Posts Tagged ‘Helene Speight’

The Apprentice 2008 – The Final

June 12, 2008

The Apprentice Final 2008

 I’ve heard it said that the little bit at the end of your CV called ‘hobbies and interests’ is unimportant and irrelevant. The people who say this are misinformed.

If you do your research, it can swing you a job. When I was a useless student, desperate for night work due to being physically unable to rise before midday, I noticed an opening at a 24 hour garage. After a brief chat with one of the staff there, I learned that the boss was, like me, an Arsenal fan. So in my hobbies and interests I wrote ‘avid fan of Arsenal FC’. I got an interview that day, spent the interview talking about Marc Overmars and was working the night-shift on pay and a half that very night – browsing the top shelf pornography and eating the pies in the backroom.

Lee McQueen must’ve been briefed on this little trick. Last night, the remaining contestants were sent out for some posh tucker with a very special guest. Only one of the most high-profile Spurs fans in the country… That’s right gang! It was Alan Sugar!

‘Oo do you support then, Lee?’ he asked the speech-impeded wideboy. We all knew the answer before he’d even opened his mouth. In these opening shots it was clear Lee was going to win no matter what happened in the task as he was gently jibed by the fuzzy millionaire like a favourite pupil. ‘Lee’s paying’, he said, as the bill arrived to indulgent smiles all round.

So – we know the drill by now. A few vox pops were aired in which Claire and Helene declared the size of their massive balls. The phone was answered. Frances was on the blower. They all got dressed in the space of three seconds and then they were off – this time to a massive, empty art gallery. This time, it seemed it wasn’t only Alan who had massive hands – they all appeared to be carrying huge pink claws by their sides. There must be something in the lens that makes fingers look like pinky-logs.

A massive art-gallery space was the base. The task was to launch a fragrance, pour les hommes, withthe assistance of past contestants whilst working as joint leaders – Lee with Claire (clearly the strongest two) and Helene with Alex. 

But not all of the past contestants were involved (as I think has been done in the past). Nope – if you remember, that made the Badger/Dewbury final far too crowded. This time we only get the most TV-worthy dunderheads. Sadly Sara Dadadadhada wasn’t included in the line up. Curses.

So – here’s how they picked their teams:

Claire & Lee: Jenny C
Whaaaa?! The first one picked is the most noxious of the bunch? Nice work on that one Claire. Pick a living, breathing, anvil-jawed failure as your first choice.

Alex & Helene: Raef
Good choice. Well liked by contestants and judges alike and generally quite successful in tasks.

Claire & Lee: Michael
Awww… they’ve broken up bum chums Sophocles and Raef. The utter sods. That’s just mean.

Alex & Helene: Kevin
Just don’t let him give a pep talk. Even better – don’t let him talk at all.

Claire & Lee: Simon
Can’t believe he was picked so late. As far as I could tell, he was the hardest working of the lot, if a little flimsy when leading.

So, Jennifer was sent to work with Alex and Helene as she was picked last. Don’t laugh – some of us know how that FEELS.


Helene buttered up Alex saying how she was soooglad she’d got him to work with as he stuffed one of his lips up a flared nostril in smug delight. Once again, in a well-timed vox pop, Alex felt the urge to remind us of his age – which is 24 years old, in case you’d forgotten.

In the meantime, Lee and Claire got down to business, discussing the target demographic for their parfum. Lee was on autopilot – getting right into the brainstorm. We’ve seen him outdo himself in this scenario before – suggesting ‘Snot’ for tissues and ‘cuppa tea’ as an ice cream flavouring. This time, he didn’t disappoint. Their target audience was a 22 year old metrosexual what shaves ‘is balls.

When it was time to come up with names, they pulled some right shit out of the bag.  ‘Pssst’, ‘Dollar’ and ‘Primal’ were all blathered into the ether until possibly the worst suggestion was hit upon and seized – their aftershave was to be called ‘Roulette’. Nice.

Helene got talking to some painter and decorators about the aftershave the men’d actually rely on their wives to buy them, thus rendering their focus group a waste of time. No names were decided upon though the rubbish ‘Connect’ and ‘Enigma’ were shouted. ‘Girth’ was one I particularly enjoyed.

