For once on this show, being functionally literate pays off!
Phone Answering Wars As we wind slowly down, it’s never too late for a candidate to make that first grasp for Phone Anwering Wars Glory
so congratulations to Vana for making a strong move in the end-game. This leaves our standings at
Natalie : 2
Charleine : 2
Joseph : 2
Gary : 1
Vana : 1
(David : 1)
(Selina : 1)
This means that next week we have two options – either Joseph wins outright or we have a FOUR WAY POLL SHOWDOWN between him, Natalie, Charleine, and Vana for the title. Exciting. As ever, this was the laziest of all the early morning phone calls – the one that told the candidates that Lordalan would be meeting them in 1560 minutes time. So they’ve got plenty of time to let the water run hot on their showers should they so choose. This is because of course candidates needed this time to neaten the edges off on their business plans in tome for INTERVIEWS (/sit at a table in the garden mumbling numbers out loud to the cameras). As we did this, we revisited via voiceover the key-points about our final 5 via voiceover – Joseph is a rough diamond who has done very few interviews in his life ; Richard has won the most tasks, been a victorious Project Manager twice and been the clear standout performer over the gameshow element of this programme and therefore is fucked ; Charleine is still recovering from a full body boardroom meltdown last week and feeling a bit shaky; Gary has somehow, despite…well, everything really, managed to get himself tagged as a super-shiny and sleek corporate robot, something which he makes even more ludicrous by calling himself “Corporate G”, who I think was also one of D12 ; and finally Vana
has incredibly scratty handwriting.
So Long Joseph’s Moustache
We barely knew ye.
Mike On Richard
This is Mike Souter. He publishes Shortlist Magazine, which is shit. He’s here to pull GOTCHA moments based on things he’s found by spending 5 seconds on Google (/a show’s researcher having spent 5 seconds on Google). Here he is attacking Richard for having “The Number 1 Digital Marketing Agency In Surrey!” on the website for the agency he runs with his brother, EVEN THOUGH THIS ISN’T BACKED UP WITH AN AWARD OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. Although Richard’s actual explanation (“I’m part of a business networking breakfast group and they all agree that I’m the best one”) was so typically Richard that it was worth it. Mike’s grilling of Richard escalated from here, including a brief delicious sojourn into Richard’s application form
from which we learnt that he is totally likable, a legend in his own mind, and also terrified of his wife. As you would be, did you see the Final Five programme? In more serious news, we also learnt about Richard’s business plan – a marketing outsourcing agency called…wait for it…”Project X”. Amazing. If someone doesn’t lift that and use it as a teamname for the next series I will be very disappointed. Unfortunately for Richard, Mike Soutar bashing his face into Google for five seconds uncovered that Richard had ripped off large elements of his supposedly, according to Richard, “unique” company outline from
the level select screen from Crash Bandicoot. Also from his already existing business with his brother. Oops. Richard, without even blinking, moved immediately on to saying “well that just showed that it’s an already proven succesful model”. What a star.
Claudine On Joseph
Eurrrrrrrrrrrrrgh, this one is back. Here she is with Joseph, flirting with him all “ooooh, why does Lordalan call you VALENTINO? Are you a bit of a LADIES MAN?” until Joseph eventually responds slightly in kind, at which point she pulls a soor ploom face and
forces an awkward silence for the cameras. She’s still unbearable. From here she moved on to talking about how Joseph refers to himself as the definition of success, and what success means to him. Joseph spiralled off madly at this point from the fairly benign in terms of this show (“I work 7 days a week and survive off 3 hours sleep”) through the slightly bonkers sounding (“I love sitting alone in my office coming up with exciting new plans and schemes and ways to be succesful”) and ending up on the terrifyingly messianic (“I WANT THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT!”). It’s odd that it’s when Joseph shaved the moustache off that he actually started sounding like
Linda on Charleine
This one is new. Her name is Linda Plant, so I’m going to be calling her Lynda La Plante for the entirity of this recap, just because I can. Here she is with Charleine, barking “ARE YOU GONNA CRY? ARE YA? LIKE YA DID IN THE WEEK 10 BOARDROOM? LIKE AN IKKLE WIKKLE GIRLIE? WHEN YOU’RE RUNNING A MULTI MILLION POUND ORGANISATION ARE YOU GONNA HAVE A TUBBY BOO HOO LIKE WOO JUST DWOPPED YOUR ICE CWEAM?” at her. Over the course of the episode her tactics will become marginally less playground, as she progresses to just saying “no you aren’t”, “no you can’t” or “no you’re not” to literally everything the candidates say. It’s episodes like these you miss Borden (never Paul though, never that). Her major problem with Charleine was that she didn’t think that Charleine was a big enough name in the world of hairdressing to pull off her business plan – a training academy for wannabe hairstylists based in London that would “top Toni & Guy”. (Lynda La Plante said that she thought it’d be hard to top Toni & Guy. Have you seen a picture, I don’t think it would, if you know what I mean). Charleine, when asked “who’s going to know who you are?”, instead of pointing to the cameras and saying “I’ve been filmed for the last month and a half for a national tv programme with an audience of 5 million people, over which time I have personally worn 45 different immaculately constructed hair-dos, PEOPLE KNOW WHO I AM BIZZOTCH” instead
just went very Charleine and started ranting about HOW HARD SHE’D WORK AND HOW MUCH SHE’D SACRIFICE EVERYTHING! Lynda La Plante seemed impressed by Charleine’s passion. Impressed and scared.
