Thursday, 7 May 2009

Apprentice UK : Love conquers all (...except being fired).

It's Wednesday and we are back with the Apprentice. Today's task took the Apprentices to the North West of England (Liverpool, Manchester) and gets them to pick two products from budding inventors and sell as many of those products as they can. Simple really.

As seems to be the norm, there was more reshuffling, Team Empire is now Mona Lewis, Debra Barr, Howard Ebison and James McQuillan, while Team Ignite is Ben Clarke, Phil Taylor, Kate Walsh, Yasmine Siadatan and Lorraine Tighe.

Mona and Lorraine both volunteered to become Project Managers. I initially felt that this might be Mona's demise as she has been very quite since her win earlier on in the series as a project manager, but it did not take long to discover that was not the case as the editing of the programme very quickly pointed us into the other direction.

Some times you wonder to what degree aspects of the show are contrived. We all know that there is no love lost between Phil and Lorraine but we also know that there is plenty of love, lost or otherwise, between Phil and Kate and this week they were all conveniently lumped together. Guaranteed to kick off fireworks? definitely!

However it wasn't just the pairing that led to their downfall, it was also the product selection. While Mona and her team went for some sort of double handed dog leash and a body suit that doubles as a sleeping bag, not inspiring but still not implausible products. Lorraine and co on the other hand universally agreed to go for what can be best described as a collection of painted cardboard boxes and a lop-sided bicycle saddle/shopping bag. To be fair Yasmina did raise concerns about the saddle bag early on, but those were swiftly dismissed by the bag's 'inventor', but then he would wouldn't he.

Both teams went about their selling. Empire had an initial blip not selling anything on the first day, but by the second day they had turned into a well oiled selling machine with the exception of the ever-dreary, always complaining Howard who at one point literally begged Debra to let him close one deal, like she would ! Mona was the star of the show selling a remarkable £2000'ish of the £4,000 worth of deals Empire closed.

In Team Ignite on the other hand had a clear divide. Yasmin and Lorraine seem reasonably diligent in their work, squabbling occasionally about who pitches what but seemed to get over it. They sold about £1000+ worth of orders. On the other hand Kate and Phil seem to treat the whole thing a romantic day out, the only downer being they had a gooseberry in the shape of Ben Clarke tagging along. Between the three of them they sold absolutely nothing, but seem to have had a whale of a time up North.

Phil Taylor

Kate Walsh

Boardroom time Lorraine brought in the two love birds Kate and Phil. I honestly thought Lorraine was toast, because Sir Alan has shown time after time that he has a soft spot for the 'lovable rogue' i.e Phil, and Kate has with the exception of today put in competent performances.

It wasn't to be and I think it was largely down to Phil's out of control personality. His performance in the boardroom ranged from obnoxious to rude having passed through absolutely pathetic. Accusing Sir Alan of favouritism and heaping all the problems of the world on Lorraine's shoulders, he thrashed about like a drowning man and drowning he was. Even Kate picked up on this and in what I guess was a mercy killing (or it could be the ultimate act of self protection) she too turned on Phil at one point and blamed him for not pulling his weight on the task and so it was that the gob from the North East was sent packing into Apprentice history.

Stands out this week

Mona Lewis:
She won as project manager during the first week of the series, although there was a large body of opinion that the suggest the win was inspite of her, rather than due to her. This week however she showed beyond doubt that the victory was all hers in a dominant performance.

Phil Taylor:
I have always said I liked the guy at the onset but he grew more and more concieted as the weeks went on. This week I think Phil's big failing was he thought Lorraine was far weaker than she actually and was blinded by this. Although he denied it it seemed he almost intentionally wanted her to fail confident that that would be here demisr. He failed to see that his relentless attack on her week after week has only seemed to strengthen her position rather than weaken it. It seemed the more he attacked, the stronger she got and the more infuriated he became. A guaranteed cycle of destruction and so it proved.

Debra Barr:
I am pretty sure that you will never catch Debra listening to Dido's song "White Flag" where the singer promises she will go down with the Ship, Debra does not do group hara kiri. This was best exemplified in this edition when Howard struggling to close any deal literally begged Debra for one of hers after all it was all about the team winning in a sense, as if!. she smugly dismissed such a notion and in the interview clip spliced on to the segment the contemptuous look she had about this alien business of doing something for the team was priceless. She was right in herstance though as indivdual sales were also going to be taken into account.

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