The Apprentice Final Five Review

Over the past 10 weeks, we’ve seen the candidates cope with selling meatballs to a squirrel, unleash the strange creation that is Groove Train, not being able to sell sauces that are spelt correctly, Duane’s super-punching in a suit, plenty of arguing and mulling about and Adam searching a skip for things to sell. With the semi-final fast approaching, here is a review of the remaining candidates and who is best placed to win?


For the first few weeks, she went about quietly working well in the background – her design for the babywear in week one was praised. When it came to her time to step up as PM, she mismanaged things, argued with everyone, didn’t listen to anyone and had no coherent plan in place. Last week, she put herself forward as PM again and rectified her past mistakes – she judged the task perfectly and planned well to identify the companies that were suited to her client, as well as negotiating some fantastic deals, such as the discount at The Sanctuary. However, her manner in dealing with others and not listening to her team members is a problem that could cost her. She should make it to the final 4 providing that she has no major disasters this Wednesday. Plus it will be interesting to hear about her plan that will create a whole group of multi-million making companies that she promised…



Nick seems to be a bit of a lucky charmfor the team that he is on, having notched up the most victories so far. Is this due to lucky coincidence or Nick’s talent? I think it is a bit of both. On some occasions he has performed well, such as his stints as PM, where he has shown good leadership skills, can implement a well thought out strategy strongly and possesses the ability to stick to his convictions when challenged. He gets on well with others and seems to have a good head for numbers and business. On other occasions, he doesn’t engage with the task and it appears like he doesn’t put his greatest effort into contributing to the task, such as the exercise class task, where his contribution was zero. He should made make it to the final four, and seeing as he is lucky Nick, he could win.



Having slowly emerged as the favourite mid series, notching up an impressive stint as PM during the recycling task in which his risky strategy paid off, as well as often talking the most sense and having a strong hand on business matters. Yet since the art task, he has taken a huge step backwards. He started off the art task well, but together with the wine task, his role was awful. He lost sight of the meaning of the tasks and was so focused on his “expert knowledge” that he forgot about the planning, strategy and the end goal of the tasks. Since then, his contribution has been little and he hasn’t been done anything worthy at all. Last week, he didn’t demonstrate good business sense and it seems like he didn’t try at all to secure good deals. Instead he only got a deal on candles…and that was rejected by Keynoir! His actions in the last few weeks belie his credibility as a business partner and I think he is likely to leave this week. If he does make the final, I can’t see him winning.



He made himself known as a stupid, sexist and arrogant man with little business talent. Not he is a stupid, comical and arrogant man with little business talent but good at sales. Somehow he has gone from being totally awful and useless to less awful and useless over the course of the show. That being said, he is still awful and useless, never having demonstrated anything that indicates that he will be a good business partner. He is probably likely to go this week, but I still can’t believe he has made it this far though…




Having backed him at the start of the series on account of his name and background, Ricky was touted as the joke candidate, especially as he continued to churn out soundbites such as being a shark of the boardroom and being the “alpha male, the manliest of males”. However, he has proven himself to be a credible candidate: he is good at sales, at ideas, at negotiation and working with others. He was good at being PM despite losing both times but I would attribute this to the weakness of his team members and the insanity of Virgin gyms. He is a well rounder candidate but is prone to making mistakes, although he is capable of pulling off the biggest successes too – last week is evidence of that. I think that he will make it to the final and is a good bet to win.


Of course, all of this doesn’t matter as the tasks don’t always show who is the winner. It is all based on the business plan and background, which is why Tom won last year, despite being completely useless in the tasks, and why Helen, possibly the best candidate of the whole series, failed to win, even when trying to propose a second business plan in the last moments of the final (which was bending the rules…although Lord Sugar didn’t pick Tom for his chair plan, which makes the interview stages a bit pointless). So really, the review doesn’t really count for much at all, but in case anyone was interested in my views, hope you enjoyed reading this post!


The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 10

Ricky Martin ventures down the stairs at 6am to answer the phone, where he learns that the candidates are going to the City. After last week, Stephen cries, “I am so motivated! I can’t wait!” whilst Ricky Martin stands there drinking orange juice. Stephen blabs on more about how enthusiastic he is about the task: “I was standing on the edge of the cliff with one foot over…This task, I’ll give it 110%!”

The task is to negotiate discounts with companies and present deals to a daily deal website. Deals that are accepted will be live on the website for 24 hours and whichever team makes the most money wins. The daily deal website in question is Keynoir, which is aimed at the higher end of the market.

Jade nominates herself as PM, citing her background in online marketing as the reason why she is the best person to lead the team. For Stephen, being PM means that it is a do-or-die situation. He tells Sterling that he wants as many deals as they can get. He sends Ricky Martin on his own and partners himself with Gabrielle, whom he feels is a weak team member. I’m not sure if Stephen has got the strategy right – it could be a case of quantity over quality, which is missing the point of Keynoir’s focus on luxury deals.

Jade is taking the tack of “quality over quantity” and Phoenix discuss restaurants (Tom, ever the expert, witters on about a restaurant that he knows looooooots about) and teeth whitening. Nick has concerns that these aren’t exclusive enough for Keynoir. At which point, Stephen and Gabrielle are visiting a dentist to enquire about a deal on teeth whitening, which they manage score 2 deals on at a reasonable discount.

Meanwhile, Ricky Martin is running late and not feeling confident that he can pull  off a deal. Gabrielle decides to take the time to tell him the basics of sales and negotiation, to which a stressed Ricky Martin responds, “I know what I’m doing, don’t teach me to suck eggs!”. The man in the hotel restaurant wants to give Ricky Martin a tour with all the works – lovely views, good quality flooring, etc. With a free scallop dish – whoever said that negotiating deals didn’t have its perks. Yet despite this waRicky Martin welcome, Ricky Martin is nervous about time. The hotel guy then says “I want to show you something that I have never shown before…” – another reason for Ricky Martin to be nervous.

After spending a little longer in the room organising things, Phoenix head off to do some deals. First stop for Jade and Nick is The Sanctuary, a well respected spa. Nick knows that it is an important deal and declares that he wants to do the pitch but Jade is adamant that she will do it herself. First thing that Jade states is that she wants a discount. The Sanctuary woman says that they don’t give big discounts and Jade’s 50% is turned down immediately. Not a good start…

The Hotel Guy seems to have taken a shine to Ricky Martin, showing him the most fantastic views and wining and dining him. Yet when it comes down to business, he is unwilling to give any kind of discount, not even £1. Damn. Maybe he didn’t like Ricky Martin that much after all. Ricky Martin declares that this has been a “waste of time” and is irritated – you can tell as his left eyebrow appears in a fixed arch. And it stays like that for some time.

Despite the poor start, Jade has managed to acquire a 50% discount from The Sanctuary after lots of flattery and promises, which is a brilliant deal.

At a luxury boutique hotel somewhere in London, Tom and Adam are having dinner. Tom tries to get a discount but fails miserably (although you could argue that he didn’t try very hard). Adam manages to score free tea and coffee with every meal. Success! Brilliant choreography there that should ensure a position as Lord Sugar’s business partner.

Ricky Martin is out and about in Tring and unsuccessful in making deals. He is wary of the vast amount of travelling that he will have to do. Stephen ponders and then tells Ricky Martin to make new appointments to avoid the extensive trip.

Phoenix are figuring out who to call next. Jade gets rejected by a Thai Massage and Steam place, so she retorts that is it a “whorehouse”. Classy. Tom and Adam are contemplating if a boat ride would be a good idea. Tom questions if it is high-end enough. Adam says that it won’t be a speedboat, more like a dinghy. I don’t know what boat rides he takes.

Gabrielle and Stephen are at a fish spa. Stephen decides to have a go, which I don’t really want to see (fish and Stephen). Gabrielle makes 3 deals with a good discount although Karren criticises this as it is not luxury!

St Pancras and Jade is asking famous chef Marcus Wareing for a dinner deal. Marcus asks about numbers, which is a bit of a problem as Jade and Nick don’t have any. Nick (a technology expert) and Jade (self proclaimed fantastic businesswoman) can’t seem to work the calculator and Jade’s comment, “I can do it with round numbers!”, frustrates Marcus, who says that he will leave to give the pair time to do some maths.

At Rhodes, Ricky Martin is asked about numbers, specifically, how many places is he wanting to sell. Ricky Martin plucks out 50 to 100 and closes a good deal, and eats another plate of scallops.

Tom and Adam desperately seek some ideas as they have failed so far. Adam’s luxury seems to spread to takeaways.

