The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 3


Straight into week three and we kicked off with a reminder of Shazia’s unfair exit. We sat through the trauma once again as Shazia whimpered the word ‘please’, just before getting booted. And then it’s on to Tate Modern for the briefing. They’re going to run out of London landmarks soon. By series six Sugar will be asking them to rendezvous outside the Holborn Wetherspoons, six a.m. sharp.

The task is to transform a London boozer – Upper Street in Islington and Hampstead are the locations, so hardly spit and sawdust locals – into a credible gastropub. Or at least into a pub that serves food.

By my reckoning, that’s actually a pretty simple thing to do. Usually I balk at the Sugar-suggestion at this stage, wondering how the hell I’d cope, certain I’d make as many elementary mistakes as the preening pricks lining up for the bum-job. This time, however, I actually thought ‘easy’. They had a kitchen ready to go, a chef waiting to be utilised and a restaurant ready to be filled. All they had to do was sit down for a couple of hours, decide what food would suit the area (food they could actually cook), work out how much everything would cost and how much, as a result, they could sell it for. Pretty basic stuff.

Instead and as usual, both teams ran straight out of the door, barking rubbish into blackberries and making shit up as they went along. The insufferable goons.

Led by Ian Stringy Stringer, the boys’ period of research and planning seemed only to involve a lot of guarantees and pledges that they would work hard (Raef winning the ‘first to say 110% percent’ competition this week) and deciding they’d do Italian food. The girls, led by the sweary-mouthed Sara argued about what theme to follow. Someone idioticly bellowed ‘Let’s have a murder-mystery night!’ (in a pub?!) whilst Sara wanted a Bollywood theme whilst Claire wanted English fare. Sara won as she was Team Leader. Sara won because she has the dead-eyed gaze of the living dead and the ability to repeat herself until all around her wilt and perish. Sara, for some reason, is very attractive – against all the odds.

A key failing on Ian The Stringboy Stringer’s part was the appointment of Kevin as Head Chef. It came to light that this was a tactic by which he could transfer all blame to the Somerset George Dawes should things conspire to go wrong – which they did, thank God. If they hadn’t – where’d be the fun in that?

Kevin was asked to lead a chat on what food they were going to make as he’d declared his expertise on Italian cuisine earlier – apparently he eats in ‘a lot of Italian restaurants in Guildford’. His speech on what menu he fancied working on was a kind of confused stream, listing vaguely intelligible food processes. Watching him stumble over terms he’d seen on the cooking channel was the highlight of the show for me. ‘We take a mushroom. Then we bake it’ he said, not unreasonably. ‘Then we put some salt and pepper on it’ he continued before completely losing his train of thought, ‘and then we puree it’… This carried on for some time, until the baked, pureed mushroom had been flambeed, whipped and crumbled over fruits of the forest. Kevin, by this point, had proved himself to be either a very convincing actor or the greatest example of incompetence since Eddie The fucking Eagle. What’re we making for dessert Kevin? A latte with chocolate sprinkles. Mmmmm! Fetch me a spoon!

These scenes were interspersed with Lee having the most working class nervous breakdown ever seen onscreen. ‘I am concerned!’ he yelled into his mobile at one point. ‘LEE MCQUEEN IS CONCERNED!’. Within the gap between two sentences we watched him disassociate himself and plant his ego a few yards from his id, lapsing into third person in the process. ‘Dunno how to spell ‘accent” he said at one point, the big Nazi-faced thicko.

Sara wandered around in a sort of stoned, glazed wilderness of her own making as the other girls pulled together to make her curry night happen. She bought spices for the curry in minute quantities – I have more in my kitchen than she’d bought to feed at least a hundred people. Luckily her charges did the work for her and though her night was a bit of a shambolic mess – the Bollywood dancer being a particularly David Lynch-like lowlight – they made loads of money. This rested on the fact that Jennifer (the Irish one, not the redhead) had charged a fiver for entry. Profit before the doors had opened. Success. Jennifer is one to watch.

Meanwhile, the boys ended up being led by nobody. Ian turned into an empty shed, devoid of ideas or emotion, Raef hid in the shadows, Alex did what he could, Simon searched for answers from his boss and found himself in Ian’s pretty-boy dead end, facing disaster. Sophocles made his customary George Costanzaesque mistakes and got away with it. LEE MCQUEEN was concerned and continued to shout, his words forming a white noise it was quite easy to ignore. And Kevin, poor little Kevvy boy with his Westcountry accent and unrequested Head Chef role, had to do something. He made revolting food, gave a David Brentesque pep talk out of nowhere and, bless his heart, he tried. The fact that Ian Stringy Stringboy didn’t grab him by his neck and tell him to SHUT THE FUCK UP is the Stringy man’s problem.

Kevin tried, he failed, but at least he gave it a go. And that’s what resulted in Ian getting fired. He did absolutelty dick all apart from worry about his hair straighteners. Maybe he’s thick. Maybe he was just overwhelmed by the situation. Either way, Sugar sent him on his way and was justified in doing so.

