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.