The Apprentice, Series 10, Episode 8

I have no idea why I subject myself to the onslaught of the best of British tit-ishness that is The Apprentice every week. Maybe because I have too many intelligent, self-effacing friends, most of whom have at least a vague grasp of their actual place in the world, and am sharply feeling the lack of tossers in my life. After an hour of the most bravado-loaded oiks the BBC could find smarming all over my computer screen (I download it onto my laptop as I don’t even have a television,shame upon shame), I have to wipe it down and chuck the j-cloth away. Yack.

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But like a fly irresistibly drawn to a steaming poo, I keep watching. Through the fist-bitingly awkward disputes (this week’s spat between Columbian lawyer Felipe and smarm merchant extraordinaire Daniel); hideous sales attempts that have made me involuntarily cower with revulsion every time I walk past someone in an alarmingly shiny designer suit (I live in east London – I’m doing a lot of cowering); and cringeworthy misuses of idioms (you ‘excel expectations’ do you Daniel?), I keep watching.

This week, the clod squad are taken to Chiswick House, where Alan Sugar growls the episode’s task at them – to select and ‘sayew’ products (one that’s already on-site and two from a pre-selected range from outside) to the well-heeled punters at the Royal Bath and West show.

They take to the task with the usual air of over-excited but exceptionally thick staffordshire bull terriers that have been let off the leash at the same time. Loudmouth among loudmouths James is elected project manager for team Decadence, and proceeds to stamp his hair gel-drenched mark onto everything the rest of his poor crew got up to. He listens to Bianca and Solomon, who are sent to select products to sell at the show, then promptly ignores their advice and goes with his choices – a designer hanging chair and foldable wellies – without having even viewed them. I think that gel has suffocated his brain cells.

Summit, meanwhile, choose Felipe to lead them. He takes sly Aussie Mark with him to select the outsider’s products, sending demon-eyed Essex boy Daniel and effervescent Geordie Katie to pitch to get the chance to sell for the vendors already there.

Everything gets really juicy when both team leaders decide they want to try to sell the hot tub seller’s in-situ product. James’s face when he and Roisin are told that they haven’t got the gig – because he insisted on calling the vendor Derek when his name is Anthony – paints a thousand words, and his never particularly well-concealed inner child comes out for a tantrum for the rest of the episode. Some choice quotes: “Today, it’s all about me”; “You’re always undermining me…” (to Roisin when she uses a word longer than two syllables); and the eternal favourite “It’s not fair.” They are forced to go with the lawnmowers instead – watching James try to spout technical details to a hooray henry-esque farmer is like watching a bad used car salesman try to con a lord. He doesn’t do well.

Back in team Summit, Felipe manages to knock evil-eyed Daniel’s nose firmly out of joint by selecting Mark to sell the tubs with Katie. This actually turns out to be by far the best call (Mark being one of the few contestants who doesn’t make you want to be swallowed by the sofa whenever he appears on screen), but the incessant bickering that ensues between the Columbian and Essex’s pushiest bad grammarian is worth a lot more than the abysmal £500 worth of handbags and bicycle trollies they eventually manage to sell.

In the boardroom, then, Summit storm it – selling over £30,000 worth of hot tubs and £500 of hats and trollies, while James’s team come in with a sad £5,000. The gel-soaked toddler is unable to convince Lord Sugar to keep him with an impassioned speech that came just short of a complete, if incoherent, declaration of undying love, and he’s fired. I hate to admit it, but I’ll miss watching the king of the tossers, though at least there are at least four other contenders for that particular crown. I’ll be back next week, curtains drawn, lights off, j-cloth at the ready.

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