In the midst of all this pandemonium, Lee started babbling like a boiling baby and lost the ability to pronounce his own product. ‘Woulette!’ he screamed. ‘Thas warram talking abairt’ he went on, possibly for the last time ever on British television.

Kevin rolled his sleeves up and got stuck in when the bottle was being designed, reeling off ideas for a concept from the part of his mind that deals with how to control going poo poo. He suggested a stressball texture to the bottle. How about a rubik’s cube shape? Something simple like that overtly complex idea. Alex was so stressed on the phone to Helene he needed that god damned stressballaftershave bottle. So stressed was he, that he let the designer come up with the concept, thus losing him the match on away goals.

As we watched the commercial being filmed, things seemed to be going well withAlex and Helene. Seasoned viewers know this is a terrible sign. Nick’s championing of the concept didn’t help – his praise alongside the presence of that idiot Kevin represented the proverbial kiss of death.

Their ad went smoothly where Lee and Claire’s was a 70s nightmare, straight out of the Hai Karate era. The only downside to Dual – the name Alex and Helene decided on – was the fact that they hadn’t designed it themselves and Helene had made it smell of old chocolate. ‘It’s certainly different’, said Raef, ever the optimist.

Despite things going well for them, Alex and Helene continued to bust up. ‘Conflicting against each other’ is how they othey put it in their garbled business logic. We’d already learned that a good business mind comes at the expense of the ability to communicate using recognised idioms – this, then, was the proof. The 11th hour rewrite of the script didn’t help, yet all seemed forebodingly to be on course for success.

To compound one team’s success, Lee was looking shaky. High drama! He couldn’t talk as he prepared his pitch and stumbled like a tit over every word.

And finally, the pitches themselves were both pretty awful. Where Lee’s dancers were geriatric, glowsticked, juggling freaks, Alex and Helene employed karate-kicking nutjobs. Lee and Claire started their pitch withthe words ‘Gambling is important’ – which sent a shiver down the spine of everyone who was considering how they might market this bit of tat. By promoting gambling! Great idea!

‘I know a little cheeky chap’ said Lee, talking about his demographic. It was, in Sugar parlance, a bluddy shambles. ‘The metrosexual is dead’, they incorrectly asserted. They stumbled over their words. They were laughed at. It was very, very poor.

Alex and Helene, on the other hand, were targeted withspontaneous applause. Their work was ‘coherent’ and ‘extraordinary’. Only one drawback was mentioned – that being the cost of the bottle to manufacture. This prohibitive cost was the black cloud that followed Alex and Helene to the boardroom. As Sugar made it clearer who the winner might be, Sophocles swung his head jubilantly like a happy little Pinnochio and Jenny’s enormous paving-slab jaw seemed to expand – though this could of been her way of smiling.

The rest is history. There was a little comic relief regarding SImon’s metrosexuality – met with his denial – though Christ knows how his hair gets that shape if he’s not… 

Then Alex and Helene were swiflty kerb-kicked, and very unceremoniously, too. Helene was realistic in the cab home whilst Alex wept his little eyes off, biting those lips that had so often betrayed the inner-workings of his nubile mind. Poor lad. He’s only 24, remember.

We kind of knew he hadn’t made it as his CV’s been very publically onlinefor the past month.

And then Sugar decided between Claire and Lee. Claire had evolved, he said… into some kind of whale/simian hybrid it seemed to me. Sugar bewilderingly said her pitching skills were superb. They weren’t. He said Lee was a very convincing candidate (despite the stupid dinosaur impressions, illiteracy, lying on his CV and bullying Sara).

He picked Lee. It was all over. A sigh of relief. A little trump came out of Alan’s bottom as he sat back, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this underwhelming conculsion. It was an abrupt ending, accompanied by the sound of the nation flicking over to BBC2 to watch ‘You’re Fired’.

They surpassed themselves this year, the BBC. It was a great series. Let’s hope they don’t push the audition process for anyone toogrotesque next time round. They should repeat exactly what they achieved this time round. Taking overconfident, arrogant numbskulls and pushing them into industries they have no experience of, then filming the bickering mayhem before editing it into appetising hour-long chunks.  

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