Claude on Vana
Look at him. Look at him pulling sneery face like he and Vana haven’t been off having a fag break and discussing how rubbish Series 5 of Game Of Thrones has been and making fun of Selina in between takes. Don’t give me that face Claude, your mystery and majesty is long since gone now. He’s snarling at Vana being presumptuous about what his first question is going to be there. She doesn’t look that fussed. Maybe when they were in France she accidentally walked in on him doing a poo or something. He holds no fear for her now. Evenutally, once he did get going, he told her that he thought her projected client numbers were wildly over-optimistic. In the absence of fifteen pages of sailboats, Claude’s a bit redundant in these segments isn’t he? I guess all five of these candidates must have produced business plans that treated the show with a bare minimum of respect (well except Richard, but how many times can you show a grown man curled up into a ball crying because someone’s called him out on doing a copypasta?). I know, who’d have thought it?
Mike on Gary Mike’s GOTCHA on Gary was that rather than being a big cheese at TESCO, he was in fact more of a Mini Babybel, his claim to have been put in charge of a budget of £1,000,000,000 rather curtly
dismissed by his personal reference. I can’t help think that Gary being called “not a team player” (presumably) there probably should have been brought up there as well. To be fair, Gary probably could have been left to hang himself on this one, as the words “it was the biggest development plan in the history of TESCO, and I doubt they’d repeat it” speak for themselves rather. Gary’s claim to have led 600 people was also whittled down by Mike ultimately to a small team of 3 people, although Gary clarified that whilst he wasn’t the line manager of 600 people, per se, they did all “dance to his tune”. Presumably at his mobile disco. The tune being “Yes Sir I Can Boogie”
Mike on Joseph : Mike’s Gotcha moment with Joseph? Reading in his application form that Joseph has read Lordalan’s book and it inspired him to become an entrepreneur, Mike then gave him a pop quiz on its contents, in order to determine whether this was either “a very sincere tribute or the most blatant attempt to butter Lordalan up that I’ve ever heard”. I’m not sure Joseph knowing such details as how old Lordalan was when he founded Amstrad (a zygote), who Lordalan’s first employee was (your mum), what the first commodity he bought and sold was (heroin), and whether he jacks off left or right handed (…I’ll leave that one up to you and your imagination) proves that he’s NOT the biggest suck-up of all time, but at least it shows that if he is that he also bothered to do his homework before putting it down on his application form. (There was also some stuff here about how the cost of Joseph’s business model – a plumbing franchise – was too prohibitive for them to realistically ever turn a profit, but this is not a business blog and is hard to make funny so…Joseph done not sorted his numbers out or whatever).
Claudine on Vana : It was with Claudine that we heard first what Vana’s business idea was – to harness the “gamification” (barf) of dating to produce an app in which you play games with strangers, including brainteasers and “a flying game”, and as you do better at the games, the stranger’s face(or…you know…whatever) becomes less and less pixelated so you can eventually see whether they’re a proper fug or not. Claudine said that, to be honest, she couldn’t be bothered putting that much time and effort into a dating app personally when she’d rather just get to banging down an alley somewhere straight away. I’m paraphrasing here.
Claude on Richard : Claude’s contra-temps with Dicky focused on Claude reading out parts of Richard’s proposals for “Project X” (still so good) and looking appalled. Particularly at this gem : “a fully managed and implemented business growth campaign that starts with a focused base camp to remove the clouds from the client’s business growth mountain”.
