Posted by: Paul | December 9, 2010

The Apprentice – Week 10

“I’m not a one trick pony, I’m not a ten trick pony…I’ve got a field of ponies, ready to run at you!” – Stuart Baggs

Only 6 hopefuls remaining, The Apprentice mutated into an elaborate game of 3-a-side involving buses. It now no longer matters who is project manager, as everyone on the losing team is in the firing line. With no outward sign of former animosities, the teams were shuffled again and mortal enemies Liz, Stella and Stuart all found themselves in the same boat. Bus, sorry.

This week’s task was for both teams to take tourists around the fair city of London, showing them the bright lights of our nation’s capital. This invloved harassing innocent people passing through Trafalgar Square, and in Stuart’s case, underhand tactics, undercutting, and even outward hostility towards the other team which almost ended in actual fisticuffs between him and Chris, unbeliveably!

Both teams had to pick a theme to sell to the unsuspecting public. Stella’s team went for traditonal London – you know, cockneys, jellied eels, pearly kings and queens. Jo’s team chose Ghouls and Ghosts, which under Jamie’s tutelage encompassed pretty much everything the bus drove past. Did you know the River Thames is the second largest river in London? Or that Big Ben is twenty diameters across?

As usual, the key to success was to be a combination of making a successful pitch to a pre-arranged meeting – in this case with the London Visitor Centre – and whatever cold sales the teams could drum up themselves. Stella, wanting to show she had more strings to her bow, played the role of tour guide and practiced hard at her spiel. She was surprisingly good at first, but it all fell apart a bit when she got lost on the walking tour – typical woman, can’t read a map! (OK, fire that bow…now!) Jamie, despite Nick Hewer’s defence of him in the boardroom, was an utter shambles, though seemingly people were entertained by his monkeying around. He’d have had no tip from me, that’s for sure.

With Stuart stuffing up the pitch by aiming too high with price, and Chris seemingly stuffing up winning the pitch by offering too big a client share, it was hard to pick a winner. Buses got stuck in traffic. Potential passengers scared off by the conflict between the sales teams. And small children frightened by Jamie’s gory Sweeney Todd stories while their parents looked on, aghast.

In the end, despite Chris having seemingly offered the earth to the LVC in terms of their cut of their day’s revenue, Jo, Jamie and Chris ran out winners by about £250. With ‘The Brand’ in his sights at last, surely the time had come for Lord Shoogah to pull the trigger on him? ‘You could always fire two…’ said Nick, ominously.

It was refreshingly uncomplicated by personal attacks in the boardroom this week. Each of the three candidates spoke up for themselves – Stuart more so than Liz and Stella – but there was little blame to be found. Despite Stuart’s frankly insane claims of what he would do for Sugar’s business empire, he remained safe once more – and in a shock firing, former favourite Liz Locke was the unlucky recipient. I think some of the shine had come off Liz in the past couple of weeks. She’d been riding the wave of that great sales record in week 4 with the Baby-Glow, and despite solid performances throughout she just lacked the spark Sugar was looking for. I think he admired Stella’s humble origins and steely determination – he has repeatedly referred to her as ‘shrewd’, which he seems to like, and frankly I think the only reason Stuart is still there is that he made a huge point this week of flattering Sugar’s vanity. He’s just there for entertainment value now, and simply cannot make it beyond next week’s interview stage. Can he?

Next week is my favourite part of the whole process. I just can’t wait to see Baggs torn to shreds by Sugar’s cohorts!

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Responses

  1. Some tremendous quotes this week. In addition to Baggs’s ponies, my favourite three all came from Jamie:

    “Straight ahead of you we’ve got Big Ben. The face of the clock is 20 diameters in width.”

    “I think it’s only fair we start talking about Westminster Abbey because once again this is an incredibly important part of England’s history. So you can go there and, well, it’s a church.”

    “You see the building which looks like a gherkin? It’s called the ‘Gherkin’ because it looks like a gherkin.”

    All in all, it was a magical episode for candidate soundbites.

    As for Liz being fired, I’ve been saying for several weeks that she was not as strong a contender as most people seemed to think. But I also wonder if Sugar already knew that Liz was a football WAG – he had previously made comments about Bond Street and her knowing the price of Versace – and didn’t want the embarrassment of having a winner who promptly quit to front yet another WAG-related reality show.

    I agree that the lack of vitriol in the boardroom was refreshing to see. And I thought Stuart defended himself magnificently, while fronting up to his mistakes.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2010/12/09/tourists-taken-for-a-ride-as-the-apprentice-does-on-the-buses/

    • Hi Tim,
      Yes, it was a juicy episode for quotes, and I also loved the fact that Stuart escalated the argument with Chris to the brink of violence with no provocation: “Seriously Stuart, get off our pitch.” “WELL COME ON THEN, HIT ME!” One day, someone will take him up on that irresistible offer. Oh god, I hope he doesn’t win, it’s like Anne Widdecombe getting to the quarter finals of Strictly Come Dancing!


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