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!!!”