“Anything? Can you give me anything?”

The negotiating style of Adam Hosker, the latest to be evicted from the Big Brother Hou…sorry, obviously I mean The Apprentice on BBC1 and not the ignorant bitch-fest served up on C4.

Anyway, Adam’s all-round poor performance in the latest episode effectively sealed his fate.

Although Sir Alan Sugar himself was less impressed with the former car sales manager’s attempts to lie his way to safety in the boardroom, Adam’s limited abilities were once more cruelly exposed as he became team leader in the quest to buy 10 items.

The challenge was not only to locate and purchase the items, but to negotiate the best possible price.

Adam’s team did well on the negotiating side of things, but Adam managed them appallingly. He arguably should have split up the Increasingly Ugly Sisters – Katie Hopkins and Kristina Grimes – as they effectively conspired against him, whilst landing himself with the insipid and ineffectual Ghazal Asif did himself absolutely no favours.

His approach to bargaining was as limp as it was laughable – after a bit of useless pleading with a store owner who was never going to budge from cost price, he walked away.

Have you got anything more to give us, Adam? Anything?

The answer was a fairly emphatic “No,” other than a monumental sulk that he missed out on racing cars as the treat for winning the task. Yes, Adam, you’re right, it is all so unfair.

But once again his fellow £100,000-a-year wannabes also failed to deliver anything other than lashings of arrogance, self-delusion, spite, incompetence and a worrying level of ignorance.

There is very little to add to Adam’s own description of Ghazal – she would probably make a very good personal assistant, but is far too inexperienced to make the step up to a senior executive position.

Kristina is cementing her position as favourite by playing a very hard-nosed, political game that will probably impress the gruff multi-millionaire. She does have more of a business brain than most of the others, yet her evident ruthless streak is something many viewers will find unpalatable and which could still end up biting her on the backside. I’m still to be convinced she has sufficient wit and intelligence to match the ruthlessness.

Katie is part Ugly Sister and part Wicked Witch of the South-West – she can’t be Wicked Witch of the North, far too common up there and that would put her in close proximity to Adam and other “northerners”. After initially sparkling in the opening few weeks – not exactly difficult considering the competition – Katie has increasingly becoming a caricature of herself. She clearly does miss the attention of wet fish Paul Callaghan and when the issue was raised in the boardroom her face flushed to the brightest and most alarming shade of red I think I’ve ever seen.

The triumphant team once again secured the spoils more by default than by their own skills and experience. In too many of the tasks so far we’ve seen a team lose the challenge in spectacular style rather than a team pulling out all the stops to win impressively.

Golden balls Simon Ambrose led the winners – the first time he’s put himself forward in this series – and his failings were exposed.

His leadership style was likened to a grasshopper, randomly jumping about and leaving the rest of his team fumbling around in the erratic trail he was leaving. It was like watching a human pinball and I’m sure the programme-makers were delighted Simon’s team won because they didn’t have to try and edit extended highlights of his efforts.

Simon is increasingly coming across as a “nice but dim” type. But his biggest problem is that scratch the surface and he isn’t even that nice – all false charm, cockiness and arrogance and I can’t help suspecting that if he came under closer scrutiny from Sir Alan in the boardroom he would wilt without much of a fight.

We didn’t see much of his team, as ever the focus was on the losers. But Naomi Lay came across as far more confident and purposeful than previous challenges and Lohit Kalburgi slipped effortlessly into the background once again after emerging wide-eyed but triumphantly in his previous outing as team leader.

The feisty and opinionated Tre Azam and Jadine Johnson remain the enigmas of the series. Having stepped up early in the series, they have failed to take centre-stage in more recent challenges – other than displaying a chippy side, a rather brittle grasp of reality and a juvenile arrogance that they know best about everything in the world…ever…so, yeah, whatever.

None of which points to a genuinely outstanding candidate. Sir Alan might have enjoyed a greater say in choosing the hopefuls this time around, but if that is the case then he only has himself to blame for the shabby bunch of no-hopers he has to chose from.

It remains mystifying that Sir Alan’s “cream of the crop” are so woefully inadequate and lacking in even the most basic business skills and expertise. It continues to make great TV, but hardly impresses in terms of providing an insight into the world of the high-powered executive.

I keep hoping that next week’s challenge will see someone really shine for all the right reasons.

I wonder whether Sir Alan is hoping for the same?

I’d be more inclined to give the £100,000-a-year job to Frances, Sir Alan’s assistant. She has yet to put a foot wrong, always does the bidding of her boss and achieves results – the wannabes file in and out dutifully each time and she always manages to get them to turn up at the right time and the right place for their briefing.

The remaining contestants might all look up to Sir Alan as their mentor, but perhaps they should also be keeping a closer eye on the faultless Frances.

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5 responses »

  1. […] Next week promises to be just as entertaining, as the teams attempt to haggle their way to the best price for the items on Sir Alan’s idiosyncratic shopping list. […]

  2. Swineshead says:

    You fancy Frances you do… she’s a silver fox, I’ll give you that…

  3. Paul Groves says:

    I actually find her insufferable too. But she’s not as bad as the wannabes.

  4. Jim says:

    I think that phrase “no hopers” sums it up. At the moment if I were in Sir Alan’s shoes I’d be hard pressed (and I mean very hard pressed) to pick any one of the obviously ambitious, intolerant and pathetic shower of candidates.

    Maybe the joke will be Sir Alan actually fires them all. From their current form I would say that’s all any of them deserve.

    Having said that I’m sure the TV exposure will help them all in their new businesses. You know, as consultants helping others succeed in just the ways they demonstrated so well on The Apprentice. You think not? Well how about applying what they learnt from the Apprentice then?

    Jim

  5. Paul Groves says:

    Jim, thanks for the various comments.
    I honestly don’t believe the majority of them have the wit or intelligence to learn the lessons. It might all come down to editing and creating watchable TV, but the overall impression is not great.
    There is a level of arrogance combined with a level of ignorance that suggests they will continue to believe they know best.
    I think there is a strong argument to make that the wannabes represent a significant trend and a major problem in society at present – a belief they have some sort of divine right to be given a £100,000-a-year job and not earn it on their own merits or because they deserve it.

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