It’s odd that Claude looked so shocked here given that…these were the exact words that were read out by Lordalan in the very first 10 minutes of episode 1 to highlight Richard as a “character”. Whilst Claude was sat there. Words which I then googled and found his current business with his brother. No really, I quite literally could BE Mike Soutar what a thought. Anyway, Claude took this waffle to be indicative of Richard’s generally slippery and obfuscating personality, and led Claude to asking Richard flat out if he was straight.
I mean yes Claude, I had that dream as well, but I don’t think this is the arena for that sort of question. Maybe if you played a flying game with him first? Richard promised Claude that if he had been a little bit crooked over the 10 weeks, it was all in the name of getting a win for his team. And by extension himself, obviously, although he left that part out.
Claude on Charleine : Claude’s problems with Charleine very much mirrored Lynda La Plante’s, and he explained to her very slowly that setting up a training academy is very different from setting up a salon, and that he wasn’t sure that Charleine knew how to turn a profit from one. Charleine explained to Claude that it’s easy, because in her industry you can charge people up to £5000 (!) for a basic 5 day training scheme in tatooing and make-up. Faced with these apparently true numbers, Claude just baulked and said “WELL I DON’T THINK YOU CAN DO IT!” and Charleine fell back on “I’ll work hard, I’ll graft, I’ll sacrifice, I’ll
do scary eyes at you and talk about turning myself into an icon”. This was of course far more comfortable territory for Claude as it allowed him to go into comfortable Apprentice “yes you are a hard working working class mother of two well done for making it this far I admire your dedication and passion pat pat” territory.
Linda on Gary : It was with Lynda La Plante that we learnt of Gary’s official business plan – Celebration Discos, a mobile disco business already succesful in the West Midlands, operating the full disco experience including virtual presentations AND the latest in lighting technology, all for the low low price of £350 an event. Of course Lynda La Plante got all
“lighting? everyone’s got lighting don’t they? what’s so special about lighting” showing that she certainly didn’t go to any of the discos I went to growing up in the West Midlands. And in most cases this was a blessing. In fairness, Gary was claiming that it was his plan to take Celebration Discos global, and whilst *I* would quite happily go and watch Gary crank out the hits of Girls Aloud (/Love Machine over and over again on a loop) whilst dressed as a giraffe, I’m not sure it’s a concept that would sell in, say, Barcelona.
Mike on Vana : Mike, it turned out, had no Gotcha to play on Vana, principally because she had her own up her sleeve
absolutely terrifying hair tossing, narrow-eyed, breathy-voiced flirting. All “don’t you think?” and “isn’t it cute?” and “GOOD NEWS! This app is targeted at quality men, Mike. Are you a quality man? I think you have…certain qualities…”. Mike sadly was more interested in Vana’s head for business than her bod for sin, and seemed perturbed by the fact that if Vana’s app didn’t turn a profit within 6 months her whole business plan would collapse. Which yeah, seems like it might be a problem. It was at this point that we learnt that the App is called “PlayDate”. Yeah that better get “Niks Cosmetics”d at some point. Nobody wants to play Scrabble for Dick Pix whilst thinking about dropping the kids off at Kimmy’s mum’s house. Also
nothing should have a logo with that many Love Hearts in it. Not even the sweets.
Claudine on Gary : Was mostly Claudine pretending she didn’t know what words like “interactive” and “technology” meant, and Gary explaining his exciting new technological breakthrough of people being able to attend events via video from remote locations and also people being able to send in best man speeches to a wedding they’re not able to attend. Gary seemed to think this was all very novel and exciting, and it would be if nobody knew how to set up skype.
Claude on Joseph : Was basically a re-run of Charleine’s segment with Claude, except with less syrup and less actual numbers and less insane boggle eyed yapping. And therefore less interest. Joseph did however, where Charleine did not, express willingness to tweak his business plan to make it whatever Lordalan wanted it to be. Which probably helped him in the long run.
