Posted by: Paul | November 11, 2010

The Apprentice – Week 6

“You were all over it like a tramp on chips.” Nick Hewer

To my mind, this series of The Apprentice has been a bit lacklustre thus far, and is in need of a bit of a spark. Could the TV advertising task provide it?

Nick Hewer can usually be relied upon to come up with something laugh out loud funny at least once per episode and he outdid himself last night – in the final sequence in the boardroom the above quote was his way of describing one team’s theft of an idea from an enthusiastic mother involved in a focus group. I had never before considered how much tramps might like chips. Now I’ll never forget.

Doorstepped by His Royal Sugariness early in the morning, the candidates who had reached this week’s halfway stage duly lined up in various states of undress in the lounge to receive their orders. Liz sported a natty buff tracksuit, Stella and Laura must obviously sleep in their suits and spring upright out of bed Dracula style ready to go, and the boys…well, let’s just say Lord Shoogah was lucky they were even in their pants, such was their surprise at his visit.

This week it was the turn of advertising to have the Apprentice boot stuck in it. I’m getting really tired of the repetition of tasks from one year to the next now – seriously producers, PLEASE come up with some different things for them to do if the series returns – but the TV ad can always expect to raise a few laughs. Remember Pantsman? I’m sure Lee McQueen does.

This week it was the turn of Alex and Christopher to be PMs, and for Christopher to show just what a Royal Marines sniper can bring to the business table. Umm…a killer instinct and rock steady trigger finger? Probably still better than what an Unemployed Head Of Communications has to offer (I still love the fact that everything Alex does is prefixed by the fact that he didn’t have a job even BEFORE he joined The Apprentice).

As ever, there were clear dividing lines within the teams, between the sub teams they’re divided into. Is it the lack of face to face contact that makes everything go horribly wrong for them? The fact that they’re always hidden behind phones? Whatever the case, the editors must cackle with glee at getting both ends of the conversation post-hangup, where after the inevitable disagreement, both parties hang up the phone and mutter the word “Twat”.

Charged with coming up with a cleaning product and a marketing campaign to support it, rather than cleaning up (ba-dum-tssssh) both Synergy and Apollo made a horrible mess. Apollo, led by Alex, were railroaded by Chris Bates into the misguided idea of “The Germ-o-nator”. This idea had several problems – chiefly that it was crap, the focus groups hated it, the packaging was an absolute shocker, and the TV ad contravened several advertising and health and safety regulations. Was it any surprise that they lost? Well yes, frankly, since they were up against an Octopus with an execrably sexist and outdated ad campaign, chosen purely because Christopher wanted to put his arm round a beautiful actress. The only thing that saved them – literally – was that the bottle was orange, and looked vaguely like it belonged on a shelf with other cleaning products. “I wouldn’t say you’ve won exactly,” said Lord Shoogah, “it’s just that you haven’t lost”.

These tasks are always a little hard to call, with both teams being presented as utterly hopeless and the final decision being left to His Alanness, along with a little guidance from the Ad Agency helping out with the process. But, once more, it came down to a very simple difference – crap as both campaigns were, one focused on the product (no matter how dreadful), and one lost sight of it and strayed inadvisedly into the realm of trying to be funny. So Christopher, the Octopus and the Neve Campbell lookalike actress were off the hook, sent away to do karaoke in a cupboard somewhere.

There was really only one man who was going to go this week. Missing a trick that Sugar was getting fed up with Laura, Alex brought Chris and Sandeesh into the boardroom, Sugar instantly recognising this as a tactical move and sending poor Sandeesh straight out again. In a straight fight between Alex and Chris (with Alex doing some weird shouting at one point), Alex reached the end of his Apprentice journey. To be fair to him, he was another of the candidates with a bit of entertainment value and those who are left are rather…well, normal, for the most part, and won’t make for such entertaining TV. He did seem genuinely like a nice guy and during ‘You’re Fired” afterwards his colleagues were queueing up to say that, but he made the mistake of believing his own hype. After all, what sort of person makes a group of total strangers sit through a holiday skydiving video on the first occasion you meet them?

One professional note from last night – I loved the sequence in the recording studio, I’ve been there so many times. Tip – when the engineer says “It’s all sounding verrrrry goooood…”… do it again 😉



  1. Hello again! I love the advertising task, not least because the teams are guaranteed to fail. Like the invent-a-new-product task, this is a VERY tough gig.

    Christopher was VERY lucky not to be fired. It was like watching a 70s nudge-nudge-wink-wink sitcom, with more innuendo than the average soft porn film (it just needed the cheesy keyboard soundtrack to go with it). But Alex and his team simply got absolutely everything wrong – there was nothing about their ad that worked other than Stuart’s brilliantly funny voiceovers. So the moment Sugar announced that Apollo had lost, it was a foregone conclusion that he was for the chop.

    Still made for some very funny TV, though!

  2. […] The Apprentice – Week 6 November 20101 comment and 1 Like on, 5 […]

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