d done wrong over the course of the day. As he stood there saying that as he TURNED THE SCREWDRIVER the HOLE IN THE WALL GOT BIGGER AND BIGGER and the SHELF GOT MORE AND MORE BROKEN and the eyes of the lady who ran the shop got WIDER AND WIDER it became apparent that he had in fact come up with a better story for 3 to 5 year olds than either Bizzy Bee OR Snottydink.

Look at his likkle face! He’s enraptured bless him. Give him his juice and his binky Claude, he’s ready for nap time. Even more in Mergim’s favour is that, during GOODTEAMLEADER, he was the only one to even pretend that Elle was a Project Manager at all, let alone a good one. Although it turns out that they were probably shagging at this point so…At any rate at this point Elle was already wearing the radiant face

of someone who has come out the other side and is ready to meet her fate. The Sugababes on the other hand were focused on praising Vana and also marvelling at how Selina had spent FOUR HOURS on her knees, which she hasn’t done since her days as a podium dancer.

Because the music centre under the stage blew a fuse and she went down to fix it, ya dirty besoms.


Team Powerbottom spent £122 and took £652 for a profit of £530
The Sugababes spent £120 and took £1170 for a profit of £950


I have to admit…it’s hard to work out where all that money’s coming from for the Sugababes. The football ground is £440, leaving £730 unaccounted for. Even factoring in £75 per hour to tidy that woman’s garden up I think something happened here that we’re not party to. Please start feverishly speculating it was down to someone who’s getting fired next week/in two weeks time that they want to talk down.


SEXYYYYYYYYY! What little footage there was that didn’t involve people in various states of undress undergoing dubious “treatments” was mostly Brett talking about how amazingly well he’d done. Fun for us all. Still, phwoar, boobs and chest hair and Sam in his pants PHWOAR etc etc

Loser Cafe : A new angle on Loser Cafe here

literally. Kind of robs it of some of its tragic grandeur doesn’t it? I was hoping behind the counter was going to be covered in mouse droppings and unidentifiable liquid spillages. At any rate Elle at this point had reached the stage of

slightly hysterical wind-tossed laughter over the fact that she’d just been Project Manager on a task on The Apprentice, in the position of having to redeem herself after a 5 week losing streak, and had done literally nothing. I’ve found Elle a likable sort generally, but never more so than when she decided to just accept with good humour that she was out of her depth and was about to get smashed for it, rather than getting brittle or aggressive or defensive or trying to defend herself like so many before her. So undignified.

Boardroom Follies : So this was one of the epic ones. Firstly, for no real reason, just like Paul getting a Special Commendation on Bake Off this year, Lordalan gave Joseph Sooper Speshul Triple Lock Immunity right at the start for being so amazing at this task, telling him that whatever happened in this boardroom, he could not be fired. Lordalan giving someone immunity…from Lordalan was a new development I’m not sure this series needed, especially as Joseph didn’t then do what any normal person would surely do at this point, which would be to pop a moonie and then empty his glass of water over Kaen’s head whilst singing the Ketchup Song and going “nuh nuh nuh nuh NUHHHH, you can’t fire me!”

Second order of business was Elle’s firing, which was probably my favourite of all the stages. Mostly because she was using exactly the same perfectly calm Boardroom Robot voice she used to talk her way out of a firing on the Ten Items task but here she was saying things like “it was all my fault, Joseph was amazing, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I am useless, I had no plan and no strategy please fire me”. It was like that scene from a sci-fi film where the exploratory team accidentally set off the self-destruct function for the entire abandoned facility and the sexy lady computer voice goes passive-aggressively insane. She even got in a bizarre little joke before she
<img src="” alt=”” />
of course left, saying that she didn’t “stand here proud………well, sit here really”. It’s times like these I remember Lordalan’s promise that this series was going to be full of older, serious candidates who were grounded and had life experience. BYE ELLE!

The madness did not stop here though. Apparently we were operating under Crystal Maze rules, and with the Project Manager having been fired before their duties were fully discharged (in terms of selecting who would attend the Final Boardroom) MERGIM, as subteam leader, was made temporary Project Manager. MERGIM.

With his pouty scared little face and his shiny suit and his “I DONE YOUR SHELF WRONG MADAM AND KNOCKED A HOLE IN THE WALLS, CAN I STILL GET PAID”. Mergim being pinned down with this meaningless vanity title just to keep the basic structural integrity of the show intact whilst preserving actual PM Joseph’s new-found sainthood by keeping him out of the Final Boardroom. Mergim of course immediately tried to blame Richard, because God knows these men have been champing at the bit for weeks now to get Dicky in the Final Three, but ACTUAL Project Manager Joseph shut him down and told him to blame David instead. Mergim deferred, and made his other choice April.

From farce, the Boardroom then lurched to tragedy as, pretty comprehensively cornered by April over his immaturity, unprofessionalism, and lack of leadership over the subteam, Mergim let loose his last arrow – how he’s here to be an example to everyone as a refugee who came to the UK with nothing and worked 100 times harder than anyone else had to to get where he is today…on one of the arse-end series of a dying gameshow. In all seriousness though, it was a somewhat moving speech that of course

didn’t save him, because they’ve overcast this series and they’ve got fodder to burn through. He *did* get a “with SINCERE regret” though. Not like those phony regrets Lordalan fobbed people off with because they were a single mother or from the North or wore a beret. He never meant it guys, sorry. Oh and April

got fired as well, ostensibly because Lordalan told her in Wk1 after her failed stint as PM that if this had been wk 6 or so he would have fired her and now IT IS wk 6 or so, so she’s fired. But when you think about it that doesn’t actually make any sense so let’s settle on “din’t do much” and also hiring herself out on this task for a rate of £3.33 an hour. Even as an Apprentice candidate she’s worth more than that. David survived, because firing someone for measuring a bit of railing incorrectly would be a bit much, even for this show.

Meanwhile Back A The Ranch

Shocked faces mostly. It was that sort of week.

Next Week :

Looks classy.


6 thoughts on “The Apprentice 11 – Week 6 : Handy Man

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