Week seven and we veered into Dragon’s Den territory on The Apprentice last night.

A selection of inventors paraded themselves and their brainchild in front of the business numpties, who had the task of picking two and trying to sell them to retailers.

I was fully expecting the words “disaster” and “no sale” to feature heavily and I wasn’t disappointed.

One team chose their inventions fairly well. The other team messed up big time.

The only product that seemed to capture most people’s imagination (except losing team manager and all-round pain in the posterior Lorraine) was the dog lead designed for two people to hold – presumably whilst walking hand in hand, kicking up newly fallen leaves as they stroll through a picturesque wood or park.

The other three inventions represented someone’s idea of genius, but would probably have been laughed out of the aforementioned Dragon’s Den.

The designer panier that would have made any bike unstable, the pet fun house that was a badly painted cardboard box and the sleeping bag with “arm and leg items” (as Howard memorably described the adult romper suit), were the wrong items to pick.

We obviously didn’t see every product placed before Lorraine’s team and the gaggle led by Mona.

But if these four products were the pick of the bunch I can’t help wondering if there were some seriously mad inventions that got passed up?


(Rudolf Klein-Rogge as the inventor C.A. Rotwang in Metropolis – Creative Commons)

As usual, one team was triumphant for being marginally less crap than the other – in this case Mona’s team “won”.

Aside from the poor choice of products – which pretty much hamstrung the teams from the off-set – there was very little of merit in this task. Quite simply, it was a selling task and very little got sold – a fairly basic failure.

We did see a flash of negotiation skills from Mona and some of her team – which is why they scraped the win. But we also had an unbelievable comment that a pet store was the wrong market for the double-handed dog lead because it was selling to northerners. Eh?

There seemed a general lethargy about both teams that might well have been prompted by the fact that their trip away for a couple of days was in Manchester, rather than Morocco or Dubai.

These candidates have become used to living in the lap of luxury and were clearly horrified that their meeting point with Sir Alan – the London Gateway – was a service area on the M1 rather than an airport terminal from where they could jet off to somewhere exotic and expensive. Recession, what recession?

The main feature of this week was the age-old eternal triangle.

Initially it was Philip, Kate and Ben who formed the three sides – with Ben playing gooseberry to the other two love-struck fools. Then, in the boardroom, Ben was replaced by team manager Lorraine as the third side of the triangle – she was hell-bent on breaking up The Apprentice’s very own Romeo and Juliet.

Lorraine excelled herself this week – she was utterly awful without any redeeming features whatsoever. She even rehashed the classic “I am your boss” line.

But Philip and Kate were deservedly in the firing line (and Ben was lucky to escape the3 boardroom again).

Philip was single-minded in his determination to flirt with Kate and not bother with the task.

Kate concentrated on fluttering her eyelids and lapping up Philip’s attention – until it dawned on her that she was in the firing line and the £100,000-a-year job was slipping away, at which point she said she didn’t think Philip’s mind had been on the task and he hadn’t performed.

All is clearly fair in love and reality TV programmes.

The rock-like Philip – he’s a blunt object with loads of rough edges, no subtlety and tremendously dense – thought all he had to do was shout loudly about how bad Lorraine was. But he forgot to remind Sir Alan of his own qualities – whatever they are.

His card has been marked for a number of weeks. So his blank order book and blunt approach was never going to do him any favours this week.

He shot himself in the foot – but he is such a double-hard macho man he would never admit how much it hurt.

On You’re Fired! with Adrian Childs, Philip pleaded for us to see the real, softer person he is and blamed cruel editing for making him look so brutal.

There is little doubt editing plays a big role in all reality TV, not least in this programme.

Yet those in the editing suite still need plenty of material to work with. Philip’s time was up because he was a blunt object who couldn’t match his loud boasts with a big enough business brain.


On The Apprentice website, he tells us: “Business is the new rock ‘n’ roll and I’m Elvis Presley.”

Well, thankfully, Elvis has now left the series.

This is one rock that needed to be rolled.


2 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    Paul, if it weren’t for your reviews there’d be little to laugh about the programme.

    The Apprentice gets more toe curling by the week. For all I know – in weeks to come – Elvis and Lorraine might end up in bed together to let off their pent up steam and utter dislike of each other. Say about Lorraine what you may (and yes, she does need a different pair of glasses to balance her brand of arrogance) but she did not stoop to the lowly level of Elvis. I’d probably kicked him in the shin under cover of the boardroom table. As to the blonde: She clearly needs to come with a health warning.

    There is one thing I’d like to know, Paul, and maybe it’s a thread you might wish to take up some time: Where do they find these morons? Surely there must be phantastic business apprentice material out there, don’t you agree? Maybe they are the ones who wouldn’t be seen dead on that programme.


  2. Paul Groves says:

    Hi U: I’ve been prepared to give Lorraine a little leeway, as she has talked something approaching common sense a few times but been ignored by arrogant colleagues. But I felt she did herself no favours last night, she performed badly, led badly and was quite frightful in every way.

    It is obvious that the genuine cream of the crop in terms of business talent is too busy being talented in business to go on The Apprentice.
    I’ve said it before. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, go on reality TV programmes.

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