Nick comes up with numbers for Marcus and they wrap up another deal. Ricky Martin also wraps another deal…and gets another plate of scallops. Very amusing! He either loves them or is pretty much sick of the sight of them. Why is he getting scallops from all the restaurants he visits? It is some kind of scallop conspiracy against him? Anyway, whilst Ricky Martin seems to be steaming ahead with negotiation, Stephen is playing virtual golf.

Tom and Adam have stumbled into Miller Harris. Adam tells the shopguy that he knows Muller Harris, but not quite as much as Tom, who knows them more as his girlfriend shops there. It’s all very nice if you discount the fact that moments before, they were bleating on about never having heard of it, but I guess you can’t mention that when you are trying to close a deal. Tom emphasises that there is only 4 mins left and they close a deal on some kind of candle. And this is the best deal that the pair of them have done today – seriously?!

The deals got to Keynoir who decide goes online. Phoenix have 6 deals and Sterling have an impressive 9 deals, but big numbers don’t count for anything if none of them are approved. Stephen utters that “I can look in the mirror and say I gave it 100%”, despite claiming that he needs to give 110% at the start of the show.


Sugar asks why Ricky Martin wasted so much time with Hotel Guy and didn’t state his intention at the start (“ a bad assumption”, explains Ricky Martin) but he praises his other deals. Overall, Sugar is impressed with Sterling made 9 deals with 3 vendors, which was “smart”. Jade describes her strategy for Phoenix to get one exclusive deal rather than doing multiple ones. Sugar criticises Adam and Tom’s deals, which were a bit lame to be honest. He says that he is worried about their view of a good deal. Tom says that Jade was a good PM but there was a lack of communication in the later stages of the day. Ooh-er.


Sterling – 3 deals accepted: Gabrielle and Stephen’s golf deal which sold 7, making £350, and Ricky Martin’s restaurant deals – 100 dinners and 90 lunches, generating £6090, making an overall £6440.

Phoenix – 2 deals accepted. Jade and Nick’s lunch deal sold 20 places (£5950) and the spa deal sold 87 (£8613) meaning that they make £14563. An emphatic win there.

Jade’s strategy pays off – she understood the task and Keynoir well. Adam and Tom are very lucky as they were useless in this task. The team get sent to Clifton for afternoon tea, which is free. Apparently it is The World’s Most Expensive Afternoon Tea at £500+ per person. Adam crafting asks whether they’ve considered doing a deal with a discount website. Ha too late, mate.

Back in the boardroom

Sugar learns that Ricky Martin only offered 100 dinners which sold out rapidly when he could have pushed for more, which was “sickening”. Ricky Martin says that he was naïve. The fact that Ricky Martin didn’t go to a famous health spa in West London (which would have done well) is brought up. Stephen blames his team for resisting. He then goes on to say that Ricky Martin doesn’t know London well so he thought he would send him further away. Stephen is asked if was so concerned, then why didn’t he go to the health spa himself, and is criticised for leaving Ricky Martin who doesn’t know London, on his own. Yet despite this, Ricky Martin still managed to make more money that Stephen and Gabrielle.

Ricky Martin’s defence includes:

“I brought in £6000. If there were 3 of me, we would have made 3 times as money!” (is the world ready for 3 Ricky Martins? There are already 2)

“I’m not a one-man band, but on this occasion, I was a one-man band!” ( a little self-contradictory, but I like it)

He blames Gabrielle and Stephen for letting the team down, blaming Stephen more. Stephen blames Ricky Martin for not attending the spa, before generally arguing with Ricky Martin whilst Gabrielle remains very quiet.

Stephen says that on all the tasks he has influenced someone (questionable) and that he is a “fighter”. He says that Gabrielle doesn’t do anything (which he has been repeating for a few weeks now). Gabrielle says that she is a “well rounded candidate”. Stephen says it is “the most passionate Gabrielle has been in the process” – boo.

Sugar asks again why they should stay in the competition. Stephen says, “I am straight – I show my weaknesses and my strengths” (although mainly weaknesses). Ricky starts off with “I am not only fantastic in my own industry” (humbles as ever) before saying that he adapts well to other situations. Sugar worries that Gabrielle has no fight or spark left in her. She makes an impassioned plea about how much she has learnt and contributed. She refers to this task quoting how Stephen made errors, to which Stephen interrupts and spouts out “focus on yourself”. Ricky Martin tells Stephen for being “condescending” and that he should let Gabrielle talk.

Sugar says that Ricky Martin not going to the spa was a mistake, Stephen didn’t win and panicked and whilst Gabrielle is nice, there was a lack of contribution. Gabrielle is fired, before Sugar ominously says “There’s no smoke without fire” and axes Stephen too. Yeeeey.

I think that Gabrielle was right to be fired – she is likeable but she hasn’t demonstrated business potential, and she has been fading since being very prominent in the earlier tasks. Stephen had the firing coming for a long time coming – he verges on bumbling to irritating – the way he picked on Gabrielle was dishonourable and the way in which he portrays himself in the boardroom, almost snakelike, is annoying. I can’t think of a time when Stephen did well, not even when he was PM in the exercise class task. The results of that was just ridiculous.

Back at the house, Nick says that if Stephen came back, he would be shocked. Ricky Martin comes back and Jade offers him some peppermint tea. Aww.

Final Five Candidates review:

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 9

It’s 5.45am and the phone rings. A bleary eyed Stephen in his dressing gown stumbles to answer the call (impressive as usually when the phone rings he is still dozing in bed). Cars will be arriving to take them to St Pancras’ International: the Champagne Bar – ooh…

“Out of his comfort zone” again…

Adam is complaining that Phoenix need to win. In the other taxi, Ricky Martin is basically saying how ace Sterling are and how much they are growing in confidence. Famous last words.


The Champagne Bar sells champagne and French wine. Sugar starts rambling on about how British wine is overloooked and sets the task of creating an online marketing campaign to raise awareness of British wine, including an ad and a website. Sugar decides to be wacky and asks Phoenix to nab a member off Sterling. An overexcited Adam and his team are unanimous in picking Nick, who has the best track record in the show and is proving to be a lucky charm for winning, so this is pretty understandable. The campaign will be presented to a panel of experts who will decide which team is the best.


On Sterling, everyone wants to be PM so they decide to take a vote. No one wants Jenna. Gabrielle and Jenna opt for Ricky Martin. Stephen doesn’t quite grasp the idea of the vote and tries to vote for himself (oh Stephen!) before voting for Ricky Martin too. On Phoenix, Tom puts himself forward for PM given his experience in working in a multi-million making fine wine company. This could be a good thing, or perhaps it is paving the way for another I-love-art-look-how-much-I-know-about-art episode, replacing art with wine. Ricky Martin isn’t too bothered about Phoenix’s experience, claiming that Sterling are underdogs in this task.


Adam ponders what is sparkling wine and whether it is different to champagne. Expert Tom says that they are both the same thnig except champagne is sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne area in France. He sums up by telling Adam that Champagne is like a brand name for sparkling wine, like Coca Cola is a brand name for Coca Cola in France (how he made that leap, I don’t know). And thus, Adam is educated.


It’s Stephen’s Name Time – we’ve seen Stephen name table sauce, and watch as he turns his hand to naming English sparkling wine! He bandies around some ideas, with such genius ideas such as CERT (what?), Grandeur (which is French, the type of wine that is making British wine feeling lonely and overlooked) and Chink (oh dear).


Ricky Martin and Jenna go to visit a vineyard somewhere in the UK and are told that quality is the most important thing when it comes to wine. Later, Ricky Marting reveals that he hates wine but judges that Tom will talk about how much he knows about wine and forget about the task in hand. He is an observant chap, must have seen last week’s ep.

It’s valuable research, honest!

Cut to Tom shwoing off his knowledge at a wine tasting, where he has brought Adam along for the ride. Adam is again “out of his comfort zone”, as he is told off by a wine guy for not holding the wine glass by the stem. Tsk. Whilst Tom can taste hints of vanilla, Adam can taste Christmas Cake.


An angry Stephen has a mini-meltdown in Tesco for not being able to find a wine connoisseur (not likely), or someone to tell him about what makes a good wine. There is many a shot of Stephen walking around – you would have thought that there would have been a member of staff to tell him that, at the very least, there is no such wine connoisseur there. Where are all the Tesco employees?!


Phoenix have decided to go for “English Sparkling Wine” as their brand name with grapes on the logo. Sterling have chosen Grandeur and their logo is a rose in a wine glass. Stephen has also created a slogan: “less fizz, more sparkle”, which sums up Grandeur. He forgot “French”.


Jenna reveals that when she gest married, she wants a throne and some English sparkling wine. Ahh…she will make some (un)lucky man happy one day. Ricky Martin wants a wedding theme to portray a sense of celebration.

