Show ten opens and by now we’re so used to the Sugarman’s spiel that it forms a meaningless babble. ‘Job interview from hell… wibble flib… 40 years gruggle plap.. etc…’
All you can really focus on is the stuff that went unnoticed before in the opening sequence over preceding weeks. And this week, for me, it was the size of Alan Sugar’s hands. They are enormous - without equal. They look like big cartoon hands. He’d be a bloody good goalie with those ridiculous flapping grippers.
Six contestants remain in the house and as the phone rang it looked pretty empty – nobody for Claire to hurdle over as she wobbled towards the telephone, shattering furniture and punching holes in the wooden floor as she went to take the call from the interchangeable Franceses. As news breaks that they’re to convene at a breaker’s yard, Sophocles picks up on the fact this this is possibly the last chance he has to show us his hairy nipples, so after a full frontal he gets himself dressed whilst moaning that ‘it’s never gonna fucking stop’. Poor lad’s had enough it seems – he’s ‘finding it harder than everyone else’. The nation is unified as every man, woman and child cries ‘DIDDUMS’.
‘What’s a breaker’s yard?’ asks Lucinda. ‘Gvwaveyard for cars, innit’, replies Lee. That’s what he’s talking about. Breaker’s yards are what he’s talking about. ‘Grr-vvvv-waveyards for du cars’. Just so we’re all clear.
They gather at the scrapyard and the beardie Super Hands turns up to inform them that they’ll be renting cars out. But hey – these aren’t any old cars – these are the sort of cars that make Clarkson spuff his globule into Top Man briefs. On the horizon, several posh four-wheelers rev onto the scene - Scalextric on a grand scale. While the girls smile, a little bit confused by the machinery, Alex and Lee grin from ear to ear. Michael feels that ‘cars are alien’ to him, on the other end. Looking at the high end, two grand a day Zonda, it’s not hard to see why as it looks like a mechanised shark from the future.
Michael was up against Lee as Team Leader and he chose the Ferrari and the Spiker whilst LEE MC-CONCERNED-MC-MCQUEEN’S-WHARRAM-TORKIN-ABAAART chose the Aston Martin and, as a high risk strategy, the Zonda.
All the footage at this point focused on how unfocused that hairy little twit Michael was. He sent Helene and Claire out to sell in the City while he went off on his lonesome to sell in Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge, for the unititiated, is a place where the kinds of people who don’t need to rent posh cars live. The kind of people who can actually afford posh cars, and therefore actually own a few. And so, unsurprisingly, not a single sale. Claire racked up a few small scale sells – renting out a Ferrari for a couple of hours here and there at 65 quid per sixty minutes. Michael’s strategy dead in the water, he used his ‘knowledge of London’ to pick his next spot. Portobello market – the popular fruit and veg stop. On a weekday. The prize idiot.
As Michael flapped about like a grimacing baby chick plummeting from its nest, Lee complained about Lucinda and invented a few cliches, just to pass the time. ‘When a woodpeckers pecking you, it’s time to say “Get off!” to the woodpecker’ he said, creatively.
Lucinda – perhaps predictably – wasn’t really suited to this task and so was disowned by Lee and Alex. Despite begging not to be sent off alone, she was kicked to the kerb and, without the slightest clue about the product, started selling the Aston Martin as a Zonda, her head all confused after wasting hours perforating raffle tickets that were never used.
Lee didn’t sell a huge amount with his tactic of begging businessmen but soon his and Alex’s isometric death-stares forced the Zonda onto a pinstripe prick. Then later, even Lucinda cracked a sale as the afternoon turned into evening.
Over on the other team, only Claire managed to vend her wares. Helene watched, goggle-eyed and confused while over in a completely useless location Michael chased a middle-manager down the street shouting not only ‘You’re going to regret saying no!’ but also ‘GO ON!’ and finally ‘COME BACK’. In the throes of desperation he began to follow this poor sod, asking if he could come to his meeting with him whilst abandoning the supercar in the middle of nowhere. Smart thinking! Ultimately, he was disappointed by his customers, he said. Which is perhaps the worst angle a salesman can approach his work from.
Then it was onto the evening stretch and selling under the traditional Apprentice marquee. You need a marquee for an Apprentice task. It’s stitched into the fabric of the show.
Michael’s positive attitude continued on even with drunk City boys wandering around with open wallets. ‘Treat yourself for GOD’S SAKE!’ he cried, trying to add bottles of champagne into the mix as a freebie, and coming away with nought. Claire managed a few more sales and Helene achieved nothing.
Alex, on the other hand, notched up at least three Zonda sales by the end. At this point, his future (and my place in the sweepstake) were secured. The last gasp chase for the final sale (in 60 seconds – yeah right) was so fabricated you could only laugh. Like they didn’t give him a quarter of an hour to sort it out.
So Michael’s team sold £2,114 whilst Lee, Lucinda and Alex flogged almost twelve grand. Which is impressive. Sugar almost raised his cartoon-hand to his forehead and said ‘fucking hell….’ in astonishment at just how well they did. Before they were sent off to gob out a load of trifle-tasting wine into a bucket in Mayfair, Sugar had a dig at Lucinda. ‘Shut up’ he said ‘before I give you a bigger shovel to dig your own grave with’. Yeah! Nice one , Alan! Stupid girls.
So it was between Claire, Michael and Helene. The former was told she was safe and the latter was told – at quite some length – that she’s a corporate nobody. She almost cried and that evil feline face was on the edge of cracking into tears. But then, joy of joys, the reckoning arrived. Despite ‘flickers of diminishing brilliance’ – the word ’flickers’ being Alan’s contribution and the ‘brilliance’ Michael’s own, this mini ’disaster zone’ was booted out, and not before time, eh?
Thankyou for the opportunity, he whimpered, before wandering off, probably more relieved than anything. He’s good TV, but pray you never meet the bumbling little tit in real life.