Linda on Richard : Oh here we go. Whilst Lynda La Plante’s playground approach of just disagreeing with whatever her opponen…sorry, interviewee said didn’t get much traction with the rest of this year’s cream beyond them walking out slowly and making noises a bit like a disgruntled owl out in the atrium, with Richard, backed up with the
profit figures for his existing business (in contrast to the £3,000,000 new worth he gave Project X by year 3 on basically the same business model), it cracked him open like an eggshell. All it took was a few “this is bullshit!”s, a “I don’t think you can do it”, an “I don’t believe it” and a “I don’t understand this”, and Richard was saying that his entire life is a lie based on a thin patina of self-confidence covering up a black hole of nothing, sprinting to the lift muttering “I talk pretentious crap”
before openly collapsing then curling into the foetal position on the couches in front of all the other candidates wailing
“I WANT MY MUM!”. As full body nervous breakdowns went, it made Bianca’s little spritz upon confronting the reality that she had no personality whatsoever look like someone a bit peeved they didn’t get the Meyers Briggs result they wanted. Charleine’s undisguised delight at Richard noisily questioning his entire life was a particular treat.
Mike on Charleine : Much as with Vana, Mike didn’t have any sort of surprise up his sleeve for Charleine (personally I was hoping for Selina to come stomping through the doors on stilts breathing fire and cackling like Siobhan Fahey in the video for Stay by Shakespeare’s Sister, as Mike pretended that he couldn’t see her and that she didn’t exist, as the lights flickered on and off manically, but I have very specific tastes this show doesn’t always match). What he did offer up was a platform for Charleine to talk about the death of her child and how it inspired her to go into business, which was really already covered in The Final Five, but quite moving to hear her talk about all the same.
Claudine on Richard : Claudine mostly got stuck
watching, bored, as Richard tried to scoop the yolk and the white back into the eggshell of his brain and tape it all back together and hope nobody noticed that he just splurged it all over everyone’s television. We did see here the germ of Richard The Marketing Man still, despite everything, operating away still underneath, trying to turn this crisis into an opportunity and poking out the idea to Claudine that he was a changed man with a good heart once you blew all the leaves off his business plan and saw the raw humanity underneath it. It’s credit to Claudine that she came across the most likable she’s ever been in this segment, which isn’t really saying much, a bit like someone half-heartedly comforting a man who’s just seen his entire house burnt down whilst she waits for a relative of his to come get him off her.
We Didn’t See : Claude with Gary, Claudine with Charleine, or Linda with either Joseph or Vana
The Firings : Once the interviews were over, the dust had settled, Lynda La Plante had tottered off to go and yell “NO IT ISN’T!” to the nearest self-service till in Marks & Spencers, it was time to chuck out the three candidates who sadly aren’t destined to stage a launch for their business plan featuring second-rate contemporary dancers next week. First shook off was
Charleine, in 5th place, for being over-ambitious in what she was setting out to achieve, basically being told to toddle off back to Plymouth and open another salon. Maybe branch out into Exeter? Poor Charleine. Just being realistic about the fact that not a single winner of this show since the format change has come in operating outside of the South East area was enough to do her in. Joseph at this point saw which way the wind was blowing, and swiftly announced that he’d decided to erm…just go back to Peterborough and open another branch of his plumbing business. Maybe in Northampton? Or Cambridge? Sod the franchise idea, he doesn’t even know why he thought of it!
Next to get hit out the park was
Gary, in 4th, because Lordalan didn’t understand his business proposal. It’s a mobile disco Al, what’s to understand? Gary left the process as he came into it, bumbling around affably, wishing everyone well and being generally misunderstood. Poor Corporate G. Hopefully he comes back for the finale and just stands somewhere towards the back grinning gormlessly and snurfling. Finally, leaving us in 3rd place was
my boy Richard. Really, given the absolute mess he made of interviews it’s a testimony to his peerless task performance that he even made it this close to the final episode, but he blew it for himself at the last by hemming and hawing and prevaricating over whether he was going to give up his existing business with his brother to go all in with Lordalan or not. I guess in the end he just wanted that little bit too much control.
Which leaves us with
one of the more random Final 2s in this show’s history. You have to believe at this point that Joseph will win, just because his business proposition feels like the show getting back to its roots after the intangible marketing waffle of Mark’s winning proposition last year with a business built around solid hard graft, and also partially because it feels like Vana’s business proposition maybe got her this far not because it’s a solid one but because it will guarantee megalols to see the candidates set up a dating website. Again. After they did the same thing two series ago. Never say this show is afraid to hit the same easy comedy beats over and over and over again. On the other hand, she’s got a crap PM record (0-1, just like Tom and Mark before her), so she’ll probably win, because the show’s rapid pursuit of a Nirvana like state where the first 10 weeks mean absolutely nothing, ever, continues a-pace.
Next time :
What did I tell you? Easy laughs a-plenty.