The boardoom was fun. Simon was pretty much exonerated, Kevin was entirely unconvincing when talking up his progress and Ian sat there denying everything he’d done wrong.

Simon was dragged into the final three, which was baffling. So shocked was he that he made the amusing error of calling ‘Sir Alan’ the more familiar ‘Alan’, before realising his mistake and lifting his hand to his mouth, as if to say ‘Sorry Sir’ like a little boy. Quite endearing, really.

Instead of forming an argument and sticking to it, Ian simply denied everything. He denied that Kevin had given a pep talk (surely he knew Sugar had seen the footage?) and he might as well have denied the fact he existed. He was appalling under scrutiny, and it’s the boardroom where you have to be convincing. Forget the actual task, if you can’t cradle your balls against a counter attack in front of the bearded fat-cat, it’s the highway for you. And off he popped, without fanfare, back into anonymity.

Upon their return to the house, young Kevin shouted ‘Booyaka!’, delightfully using a very 90s term to express his happiness. ‘I totally nailed Ian in there’ he declared, as all around him looked on in stunned disbelief.

Noted for their absence, for a lack of footage around week three equals likely progress later on, were Raef and Alex. Neither said anything of any real consequence, Raef sat about looking other-worldly and Alex wore a stupid hip-hop hat at the end. They’re going to be key players later on and I can’t wait to see them fail, fail and fail again. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

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58 Responses to “The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 3”

  1. Paul Groves Says:

    I’m just glad I didn’t make the “piss up in a brewery” joke on my blog considering Jo Brand stooped low enough to utter it on “You’re Fired!”
    Lee McQueen’s third person absurdity was appalling. But it was beaten by the girls’ decision to hire a midget Bollywood stripper.
    As ever there were some fine one-liners and excellent editing to make them look even more gormless than usual.
    (But no-one came close to Tommy Tickle’s quote of the week.)
    Raef’s hair and eyebrows did nothing wrong once again.
    Simon “Chopper” Smith will either go out with (quite literally) all guns blazing next week as befits an ex-squaddie or he could be an eventual finalist, probably.

  2. Swineshead Says:

    I can’t watch You’re Fired. Not straight after the main show. It hurts my brain.

  3. Paul Groves Says:

    Swines: There are some fine unseen moments on “You’re Fired!” which make it worth the fried brain cells. If you can blank out the stuff spouted by the uninformed guests and Adrian “Boing Boing” Childish then there are one or two gems to enjoy.

  4. Swineshead Says:

    I saw the last one on Catch Up – it was ok but the panel they get in was bloody annoying. It takes the judgemental aspect of the show and runs with it.

    Curiously, Andrew Collins is saying something similar on his blog, I notice.
    The programme in itself is what I like, I can discuss it at work the next day (and on here), so there’s not much need for YF with Adrian C.

  5. Paul Groves Says:

    Fair point. I think it is just a further indication of my unhealthy obsession.
    It may well be that by the mid-point of this series I’ll just give up on it altogther and do something more constructive…no, I don’t believe it either.

  6. Jim Says:

    I’ve had to pop out for a few hours or my own post would’ve been finished by now (yes, it’s just an excuse I could have stayed up till 3am and written it).

    Anyway, I note in my own post that Raef said practically nothing during the important part of the task – the execution, or is that in the boardroom?

    Anyway, during the 5 second planning stage Raef did manage to suggest talking with an Italian accent and managed to sink in my estimation.

    Sara proved conclusively that she’ll be fired soon by failing to organise anything other than a flip chart which she wrote 4 or 5 things on and then forgetting the spices and saying oh well lets make do, after all the poor chinless wonders round here wont know the difference if it tastes good, or something like that!

  7. Jim Says:

    I’ve had to pop out for a few hours or my own post would’ve been finished by now (yes, it’s just an excuse I could have stayed up till 3am and written it).

    I noticed Raef said practically nothing during the important part of the task – the execution, or is that in the boardroom?

    Anyway, during the 5 second planning stage Raef did manage to suggest talking with an Italian accent and managed to sink in my estimation.

    Sara proved conclusively that she’ll be fired soon by failing to organise anything other than a flip chart which she wrote 4 or 5 things on and then forgetting the spices and saying oh well lets make do, after all the poor chinless wonders round here wont know the difference if it tastes good, or something like that!

  8. Geoff Riley Says:

    Stringer was useless in the Your Fired show as well – distinctly sub-prime!

  9. Mr.Chipz Says:

    I’ve tried, I really have. I just can’t watch this show. I can’t find anything redemable about anyone on it, they’re all complete tossers. That might be the whole point, but I can’t stand watching people make arseholes of themselves on the telly.

    Also, is it me or are none of the candidates actually very good at ‘business’?

  10. Jim Says:

    In the Fired show his Dad was distinctly unsupportive. Mind you I was concerned that Ian had had use of hairtongs and managed to make his hair look like an aircraft carrier landing platform.

