‘Bloodbath in the boardroom’ said the voiceover man before The Apprentice music piped up for the penultimate time this series.
As we already knew, this week would be the interview round. But this time five whole Apprentices would be grilled – I’m sure last year it was less. Add to this the fact that each candidate would be interviewed by four bastards each, the sheer amount of interview time meant this was a quickly-edited, non-stop whiplash of a show. Somehow though, the editors saw fit to fill half of it with shots of people walking from their interview to the comfy seats outside, which wasn’t very exciting.
The four interviewers comprised three regulars. The first was fat, beardy Paul – an unreconstructed sexist twat. Second was Gordon – whose name I couldn’t remember as I took notes, so I referred to him as ‘Stig’. Stig talks like John Major, looks like a well groomed ghost and works for Alan Sugar. He’s better suited to working in a morgue. Third of the old hands was Claude. A balding, boggly eyed managerial type who spoke softly before building on his reserves of anger until he’s actively reprimanding whoever’s put in front of him. All three of them, odious people – and Alan’s best mates. The company that man keeps, eh?
Added to the line-up was Karen Brady – that strangely attractive woman who was MD of Birmingham City. She might still be for all I know. She was a little wishy washy in her approach and visiting her probably came as a massive relief to each of the contestants - in that the most difficult question she asked them was what their name was.
Getting ready for the off, Claire was excited about the interview process as she styled her hair into a bizarre, Fonzy style quiff. Perhaps she already knew she’d be meeting Paul, who, in post-interview reverie, she described in glowing terms. ‘There’s something about ‘im – he’s hot!’ she squealed, whilst moistening her seat. ‘The fact he’s on 20 million a year?’ Lee asked, in an uncharacteristically astute observation. ‘I wanna suck his lips off’, replied Claire, making a nation’s genitals wilt.
In her interview with Paul she flirted outrageously, proud of her Club 18-30 past and boasting of her ‘eight million incremental profit margin’, whatever that means. Paul told her she was cheap – either as a reference to her comparatively low bonuses or her Repping past. It was hard to tell.
Claire sailed through, in truth – the only other notable incident being when Stig was physically unable to clamp her mouth shut as words flowed randomly and idiotically out of that gaping hole as she sat there like a big, fat babbling lemon.
Helene didn’t do too badly either. It seemed we saw very little of her. In an interview with fat Paul, she swore like a trooper whilst bigging herself up. Every swearword was greeted with a calm smile from Paul, like a proud father. He’s big on swearing it seems.
When Brady interviewed her, Helene seemed to sense that her audience wasn’t primed for that kind of language and so built a subtle rapport. The effect was ruined a bit when, at the end, she referred to her fellow contestants as ‘Fifteen gobshites’… but honesty is probably the best policy. Had to laugh at the ‘objective’ section of her CV though – apparently her objective is to ‘dive into the ocean of opportunity’. Made me picture Alan Sugar in a wet suit, using those big flapping hands as flippers. Helene as a mermaid. A lovely aquatic scene.
From the kick-off, Lee misjudged the atmosphere with fat Paul – and fell straight into what shall now and forever more be known as ‘the reverse pterodactyl trap’. When asked to show this move, Lee obliged whilst chuckling gamely – ‘oh mate! Unbelievable! – AWK AWK AWK!’.
The response wasn’t great. ‘This is a serious interview’, said Paul. ‘Why did you just do that?’ Lee’s pants filled with wee.
Later, when being interviewed by Claude he was asked if he was schooled in England. Yes – he was, he replied. The CV was filled with spelling mistakes – so not only is Lee a bit uneducated (no fault of his own), he also can’t use a spell-checker (fault of his own). Spelling ‘tomorrow’ as ‘tommorrow’ is pretty elementary stuff. Made me wonder if he ever commented on our 2 Pints of Lager post all those months ago.
Lee’s major foot-shooting was in lying on his CV. He said he’d completed a two year University course when in fact he’d completed four months then dropped out. This was the massive clanger of the episode. Sympathy for the dirty Spurs-supporting stormtrooper suddenly racked up as everyone in the country felt a bit guilty about having lied on their own CVS in the past (we’ve all done it). He wriggled out of it, both in interview and the boardroom, despite the fact he’d never get hired if sussed out in the same situation out there in the real world. As a recruitment consultant, you’d have thought he’d have known that. If you’re not hired Lee, don’t worry. There’s always tommorrow.
So we turn to Lucinda, who got the harshest grilling of the lot, and completely undeserved if you ask me. She’s a contracter, not an employee in real life. There’s not much more that’s entrepreneurial than that, surely? Pitching her business then getting deals with people? Somehow this was seen as a weakness. She’d never make a good team member, they said. She dresses like a dick, they said. She’s into Chinese medicine and feng shui, snorted Paul, the blinking fat cock. And so, just because she didn’t have the right ‘cultural fit’, the poor girl got booted. She was too good for it, is the stark truth.
For comic relief, let’s look at Alex. Long derided by the bulk of the viewing public, I think Alex has been great entertainment. A relentless and remorseless snake in the grass, this was the point when we saw that his enigma was built on vapour. There’s really not much to the poor boy. Despite looking like a Shakespearean actor, there’s nothing underneath but bluster. All he found himself doing in interview was screaming his age. I’M 24! I’M 24. YEEEEARS. OLD. An interesting, if slightly irritating tactic that didn’t really get him very far.
Alex is the most passive-aggressive, defensive individual you’ll ever see on your TV. One moment, he’s offering a faintly dismissive critique of a team member, the next he’s taking massive offence at being told he’s ‘a bit quiet today’ and being asked if he had ‘a heavy night’. Aside from reiterating his age until it was stamped onto the collective consciousness, he also let us know that he’s agile and dynamic. Which is useful down the gym, no doubt.
So Lucinda was handed her raspberry beret (the kind you find at a second hand store) and promptly shown the door. The big twist (ooooh!) was that all four will be in the final, two joint Project Managers leading past Apprentices. Lee’s got Claire to work alongside (poor bastard) while Helene’s got Alex (poor bastards).
And in other news, Nicholas De Lacy Brown has been crushed by a wall.