Jenna’s wedding day, sorry, filiming for the ad, with Stephen

Whilst Sterling are cracking on with the task, Adama nd Tom are still gallivanting around, attending another wine tasting – well wouldn’t you? It is a perfect way to spend the day drinking, ahem, researching (for what though, I am not sure). Jade isn’t happy, especially as she and Nick are lumbered with doing the advertising and marketing work. Bet she would change her mind if she was in Adam’s place and doing some “researching” too. This research includes Adam getting very giggly and Tom not being able to speak:

English wine sparkling? No English wine sparking?

Ayyy, and he is the supposed favourite of the show? Try again Tom.


Ricky Martin instructs his team that whilst he supports an ad that is funny, he doesn’t want  it to be too funny. It must importantly has to emphasise QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY which Grandeur is, or “grandurgh” as Jenna pronounces it.


Phoenix are filiming their ad at an East London Gastro Pub where Jade and Adam are overseeing things. Adam, self-appointed choreoegrapher (how one fits this in with a wine ad? Answers on a postcard please), shows off his people skills. He starts off by saying that he doesn’t want to patronise the cast, and then patronisingly passing on his lesson about holding the wine glasses by the stem (the extra heat doesn’t impair the flavour of the wine, you see? Adam has learnt well). Jade points out that there is no dancing, so quite why Adam is a choreographer is a mystery. Come to think of it, roll out those Groove Train moves – it makes ESW more fun! At the end of filming, Jade asks Adam if he knows what being a choreographer means. He answers it means “making sure that everyone is in the right place” and that he has checked this meaning with everyone. I kinda suspect that everyone is playing a joke on Adam, or no one likes him much. Even Jade doesn’t bother to correct him. Aw.


Ricky Martin is on the phone, emphasising that the ad must mention quality and is classy, not cheesy. Jenna assures him it is classy, whilst she is recreating the set of a rubbish 90s sitcom at a posh English house with Stephen.


Nick and Tom are putting the finishing touches to their webiste. Karren remarks that it doesn’t look like it will appeal to new customers, which is what the task was designed for. Exeprt Tom casually mentions that he visits lots of wine websites and none fo them rivals Phoenix’s webpage. He doesn’t mention that it because it looks so boring that there is nothing considering rivalling with.


Jenna and Stephen reveal their “classy” ad, set to Take That’s Patience, to Nick and Ricky Martin. Nothing really seems to come together: the campaign’s message of quality, the hideous ad and a middle of the road pop song. Ricky Martin is speechless at the ad’s cheesiness. Phoenix’s ad isn’t really an ad at all, and the only thing that sticks in my mind is the continuing reference to “English”. Argh! No more! Nick nods at the ad whilst Tom says nothing.


Tom remains quiet, until he lets rip (sort of) in the taxi. He labels the ad “boring”. Nick agrees that the ad is “not great” (tactful), but yeah, the vid sucks.


Next, the team pitch to the panel of wine experts. Ricky Martin gives a clear and concise pitch for Sterling, and the website he created with Gabrielle looks pretty darn good. A quiz? Ooh…Social networking? Wow…What’s this? A special wine icon that leads to a new wine forum? Sparkling! The panel seem impressed, even with Stephen’s slogan. Then they see the ad. Wine guy describes the ad as “flippant” and almost seems offended by it. Ah.


Phoenix’s ad is described as being no different to other ads by a wine person. Adam answers that the occasion, setting and people are all English, and it is a gathering, not a celebration, which sets it apart from other ads (Except it doesn’t). Their link-to-other-wine-websites feature is higlighted by wine guy as something that will be hard to maintain. Tom says that they will regularly try to keep things updated, and if it’s not working, correct it ASAP. Wine guy labels this as “annoying” for customers to find that things aren’t working.


It seems more likely that Sterling will win the task – they have a briiliant concept and website, although their ad could let them down. Phoenix’s campaign is a little disappointing given the fact that Tom has experience in the wine market, and Jade and Nick have knowledge in their respective areas, but then again, who can tell?


I hate the phrase “English sparkling wine” – I’ve heard it too much, it is almost as bad as Azhar’s overuse of the word “strategy” it hurts the ears. Sugar identifies Jade, Nick and Tom as experts in their fields in respect to the task but what about Adam? Tom makes up the title of “creative director” for him, although he could have opted for “choreographer who doesn’t really choreograph” – one for the business cards there. The team idea is to put an “English sparkling wine” logo on wine bottles. Sugar has a look at the webiste and the ad, and then asks what the URL for the website is -“!?” (nice!) He comments that the website and its links to buy British wines appears to be more like a sales ptich rather than promoting wines.


Ricky Martin mentions that competing against Phoenix is a bit like David vs Goliath, and David wins here. It seems a bit odd for someone who would once call himself alpha-male/shark/best of the best to settle for a lowly weak boy in this scenario. Sugar is shocked by the ad, accusing it of making a mockery of the wine business. Jenna says it was a risky move but the ad would generate publicity. Sugar manages to summon up some praise for the logo Gabrielle created.


Results: Phoenix missed the point of the task but even though Sterling started off well, they “messed up” with the ad, so Phoenix win.

Not sure if it is a rightful win though. From wine to “other bubbles”, Phoenix win the reward of a trip to a boutique hotel where they sit in a jacuzzi with a beautifule view of London, or a fresh bath with 3 other people on a roof. In the cold.


Meanwhile, Sugar is doing some Kenneth Williams impressions (I don’t think there was any need for that) as he lambasts the ad for its use of humour and compares it to a Carry On film. Jenna again states that it was a risk that didn’t work, and Stephen just calls it “a bad day at the office”, which is rather a blase thing to say in a competition like this. He then says that least he contributed, unlike Gabrielle. Ricky Martin defends Gabrielle and Gabrielle speaks up for herself, before telling the supermarket story with Stephen shouting out “specifics!” at random intervals. Everyone is in consensus that the advert is the reason why the team lost, so Ricky Martin brings back Jenna and Stephen. Please fire Stephen.


Ricky Martin is picked on by Sugar for entering the task with a defeatist attiude and making excuses for the loss by declaring Sterling as underdogs. The main focus of discussion is that “classy” ad and Ricky Martin asserts that he told the team he didn’t want anything cheesy for the campaign, which Nick Hewer agrees with, and either no one listened or Stephen let Jenna do what she wanted. Sugar then asks why Ricky Martin didn’t go to the filming himself, but in all fairness, Jenna and Stephen were adamant that they were fulfilling Ricky’s brief and he would have trusted them, hence there is no need to attend filming.


Jenna thinks Stephen should be fired. Ricky thinks that Stephen should be fired. I think Stephen should be fired. Stephen thinks that he should be given another chance as PM and HE WILL WIN. Ricky Martin and his twice-being-PM/twice-losing-as-PM is brought up, although I think that in both cases he was let down by the rest of the team, and Ricky mentions that on both occasions he was up against experts in the relevant field (which could corroborate Sugar’s accusation of making excuses) which he surmises shows that he is brave to take on the challenge. Then he calls Stephen a “deflector”. Hah.


Sugar lets Stephen stay but he has to prove his word and win next week, or else…Sugar lays a lot of blame at Ricky’s door for not attending the filming but fires Jenna.

Delusions of Grandurgh prove costly for Jenna

Again, like Laura, Jenna hasn’t really shone much in the show or done anything that indicates her potential, so I would agree with the decision. I think that Ricky Martin did well as PM and Stephen didn’t perform well at all, but his fast talking has managed to keep in the show, again! Stephen talks the talk but he has no substance that proves that he is a good business partner. His only talent seems to be coming up with bad ideas.


On reflection, I think that Phoenix should have lost – they didn’t get the meaning of the task and their efforts were uninspiring. Tom appears to have taken a step backwards from his “potential winner” status and in this episode, he has shown a lack of good leadership or strategy. Instead he has been swanning off drinking with Adam and talking up his extensive knowledge of wine to the detriment of the task itself. He owes a lot to Jenna’s creative vision, or perhaps Nick, a lucky charm for victory, because if they did lose, Tom would have been a likely candidate to get fired.


Next week, it is all about doing deals. Ricky Martin failing to do a deal with a man in a flower shop. Jade is apologising for having no plan when it comes to trying to make a deal with someone. Tom only has less than 4 mins to close a particular deal. And Ricky Martin is having a bit of a mini-tantrum, screeching down the phone “You don’t have to tell me how to suck eggs!!!”


The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 8

It’s 6am and the call comes to announce that the candidates are getting picked up soon to take them to Waterloo Station. Why is it that the guys are always half asleep whilst the girls are halfway getting ready?