  11. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    It’s about time someone called that bullying cunt, Sugar, by his first name. The thieving swindler only got his knighthood by donating money to the Tories – it’s not like they were queueing up to give him one for his third-rate electrical products.

    Good on Simon for calling him Alan. The cunt (Alan not Simon).

  12. Gita Says:

    Speaking of bullying cunts, for those of you who watched “You’re Fired!”, did anyone else think that Ian Stringer’s father was a right bastard?

    Apologies for the late comment chaps; has been rather a long day.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    I watched You’re Fired on catch up – I thought Ian’s dad was rightly disappointed in his boorish, talentless, vain idiot bastard son.

    Tough love!

  14. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I didn’t watch that, but I suspect this Ian chap has spent a lot of his childhood being shouted at. He was a bit of a wet fish.

  15. Swineshead Says:

    His attempts at comedy on TAYF – WAC were so cringeworthy even my windowsills were cringing.

  16. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    WAC? What are you on about?

  17. Swineshead Says:

    With Adrian Chiles.

    So – anyone written a Friday article?

  18. Paul Groves Says:

    I’ve written something – now that is a shameless plug

  19. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I was trying to write something about ‘Cotton Wool Kids’ on Channel 4 last night. Unfortunately, every time I start typing I fly into a rage and start punching walls. So I’m not bothering for the sake of my blood pressure and my knuckles.

  20. Swineshead Says:

    Didn’t see it – in a nutshell, why did it enrage you?

  21. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Kids not allowed out. EVER. Parents paranoid streets are full of paedos. 13 year old boy made to spend entire summer holiday indoors. Mother pointing out to her kids in a supermarket car park that that man, that woman, that man, etc., could be a child molester. Little girl taught that everything is dangerous and could hurt her, so therefore avoids contact with anything. Kids loaded with iPods, Wiis, XBOXS, DSs to keep them indoors. All the kids sad, lonely, and afraid yet intrigued by the concept of independence. Parents keeping their children as prisoners.

    Sorry, have to stop. My fucking blood’s up.

  22. Swineshead Says:

    Sounds awful.

    Reminds me of a fact I heard on Russell Brand’s marvellous podcast. Apparently, because of Megan’s Law, there’s a website where concerned parents who are moving home can check a map to see where the paedophiles live. They show up as small houses. According to Brand, if there are a lot concentrated in one area, it shows up as a palace, bafflingly enough.

    Cue: tasteless jokes about little kids thinking the palace represents a Disneyland type structure and setting off there having packed a bikini.

  23. Clarry Says:

    I only watched about 10 minutes of the ‘Cotton Wool Kids’ and had to turn it off as it got me in a rage too. Those parents should be ashamed of themselves coz they’re going to turn those kids into mentals.

  24. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Those parents are just a small sample of a hell of a lot of parents nowadays, Clarry. When this generation grows up, I sincerely believe there will be a rise in particularly inhuman serial killings.

  25. Swineshead Says:

    Write a review of it Napoleon – a One Minute one if necessary.

  26. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:


  27. Clarry Says:

    Yes, I agree. They will gorw up to be the type of serial killer that slays the parents and then lives with the carcasses for years, pretending mother is sleeping. Wearing a clown outfit.

    Actually, I wonder if anyone has recently checked on the welfare of Pirate Wotnot and Mr Pumpkin’s parents?

  28. Clarry Says:


  29. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I’ve written it.

  30. Swineshead Says:

    It is published

  31. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I didn’t want to write it, mind. You forced me, you pig.

  32. Swineshead Says:

    You are a good and noble man.

  33. Clarry Says:

    Are we continuing this chat over the page?

  34. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Take out the ‘good’ and the ‘noble’, and you’ve described me to a tee.

  35. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Clarry – If you want to comment on the most recent post, they ain’t nuttin’ stoppin’ y’all ‘ceptin yo’self, y’dig?

    (Only slightly racist)

  36. Clarry Says:

    What, you are a and man?

  37. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Take out the ‘and’ as well.

  38. Clarry Says:

    I just think that if we continue on this topic below SH’s piece about The Apprentice rather than yours on the ‘Cotton Wool Kids’ then it makes SH look more popular.

  39. Swineshead Says:

    Yes – and we wouldn’t want that now.

  40. Clarry Says:

    Just joshing SH, just thought I might be able to tempt him onto the other page with that tasty carrot.

    Only coz i’m still raging from the few minutes of this programme that I watched. I need to vent my spleen about it and I don’t think anyone else is playing…

  41. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Yes, what a disaster that would be to my fragile ego. Swineshead’s post attracting more comments than mine. I don’t think I could handle that, frankly.

  42. Clarry Says:

    God, I can’t write for shit today. I made a terrible, UNFORGIVABLE mistake on FB today and all my sentences are spazzy today.

  43. Clarry Says:

    NC – I was ONLY joking.

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