Underneath the arches at Waterloo Station is a large HD TV screen with Lord Sugar on display: an advert as to why we shouldn’t have HD. The candidates are gathered in a dodgy grafittied, dirty, smelly archway, which relates to urban art you see. The candidates are to pick two artists and whoever makes the most commission wins.

On Sterling, Stephen and Gabrielle want to PM. Gabrielle reels off a looonnng speeech about her past experience dabbling in the art world. No one even bothers to hear out how Stephen can contribute to the role.

On Phoenix, Tom wants to PM. Unexpectedly he is a big fan of street art, and can tell the difference between good and bad graffiti. Good for him. Adam thought it was the artist who sells it, but according to street art expert Tom, it is all about the message and history apparently…

Gabrielle’s main message as PM is to BE ENTHUSIASTIC. Ricky Martin talks up the advantage of providing a “personable and professional service”. Nick suggests that they take off their ties. Steady on there Nick, don’t go too crazy.

Artist no.1 is SPQR. Adam has become an art expert himself. He has already compared Banksy to The Stig. He comments on how much he loves the syringe painting. He then tries explaining his interpretations/bullshitting about each picture. The painting of the bike means that kids aren’t kids for long enough anymore. Yep.

Sugar has also laid on corporate clients for the teams to sell art to. Phoenix call on Renault, who I wouldn’t ordinarily associate with street art. Tom and Laura pitch first and ask all the right questions. Renault says that they want something that encapsulates Frenchness, sexiness and innovation. Can they find it in one of the artists’ work? Time will tell, but Nick Hewer is impressed and said that Tom did well and will be brilliant as PM.

Sterling go to visit Beefeater Gin. Yes, a distillery needs art, or so I am told. Karren is not impressed as the team didn’t ask proper questions, you know, about size or budget!

Artist no.2 is Nathan Bowen, who used to be a builder. His pictures resemble something like a Star Wars character gone haywire (Happy belated Star Wars Day btw May 4th). Gabrielle thinks that it is perfect for the distillery. I think it looks like crap. Jenna loves it.

Nathan Bowen and his unique British vision

Ricky Martin and Nick are walking down the streets. Ricky Martin hates the graffiti on the streets and says that no one would buy it. He describes it as a “crazy alien workman peeing on another one”. Nick is not too fond of it either.

Artist no.3 is Copyright. Ricky Martin loves it. Nick loves it too. And the artist has a proven record of selling all of his 50 paintings in one day. Could be a good idea to select them no?

Artist no.4 is Pure Evil. Gah what a name. I bet his real name is something like Ian Smith. Something totally ordinary. Or Melville. Tom explains how he has street art in his house (this I cannot picture) and then he starts name dropping heavily. Nick Hewer thinks that it is good that Tom has extensive knowledge of the area but they aren’t selling the team well to the artist. Compare this to Gabrielle, who loves everything. She is selling herself brilliantly, according to Karren.

Adam and Jade go to visit Copyright. The painting of the 2 topless ladies is apparently the thing that strikes Adam the most. He says that he could stare at is for ages. Appreciation of art or just slightly creepy?

Adam and art. Like chalk and cheese.

Artist no.5 is James Jessop – an odd/mad man who is obsessed with horror and gore. His painting “Subway Fiction” is what would happen if he travelled back to 1982 and sprayed a train. His words, not mine. And he sells his stuff for around £10,000 each?! Tom says that it is an acquired taste and in flowery language, basically says that he hates it. Stephen thinks that it is fantastic – the “reason for art” or something…

It’s choices time, and Gabrielle wants to go for Pure Evil and Nathan Bowen. Tom plumps for Copyright and Pure Evil. Pure Evil sides with Gabrielle and her team when Tom makes the call, and Tom flounders for a bit when he has to decide what to do next, having made no second choice. He calls up Jade and Adam, who suggest SPQR but label him as controversial. Tom declares it a no-win situation and plumps for James Jessop, holding on to a small hope that if they sell one painting it could win them the task.

tom gearing on the apprentice

Floundering Tom

Tom has a mini moan about it some more. It states that “having knowledge and rapport counts for nothing” and that “Pure Evil must be mental” for going with Sterling. Tom is not a happy bunny.

The galleries are ready to go at Brick Lane. Ah…the candidates favourite place! How will the guys dress this time? Eh…no one is really that bothered this time around.

Ricky Martin is not happy about Nathan Bowen being the 2nd choice for artist. He thought that there was one artist who was completely wrong for the distillery, and it turns out it was the one that Gabrielle had chosen.

Surprisingly, Adam’s bullshitting, sorry naivety about the art world is working and he is selling, selling, selling. He muses to the camera, “someone asked me about medium. I thought medium was a psychic medium”. Ha. Meanwhile, Laura is asking everyone how they are, and not much else. Jokingly, she says that Adam keeps jumping in when there is prospective sales to be made. I can’t believe that Adam is doing well in a task again. What happened when he used to be Adam the idiot?

The Apprentice 2012: episode eight

For Phoenix, it is all about selling a Jessop, and Tom thinks that he might have someone interested, but whether he can close the deal is another thing that remains to be seen.

On Sterling’s side, Nathan Bowen is doing a live show but none of his stuff appears to be selling, whilst Pure Evil is flying off the shelves (so to speak). But then a man wants to spend £3000 on Bowen’s paintings. Ricky Martin cleverly gets him to spend more.

The corporate clients arrive, and Tom wines and schmoozes Renault. I still can’t see the connection between street art and chic though. On Sterling’s side, the clients walk through unnoticed until they meet a clueless Stephen. Karren sees this as a lesson in how not to sell – don’t meet them or offer a drink, don’t introduce them to the rest of the team, dn’t say goodbye as they leave. Oh Stephen!

Boardroom time, and Sugar says that “the writing will be on the wall for one of you” in a task related pun. hahahahahahahahahah. hah. Sugar highlights Adam as the prime example of the meaning of the task, doing well in something out of one’s comfort zone. What world is this when Adam is doing well?!

Things that are highlighted are Tom and Laura’s lack of enthusiasm for Pure Evil, and losing them as a client, and Gabrielle not asking the right questions to the distillery. Gabrielle worryingly says that she didn’t ask about the budget on purpose – she wanted to find the art and then the client would pay any price for it. Sugar notes that they had a £10,000 budget yet they picked cheap art by selecting Nathan Bowen’s work.


Phoenix – £2000 from Renault and £2442 from the gallery sales

Sterling – no orders from the distillery, but £4574.62 from the gallery sales – A SLIM WIN.

Sterling are rewarded with an action painting session, i.e. throwing paint around. Tom blames himself for the loss.

Back in the boardroom, conversation is directed at Tom’s poor planning and high risk strategy before moving on to sales. No surprise that Adam came top, but Laura is picked on as the worst seller despite owning her own shop. Laura’s defense is to say that Adam was blagging. She then blames Tom for the loss, before Jade jumps in and says that Laura was there when Tom made the decision and could have stepped in.

Tom decides to bring back Jade and Laura in the final three. Sugar picks on Laura’s CV in which she says that sales is her strongest point and reels off an impressive sales history. Tom accuses Laura of taking  a back seat in the task. Sugar accuses Jade of being indecisive as she failed to help Tom with picking a new second painter.

Tom talks about how he makes decisions based on his own instinct which leads Sugar to question whether it is a matter of Tom’s way or the highway. Tom talks about his background, and then Sugar asks him if he is on the show for the right reasons. Blimey, where did that come from? I thought you loved Tom?

Laura is fired in the end for not fulfilling the image that she put across in her CV. It was basically Tom’s fault that they lost the task but I think that Laura hasn’t really shone throughout the process and perhaps enough is enough. Tom didn’t perform too well this week, but in the past few shows he had become increasingly strong. That being said, if he had managed to sell one of the Jessop paintings, he would have been praised immensely.

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 7

It’s 5pm and the candidates are lazing around until the phone rings. Stephen answers the call, telling him that cars will be arriving to take them all to a wholesale warehouse in Essex. Cue Essex generalisation from Adam, who is talking about getting a spray tan there. Meanwhile, Jade says that she is not on the show to make friends and has no problem managing people underneath her. Gabrielle utters that no Project Mangers have left. This is all surely a bad sign for Jade, who at the very least should expect to lose.

The task is to use £150 seed money to buy and sell stock, and then to rebuy popular stock to make more profit (the smelling what’s selling task). The team with the greatest value of assets wins. Sugar switches the teams slightly, sending Stephen to Sterling and Laura to Phoenix. He also hints that those who haven’t been PM should considering volunteering this time around. Jade takes that hint and puts herself up for the role, quoting that she is a “born leader”.

On Sterling, Ricky Martin and Nick want the role of PM, but the team vote for Nick. The teams have 2 locations to sell from, and Ricky Martin suggests Romford as it is close to the warehouse. Location sorted, they get to grips with deciding on stock. Stephen proclaims that he could easily sell a beard trimmer for £10. Nick Hewer thinks that Sterling are being efficient.

On Phoenix, Jade is dithering on location. For someone who has quietly impressed for the last 6 weeks, she isn’t proving to be a strong PM. After much deliberating, the team have 10 minutes to buy stock, which includes a vibrating novelty toy. The tan that Sterling opted for (avidly backed by Jenna and Ricky Martin) is dismissed quickly by Laura. Tom states that the product with the highest profit margin is the hot water bottle. Karren thanks God that Tom is thinking about the business side of things, unlike the rest of the team.

Nick and his sub-team appear to be targeting the beauty market, which is a good idea. They have identified a direction in their products compared to the disorganisation of Phoenix, who have bought a wide variety of stock rather haphazardly. Azhar notes that location further away from the warehouse should have more stock, which makes sense, but Jade insists on splitting the stock 50 50. Azhar bemoans that Jade has “no strategy”.

6.30am Day 1. On Sterling, Nick, Jenna and Gabrielle head off to Romford Shopping Centre, and Ricky Martin and Stephen travel to Romford Market. On Phoenix, Tom, Laura and Azhar are going to Ilford Shopping centre, and Adam and Jade are going 15 miles further to Pitsea Market.

At Romford Market, Stephen has come over all “Only Fools and Horses”. He intends to form a double act with Ricky Martin with a “genius” idea of pretending that Stephen has a bad back to sell their super mops. No one seems to take notice apart from amused fellow market traders, and put it this way, Stephen won’t be winning any acting awards for his portrayal as Man With A Bad Back. Surprisingly though, it does manage to ensnare one customer, and Ricky Martin offers her her favourite mop out of 10 of her own choosing. The customer wryly notices that the mops are all the same.

At Romford Shopping Centre, Nick is offering free haircuts for life! Well for £5…for his hair (look at packet) trimmer. Is it not worrying that he has to look at the product to finds out its name when he should know what it is already? Jenna and her fake tan is proving to be a popular choice, and Nick Hewer notes that soon everyone in Essex will have a tan (well if they don’t all have one already).

Sales are slow at Ilford Shopping Centre and Tom, Azhar and Laura are looking bored. At the market, things are going well when Jade decides to slash the prices of everything – not by putting a price number on it, but by using the words “Really Cheap”, like the “Really Cheap” MP3 Speakers. This is her strategy: why use numbers when you can sell it with words. (mind you, if someone offered me really cheap MP3 speakers, I would run a mile…there must be something wrong with them? Why are you selling them really cheap? Why?! Why?!) Adam is proving to be in his element here, bringing in his market trader background (and slimy patter: (to two old ladies) Shout out a number, not your phone number but a price!) and selling well.

In Romford it is raining. Perhaps it is the heaven’s way of punishing Stephen for his bad back story. Ricky Martin suggests coming to the shopping centre. Nick tells Ricky Martin and Stephen to buy more tan. Apprentice Poetry moment: “They want that tan as soon as they can”.

In Ilford it is sunny. Azhar calls Adam and Jade to ask about their strategy. Jade gives a flustered response telling Azhar that they are going to buy more stuff.

Nick and his sub-team are forced to sell their beard trimmers after they have run out of tan. Noooooo. Nick still doesn’t grasp what the product is: Some hair…ermm…(look at packet) clippers. Gabrielle’s approach is to shout out “BEARD TRIMMERS! GET YOUR BEARD TRIMMERS HERE!” at a deafening volume that catches the attention of two old ladies (who don’t need beard trimmers). No one seems to be attracted to the beard trimmers. Think back to when Stephen said that he could easily sell beard trimmers for a tenner (grr…Stephen!). It doesn’t help that most of the customers are women, who are lacking in beards.

At Ilford Shopping Centre, the I-insects are selling well. Tom notes that there is a good margin – bought for 60p and selling them for £2-3. He suggests buying more of these but Jade insists of having a wider variety of stock items. Tom and Laura are not happy. Karren states that Jade is not smelling what is selling.

Ricky Martin and Stephen are stuck in traffic! Nick chimes in a bit of poetry on the phone: “We need as much tan as we can!”. Nick then goes on about how Jenna is the only one who know how to sell tan and can train Ricky and Stephen in the art of selling tan. Ricky Martin asks Stephen: how hard can it be?

On the other team, Azhar is on the phone to Adam and Jade, reeling off a long speech about strategy. I suspect Adam and Jade were falling asleep as they answer with “Thank you bye!” before hanging up. Jade says that Azhar is “annoying”. Aww.

Ricky Martin and Stephen finally reach the warehouse but disaster strikes! There are only 84 bottles of tan left. Nick and Gabrielle are in despair, and Nick makes the agonizing decision to plump for hot water bottles. At Ilford Shopping Centre, Phoenix are going well with their bug things. At Romford it is quiet, as Nick and his sub-team wait for 2 hours without any tan, and are forced to turn away customers. When the tan arrives, Jenna ups the price from £8 to £10. Ricky Martin is annoyed however that he is not selling, as Nick sends Ricky and Stephen to get more stock again.

The two do eventually get to sell. Stephen has an awesome selling style: “Some things in life you can make a decision…it can be good or it can be bad” – this is for the beard trimmer!!!

Time is running out, and Ricky Martin suggests cutting prices to attract more interest, but Nick stands his ground and reject this idea. Jade has different ideas and her mind is focused on sell, sell, sell at really cheap prices. Considering that the results are about assets too, this could be a bad idea. The lower prices can really eat into the numbers.

In the boardroom, Ricky Martin holds his tongue and says that Nick was a good PM and that he didn’t mind wearing fake tan. The fact that Ricky Martin and Stephen didn’t pass on the leftover stock from the market to Nick and his sub-team when they had little to sell is picked up. Nick Hewer isn’t impressed, telling Ricky Martin that he shouldn’t plead that he was too far away to pass the stock on when he was only a few minutes from the shopping centre.

On Phoenix, Adam is praised for his sales, something he can actually claim credit for this time (annoyingly, he wasn’t that annoying or useless this week). Azhar reveals that Jade had no strategy but she was a good organiser. Jade hits back saying that he could have told her this at the time. Azhar assures that did (and he did – a lot!)

Phoenix made £422.61, had £415.60 of stock giving them a result of £838.20.
Sterling made £681.30, had £273.90 of stock, giving them a result of £955.20 Win

As a reward, Sterling get sent to a cocktail bar with UK Bartender of the Year. Wooooahhh. As the team toast, Stephen remarks that the cocktail “tastes a little bit like Phoenix at the minute. Bitter!” (Oh Stephen!)

I think that Jade should be fired. She has no proper plan implemented and crucially she failed to understand the point of the task in buying and selling. This episode, she has proved to be disappointing as PM, and as we start to see more of her, she comes across as unlikeable, uncooperative and unwilling to listen.

At the café, blame is directed towards Jade, so much so, that Jade even blames herself as PM, but she probably won’t admit this in the boardroom. Adam says that she sold loads and doesn’t worry – he is fine.

Phoenix return to the boardroom and Sugar highlights the lower selling price of the fake tan compared to Sterling, turning his attentions to Tom. Tom says that he relied on Laura and Jade, who know more about the beauty sector that he does, coupled with the fact that Jade lowered prices later on in the day. Jade says that normally, she spends £7 to £10 on a bottle of fake tan, but the warehouse fake tan looked cheap. A bit of a boo boo there Jade.

Sugar then picks up on how more stock was sold at Pitsea market and asks why a higher percentage of stock wasn’t sold there. Jade says she couldn’t have predicted how things would go on the day, backed by Adam, who seems to have become increasingly pally with Jade after criticising her lack of creativity a few weeks ago. Katie who?

Azhar telles Sugar that Pitsea was his idea, as well as having a 70/30 split of the stock in favour of Pitsea, which Jade denies hearing (I heard him!)
Adam and Jade gang up on Azhar, saying that all he did was moan.

Jade decides to bring back Azhar (he “caused a problem”) and Tom (why I am not sure). Even Tom is not sure either (“…even though I made the right decisions…”). Jade squeals, “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO CHOOSE!”, before Sugar instructs her that as team leader, she is responsible for assessing the good and the bad of the task ( this indicates Jade’s weak leadership and inability to make decisions – there is no way that Jade can save herself now!). In the end, she sticks with her initial decision.

Lord Sugar highlights that Jade’s application form states that her worst business skill is her rashness, something that we saw in this ep. Jade admits that she shouldn’t have brought Tom in but felt under pressure to make a decision. Tom defends himself, saying that Adam was a good salesman but other qualities are important too. Jade says that she didn’t prepare to lose, she prepared to win, which is the reason she faltered on deciding who she should bring back to the boardroom. Whether this amounts to a good excuse remains to be seen.

Jade then turns on Azhar, saying that he kept questioning strategy but provided no solution. Tom states that Azhar likes to waffle but he was right about product selection. Jade then tells Sugar that she should stay because she has a brilliant business plan which can produce groups of multi-million making businesses (oh dear). She then rambles on about how amazing she is as a business woman, and has good people skills, unlike Azhar (aw).

Sugar wonders if Azhar is a “moaner” and not a doer. Tom is safe, and Jade is too enthusiastic and Sugar can’t accept Jade bringing back Tom. However, he goes on to say that he admires Jade’s enthusiasm and fires Azhar. Jade doesn’t even bother to say to Azhar outside the boardroom, just walking off. Tom shakes hands and bids farewell to Mr Groove Train/ Azhar. Sugar states that Azhar was a nice guy but “who wants to go into business with someone who no-one else listen to?”

In the taxi, Azhar thinks that the decision was wrong and I would agree. The loss was completely Jade’s fault and her lack of direction and understanding cost the team dearly. Azhar may have brought up their strategy a lot, but he had some decent points to make and Jade didn’t consider them. Yet she is still in the competition and Azhar is out.

Back at the house, Tom says that Azhar didn’t want to beg to stay and Jade says that she wanted to fight to keep her place in the competition. Adam tells Jade, “Well done! Good on you!” and in that moment, I realise that Adam and Jade are very similar in some respects…(overenthusiastic, grating, mildly escaping the axe and failing to understand the meaning of the tasks)

At the moment, there don’t appear to be many favourites in the show. Nick has proved to be of some talent but some of his decision making, such as not to try to sell the leftover stock from Romford Market, is a bit questionable. The only one who seems to standing out is Tom, cool, calm and collected, a good leader and a team player, good business sense and planning skills (and it doesn’t hurt that he is good looking too). He’s not completely perfect – remember his duh moment with the York Hall/ Your Call? All in all, I am a bit of a Tom fan and he seems to be a highly credible candidate, which probably means that he won’t win the show (the favourite never does, god forbid it may be Adam!!!??!) but I think he will go far in the competition.

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 6

It’s 5pm and Ricky “The Fitness” Martin is having a Wii Fit showdown with Adam “The Idiot” Corbally, who is attempting to push and cheat his way to victory. (Did they not have enough of fitness last week?) Laura is looking puzzled when it is her go, but luckily she is saved by the unexpected arrival of Lord Sugar. He doesn’t bother to join in with the fun and games, instead just revealing that this week’s task is to create a mobile restaurant in the “culinary capital of Scotland”, Edinburgh (the location isn’t even related to the task at all, except the fact that the candidates might be sitting in the kitchen where food is made– I am disappointed). He throws emphasis on high quality street food before making Adam PM of Phoenix and Jenna PM of Sterling, before disappearing into the night/evening.

Adam shows off his modest side

Street selling – I’m perfect!

Before putting forward the idea of a traditional Scottish street food stall with haggis and deep fried Mars bards (mmm…gourmet), ruling out Japanese food for no apparent reason, and incurring the wrath of Japanese viewers. Tom leaps to the defence of Japanese cuisine, saying it is becoming more and more popular nowadays, and it shouldn’t be ruled out. Adam tactfully answers this with “WHO EATS SUSHI?” Azhar wings in a chicken wrap idea before the team settle on Italian street food.

Jenna announces that she cannot cook but has experience in the restaurant business. Sterling opt for a Scottish stew route.

Whilst Stephen, Katie and Jade are discovering that high quality ingredients are a must from the vendors who won Dish Of The Year in 2011 (what this dish was, I’m not sure), Adam is thinking of how cheap he can make everything, at the expense of good quality, en route to Edinburgh. He is rolling around ideas of “cheap and simple” – pasta and corned beef (?!). Corned beef is disgusting –urgh. Tom agrees. All this talk of food (if you can call corned beef that) is making Adam hungry.

Elsewhere on the train, Nick and Gabrielle are researching potential pitches for their mobile restaurant, and call up a local hotelier. Nick asks about some locations, including Tynecastle Stadium, where there is a football match on the day. The 

hotelier suggests it might not be the best choice to sell gourmet food. On Phoenix, Katie is actually staking her claim, and her reputation, on selling at Tynecastle Stadium – Stephen is wary, but concedes in the end.

Jenna is wittering on about a pure Scottish language and worries that she won’t understand Scottish people, asking Laura to translate for her. Oh my…

The teams head off to the kitchen to create their vision of gourmet street food. On Phoenix, Adam is still thinking, “cheap, cheap, cheap” and asks about using dried rosemary instead of fresh. Mattia the chef looks shocked – dried?! Adam perseveres saying that they should use dried as it is cheap whilst Tom expresses that he doesn’t always have to think of cheapness – quality is important too. Nick Hewer agrees. Enough said.

In creating names, Adam has got the permission from Mattia to use his name for the brand, Mattia’s Meatballs. In a taxi, Stephen and his sub-team are thinking up some concepts. Stephen wants high-end Italian (like Belissimo with 1 L?). Jade suggests “Utterly Delicious”, which is put through to Adam, and he has reservations about it – nowhere is there mention of Italian or meatballs (I agree, it reminds me of a buttery spread). The idea of Mattia’s Meatballs isn’t completely embraced by the branding team, and Adam is now proposing to add “meatballs” to the end of “Utterly Delicious”, but says he will leave it to Stephen to decide.

Sterling are creating “Gourmet Scot-Pot”: a name that refers to the food itself and the country of cuisine. Take note, Phoenix!

It is selling day, and Adam takes his Utterly Delicious Meatballs (or Morrisons value pasta with odd-shaped meatballs – mmm belissimo!) to Tynecastle Stadium, whilst Azhar is dressed as Julius Caesar, Katie is dressed as pizza (surely she should be dressed as a meatball?) and Stephen is dressed as Italy, and they all head off onto the streets of Edinburgh tod rum up trade. On Sterling, Laura and Ricky Martin have also taken to costumes – traditional Scottish dresswear. They do a bit of Highland flinging before nabbing a real Scottish bagpipe player to play near their food can, located in Parliament Square.

Adam is setting a price of £5.99 for his Utterly Delicious Meatballs, whilst the public at the football ground are scoffing cheap burgers and chips. I am worried. Tom is worried. Katie is worried too. She wants to charge more – £7.99, which is dismissed by Adam.

Stephen, Katie and Azhar have arranged a deal to speak on tourist buses at Grassmarket.  Stephen is ecstatic at this and acts like he has won the task. Steady on there.

Selling is slow on both sides. On Sterling, Jenna wants Laura and Ricky Martin to stop “chatting” to people and start bringing them to the stall to buy food. Laura isn’t happy and to the camera, states that Jenna is already “pointing fingers” to cover her own back should the team lose. At Tynecastle Stadium, Adam has only sold 12 Utterly Delicious Meatballs, and decides to lower the price. Having seen the box, it doesn’t look like you get much – I wouldn’t pay £2 for that! After this, Adam and his selling team head off to Grassmarket.


Katie, Azhar and Stephen run up some stairs as Stephen shouts:

Phoenix! Flight of the Phoenix!

as they head off to the first bus. Pitch begins like so

Katie emergers onto the top deck and exclaims:

“Look at me! What kind of food do you think I’ll be bringing you?”

Random stranger shouts out, “Pizza?” (Haaaaaaaah)

Katie now has to improvise

“No…think outside the pizza box…”

Silence descends

Katie squeals, “Meatballs!”

After that amazing pitch, they make no sales and they miss the next bus to pitch on. Adam is not a happy meatball and thinks that the bus pitch was a terrible idea. I think the whole team, except Tom (the only one talking sense) sucks. But they’ll probably win now, won’t they?

Ricky Martin and Laura spot an Aberdeen Angus steal at Princes Street, where there are lots of people and they are hungry, so Jenna moves their van. It pays off as sales increase. Ricky Martin propositions two women who walk past. “Fancy some dinner?” he asks, but the two women just walk past him.

In the final stages of the day, both teams are attempting to get rid of everything. Stephen is selling Utterly Delicious Meatballs as the “perfect Scottish meatball” – I thought it was Italian? Adam decides to cut his prices even more, and then asks where Katie is. Azhar asks a squirrel if he wants some meatballs. The squirrel scuttles away – the thought of Azhar Caesar selling some slop is not a good one. But this has to be the highlight of the series, and I love Azhar for asking the squirrel.

On Sterling, Nick proposes to Jena that they should lower the price of Gourmet Scot-Pot. Jenna is unsure, and Karren talks about how there is little room to manoeuvre in terms of pricing because of the expensive ingredients. Jenna umms and aahs for a bit before agreeing with Nick, and they sell their Scot-Pots for £4, or 2 for £6.

On Phoenix, Katie is still missing!

At the end of the day, Adam congratulates his team, whilst Jenna is not confident that she had led Sterling to a win.

It’s boardroom time – do the candidates always have to wear the same clothes each time? Perhaps it is a condition stipulated in their contract. I feel sorry for Maria – she chose that awful purple monstrosity, only to be forced to wear it week after week. Maybe she chose to get herself fired so she could be free of all the purple.

Adam smugly talks about how he used cheap ingredients such as his 1% pork 99%fat (or thereabouts) meatballs. Sugar looks alarmed, causing Adam to stumbles over his “quality meatballs” and he backtracks massively, and says that he used good (cheaper) ingredients that didn’t compromise quality, emphasising the quality aspect. He asks Tom to help him, and he supports what Adam said (…)

Adam then takes credit for adding “Meatballs” to the name and Jade laughs, saying that they would have added “Meatballs” to the name anyway (hmm…). Sugar points out that Utterly Delicious Meatballs is not Italian and reprimands Adam for not using Mattia’s Meatballs as the name, which sounds more expensive, and oh, Italian!

Sterling’s costs are discussed, and Ricky Martin that they spend “around £268.82”, which sounds very accurate for an approximation.

Results! Phoenix spent £90.25, made £388.29, and made a profit of £298.04. Sterling spent around £268.82, made £588.60, generating a profit of £319.78. Sterling win!

Wow, I thought through some terrible twist of fate that Phoenix would win but it turns out good quality produce and strategy does matter for something in the end. My faith is restored after the shambles of the victory of Groove Train (well, until next week probably).

Apprentice poetry of the week comes courtesy of Lord Sugar:

One thing you can’t cook,

And they are the books.

On their reward, Sterling are at a 5 star country club and are riding Segways. Nick falls off and Laura shouts at him. Nick is a dangerous fiend on a Segway, who would have imagined? Ricky Martin is scared as Jenna prepares to open the champagne bottle. Jenna asks why he is scared and he replies that she is about to open the champagne into the faces of her teammates. It doesn’t take much to scare Ricky “The Fitness” Martin, the manliest of men, the alpha male, the shark and professional wrestler, but apparently, Jenna and a champagne bottle will do the trick.

In the café, Adam is acting rather blasé about the result, stating “Ech…you win some, you lose some”, before bitching to the camera that the loss is not his fault at all, Jade and Katie are to blame, as they are marketing experts but they didn’t do well in the task. Katie blames Adam and his  bad PM skills, while Stephen blames Katie and Azhar for lack of contribution.

Sugar immediately pounces on the lack of sales and lack of quality, to which Adam protests that Utterly Delicious Meatballs is gourmet. Sugar then compares Adam’s meatballs to looking like elephant poo (touché). Katie says that Adam didn’t listen to the research from the food fair that highlighted the importance of high quality ingredients. Katie then goes on about a £6 burger (WOW) at a football ground, to which Sugar wittingly replies “in Chelsea!”

Stephen says that Adam should have used his common sense at Tynecastle Stadium and lowered prices earlier. Stephen’s next plan is to alert Adam to how he is focusing on those who contributed and not those who didn’t, pointing to “quiet as a mouse” Azhar. Stephen, you leave Azhar alone – he tried to sell meatballs to a squirrel (oh and some other stuff to do with sales and publicity). Tom blames the Grassmarket location, and says that he warned Stephen about it. Stephen says that the steam from the meatball van must be getting to Tom’s head as he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Tom answers “Stephen, why do you lie? I did tell you!”

(I think that this all deserves a big “Oh Stephen!”)

And there’s more. Stephen has another argument with Azhar about how he supposedly deflects questions. Stephen answers Azhar’s criticisms and questions, by deflecting them obviously, which helps his case – not (oh Stephen!).

Although threatening to choose Jade, Adam brings back Katie and Azhar. I have a feeling that Azhar might be fired as he didn’t contribute massively to this task and he has been quiet during the weeks so far, but he will be fondly remembered for his Groove Train video and his squirrel moment.

Adam talks up his background as a market trader and his success in running a “big operation” but Sugar is cynical – the market trader mentality (i.e. emphasis on sell, lack of emphasis on quality) might have hindered Adam’s strategy. Adam goes on to boast how he is the best salesman, best negotiator, basically best at everything before Azhar scoffs at this, and points out that Adam wasn’t the best at this task.

Adam then hits back, saying that he has 5 times more experience than Azhar has. Azhar swiftly and coolly says that Adam could have 200 times more experience – it doesn’t change the result of the task. Sugar wonders if Adam is out of his depth (yes he is!). Azhar details how Adam relied on Stephen too much (Katie agrees) and Sugar is left thinking if Adam can be a good leader.

Adam blames the loss on Katie – the football location was poor and the disappearance: she was nowhere to be seen, whereas Azhar was bringing in lots of customers (hey – you just said that Azhar didn’t contribute much. Sneaky of Adam, sensing that Azhar is running rings around him in the boardroom, he now picks on Katie to save his skin). Katie denies disappearing – she was also bringing people in, she says.

Sugar then asks why they should stay in the competition. Azhar says that he “literally does not stop working”, and he grew his successful business using his £2500 redundancy package – a good, and admirable, answer. Adam’s answer is to spout out, “I’m perfect as a business partner”, to which Sugar asks for more originality. Adam then says he has potential and wants a change to prove this. Sugar points out that Adam had a chance – as PM, and he failed. Adam says “good on you” for giving him the PM role. Not a great answer by any means. Katie says that she is brilliant and has good people skills.

Sugar says that although Azhar is quiet, he has spoken up today and makes a lot of sense. Adam is too enthusiastic, but made errors. He the blames Katie for giving Adam the wrong information. At the end, Sugar opts to give Adam another chance to assert his authority (what?!) and after 3 times in the final 3, Katie has run out of luck and is fired.

Back at the house, Tom is telling the other candidates that he had a struggle to work with Adam before Adam and Azhar return. Azhar reveals to the rest of the house that Adam was very close to being fired, before Adam chips in that Azhar got a stern warning too. Azhar says that Sugar only told him to speak up more, and Adam claims credit for saying that he said that too. Stephen tells Adam that he didn’t think he would be coming back, but hopes that they could all move on. Not likely.

I’m not a big fan of Adam – his leadership and people skills are severely lacking, he had no strong strategy or ideas, and the way that he focused purely on money making and not the quality of the product should worry Sugar if they are going to go into business together. Add that to the fact that he is extremely annoying. I accept that Sugar gave him a reprieve this week but there is zero potential in Adam, and I cannot see him lasting that much longer, unless he has a sudden brain and personality transplant. Katie has had some good ideas but has failed to make a big mark on the competition, despite her taking some prominent roles. I think this week, she made a big error in staking her reputation for selling at the football match, which played a big part in their loss. She has been given too many chances so I think it was her time go, although I would have preferred Adam or Stephen to go – no good business sense – all words and no action, and just plain annoying.


Next week, the teams are doing a bit of selling. Ricky Martin and Stephen are showing off their extractable and extendable super mops and there is some more Apprentice poetry to come: They want that tan as soon as they can.

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 5

The genius that is going to featured in a Virgin gym near you!

6.15am and a bleary-eyed but dressed Gabrielle runs down the stairs, quickly followed by Jenna – WHAT IS THIS?! 2 PEOPLE NEVER RUN TO ANSWER THE PHONE! Jenna stares creepily at Gabrielle as she is told that the cars will be coming to take them to York Hall, sorry, Your Call, as Tom heard and thinks is some kind of call centre (so pretty so dumb – duh…).

York Hall is famed for its world class boxing, sport and fitness facilities. Ricky’s twitching eyebrow is becoming a common feature as Sugar reveals that this week’s task is to devise a fitness class and try to license it nationally – whoever makes the most money wins.

Stephen, who dabbles in the health and fitness sector, is Phoenix’s PM. On Sterling, Ricky Martin declares that he wants to “throw his hat in the ring” (the wrestling ring ho hum), citing his professional wrestling background (not as a threat I presume), but wait! Jenna wants to go for PM on account of her being a horserider. Unanimously, the team vote for Ricky “The Fitness” (snigger) Martin.

From this point, Ricky Martin reels off some nice soundbites:

The Apprentice Series 8 - Week 5 - Keet Fit boxing

I’m the heavyweight champion of wrestling, I want to be the heavyweight champion of the business world. 

Please corroborate this fact please. Sugar doesn’t like lying (unless you count the other times – Lee!). Not only this but Ricky Martin reels off some The Apprentice poetry that has been missing from the past few weeks:

You always witness the Fitness with Ricky Martin

(yep and don’t you forget it! And the fact that he talks in 3rd person)

Stirling decide to go for a martial arts/ streetdance class, capitalising on Ricky Martin’s wrestling and Laura’s dance background.

Adam has an idea of a skipping class – Fit Skip, Hip to Skip. Katie throws out a “Dating Class”  : Adam laughs at this and Jade exclaims that the gym is the last place she would want to meet someone. Katie’s 2nd idea is a 80s retro class, and Stephen goes for this, opting for the traditional rather than the modern idea that Stirling are going for.

Phoenix head off to visit an 80s dance troupe at London’s West End to find some ideas. Adam puts forward his skipping idea but no massive takers (one day…Adam will get his won back on his failed ideas by creating a skipping class/cleaning class – offering free Magic Hands, of course). It all ends with some new ideas and Stephen, Azhar and an out-of-step Adam dancing to Thriller.

Stirling visit a streetdance group, and Duane tells them, “You all look very cool” (like an extreme sales pitch following on from last week). The group show them a few moves and Nick asks if he can join the group. Focus Nick! You’re here to be the next Apprentice! Well the next business partner of Sugar anyway. Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see Nick throw a few streetdance shapes. Let’s make it happen – quit the show and join the group!

Courtesy of Gabrielle, Stirling’s dance classes are called Beat Battle – I’m not really convinced. It doesn’t really suggest anything relating to the concept – it reminds me of a rap battle instead. Each team get their own dance expert to help them devise their classes. The female dance expert and Laura, the “king of dance” according to Ricky Martin (she’s a girl!!), develop the dance element, with Ricky Martin throwing in some martial arts moves for good measure. Female dance expert is critical of how there are too many ideas, but it is a good concept. I would agree, if they iron out their concept, it could work.

The video is going to be an important component to sell their exercise classes. On Phoenix, Jade, Adam and Tom take charge. At the casting session, Jade and Tom are more than happy to let Adam demonstrate his Funky Lunges to a dancer who has just walked off the set of a low-budget production of Fame. After, Adam proclaims that he took the lead and bemoans the fact that creative Jade isn’t very creative.


On Sterling, Duane is appointed the sib-team manager for the video, and he wants to simplify the moves. Nick suggests calling the PM but Duane says no. This could be a problem if the video is showing something different to the real classes.


Back on Phoenix, Azhar, in a pair of short shorts, leads in the video. Jade questions Adam’s contribution – nothing, apart from telling everyone to smile. Which Adam would argue is what wins them the task if they win. In-fighting is occurring on the other team, with Duane arguing with everyone. Ricky Martin has taken one half of the team, and they are all getting along swimmingly, with Gabrielle designing the logo – a graffiti tag (I am surprised that Gabrielle didn’t suggest a graffiti sign…with legs – it might be more apt in this case). Yet on Duane’s mini team, tensions are icy at the studio, and even more so in the taxi, as Duane and Laura argue. For all of Duane’s talents and past successes, he doesn’t seem to be displaying great leadership skills. Nick suppresses a smile as the arguing goes on, and then attempts to diffuse the tension bu suggesting that everyone shake hands and move on. Grumpy Duane says no.


Adam has another moan about creative Jade not being creative, and claims that she is only creating problems, before boasting:

“She doesn’t want to shoot me down, no one could do that…”


Video editing for Sterling is a quiet affair as Laura and Nick are resigned to letting Duane do things his own way after the chaos of filming. Good to see relations have improved all around.


Pitch time. Sterling has a fairly successful time pitching, as Ricky Martin takes the helm of pitcher:

  1. Quotes £45 per month per class, or an offer of 2 months free for a one-year contract. Pitchee suggests that Beat Battle looks similar to boxercise but Ricky Martin points out that Beat Battle uses the legs and elbows whilst boxercise merely uses fists.
  2. To counteract the problems of pitch one, Laura and Duane are to demonstrate Beat Battle in action. Ever wondered what a Super Punch in a suit looks like? Well, look no further as Duane Super Punches in his suit successfully 2nd time around.
  3. Asked about whether Beat Battle would have enough mass appeal, Ricky Martin gives a fantastic answer saying that martial arts is becoming more popular and reels off some figures to support this. He has done well pitching – he is clear, concise and has done his research.

A confident Stephen acknowledges that Ricky Martin likes wresting but questions if he can pull together a good product.

  1. We see the video, quite funny, complete with Azhar’s invisible hula hooping. Groove Train is priced at £35 per class. Pitchee asks about the problems of equipment. There will be less space as Stephen says there will be 8 people less than normal because of the extra equipment. Pitchee asks why would she want to do that when the classes she has now can run with full capacity? Ouch. She goes on to ask where would they keep the extra equipment?
  2. Things don’t get better as next pitchee asks about the prices of the extra equipment. Stephen quotes £2 for a Space Hopper, £1 for a hoop, and 50p for a skipping rope. That is cheap. Karren is not impressed.
  3. Katie suggests using the props in the last pitch, so Stephen asks her:

“Would you maybe have a go on the balls?” before Katie hastily retreats from her words (“Let’s not go too far…”), so it is left to Stephen to show that he can’t hula hoop (oh Stephen!) as he demonstrates the steps in an awkward pitch. Guy pitchee says it looks like a class for kids rather than for women, the intended target market. Katie goes on to spout that the Space Hopper “breaks all boundaries”. Yeah…


Back in the boardroom, everyone loved Ricky Martin as PM. Sugar asks Phoenix who designed the moves and Adam immediately claims credit, even though it was Azhar who did it. Adam apologises and tells everyone that he thought Sugar meant on the day of filming. I accept this, it is a force of habit for Adam to claim credit for things – he has just got too used it that he is claiming credit for things he didn’t do. The equipment plan is called into question, which Tom brought up many minutes ago. Sugar wryly notes that exercise classes mean that you are meant to lose pounds but not proper pounds (Oh Sugar! Although someone who finds gyms too expensive might beg to differ).



Fitness First:

Sterling                 One off fee for development £5000

Phoenix                No orders

Pure Gym           

Sterling                 3 months across 22 gyms £2970

Phoenix                 Nowt


Sterling                 No orders

Phoenix                Hated the idea but £17.50 for 6 months to adapt for families£12,810


Seriously? As I watch this, I cannot believe this. Phoenix have won even though they didn’t pitch well or have a strong idea, and Virgin has helped them win, even though they are going to completely change the idea anyway. Oh my…


Sugar sends Phoenix to London Spa (no relation to the task – disappointed) and the audience is treated to the sight of Stephen’s back and his snoring (double disappointment, and slight “ugh”) – he needs to retrieve his nose plaster from the start of the show no? In the café, Sterling are shocked and no one can see why they lost. Yet…

In the boardroom, people can find fault in the task.

  • Laura blames Ricky Martin for the loss, simply because he was PM
  • Ricky Martin blames the video for not showing Beat Battle properly, and criticises Laura for her bias towards dance
  • Jenna attempts to support Ricky Martin before Laura interrupts her and childishly whines “Don’t blame me!”
  • Lastly, Ricky Martin wants to know what Nick did. (Don’t blame Nick!)
  • Ricky Martin brings back Duane for the video and Laura for the dance.


I think that Ricky Martin did a good job in the task – good leadership and pitching. The video was a huge weakness so Duane is at fault for the loss but Laura could go as Duane has done well in the past and has more potential.


Duane defends Laura and says that Ricky Martin is at fault. He has been a strong contender whilst Ricky Martin has hidden away, but Sugar disagrees with the last statement, which isn’t a good sign. Laura says that if Ricky Martin was worried about editing then he should have gone to the editing himself, which is a little unfair. As PM, you would be worried about all aspects of the task but you can’t expect him to do everything. Ricky Martin says that he delegated based on backgrounds: Duane has filmed promotional videos before and Laura has a dance background.


Sugar says that Ricky Martin brought back the wrong people and hopes it isn’t a sign of bad management. Laura should not have been brought back so she is safe for now. Ricky Martin has done well in the past few weeks and the video it the main reason for the loss, so Duane is fired, which may seem a shock as some had pegged him as the early favourite. Alas, Duane, the man who wanted to make bins trendy, is the next to leave.


Next week – the candidates visit Scotland to sell food, as Ricky Martin offers a group of girls some dinner, someone offers a squirrel some meatballs and Jenna says that she feels physically sick. I think we will end it there.