The Apprentice blog: Episode 1 Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

“It’s the business deal of the decade.” As another hysterical voiceover breaks its broadcasting waters over the feet of business, Series 7 of The Apprentice is born.

“I started a global business, literally with nothing,” squints Melody Hossaini. Ding ding! Nineteen seconds in and already we have an incorrect use of the word ‘literally’. That must surely be a record. Unless, of course, old Melody managed to launch a global business without so much as a telephone, pencil or pair of knickers. Seeing as she’s been working with “over 12 Nobel prize winners in over 100 countries” let’s all just pray that, by now, she’s been able to invest in a toothbrush and some shoes.

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit if there are footprints on the moon.” Yeah, you guys. Stop blinding poor Melody with your motivational space talk. And, while I’m at it, don’t tell her to reach for the sky while there are rings around Uranus, either.

“I’ve got plenty of charisma and, yeah, I’m not bad looking.” Hold on. Is that a talking bikini wax? Is it Richard Madeley? No! It’s Gaston from Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast aka Vincent Disneur (you’d think Disney could have come up with a slightly more inventive pseudonym than Disneur).

“My social life, my personal life, literally don’t mean anything to me. I live to work; it’s all I do.” Oooh, Helen Louise Milligan sounds like fun, doesn’t she? I bet Christmas round at hers is an absolute scream.

“I am cold and hard,” says Alex Britez Cabral. Well, I suppose that would explain why all the female contestants appear to be wearing morgue makeup. “A limp handshake is unforgiveable,” according to Edna Agbarha. Not to mention a pimp handshake. Or a shrimp milkshake.

“Doing it the hard way, Lord Sugar went from market stall to market leader,” farts out that relentlessly dramatic voiceover. I suppose by ‘hard way’ we mean ‘hard for anyone to understand how he convinced the BBC this was a good idea.’

And so, at long last, the opening montage is complete. By this time even Rocky Balboa would be curled in the foetal position, mournfully pushing staples in to his forehead.

It is 4pm on day one and everyone has gathered in the boardroom for a pep talk from the Lord himself. Apparently, S’rAlan is frequently asked if it is still possible to start a business from a humble background, like he did, way back in 1987. The answer? ”Yes. Absolutely yes.” He really is like the British Obama, isn’t he? If Obama were a tortoise who made fax machines.

The first task will be to buy £250 of produce, add value and sell it on. Hold on. Is that how business works? I watched every single episode of the last series and had no idea that was what they were trying to do.

As usual, Nick and Karen will be “following you all the time and reporting back to me.” Contravening most European industrial laws, not to mention the odd human right.

With the contestants split in to gender-specific teams it’s time to come up with a really professional, slick, impressive name. Or, failing that, to throw around some meaningless buzz words until your mouth literally throws itself off your face in desperation.

The women consider Galvanised and Platinum before finally settling on Team Venture? Venture? I suppose Team Ept, Team Mirable and Team Roit were all taken. The men, on the other hand, go for Team Logic. Only on the Apprentice could Vincent’s question “Who likes ability?” be met with deathly silence and awkward glances at the floor.

So, it’s time to turn crates full of fruit and veg in to, well, small plastic tubs of fruit and veg. The boys are making fruit and juices; the girls fruit salads and pasta pots. If I go to hell, these people will be running the canteen.

“I’m just rolling with the punches and I want my team to do the same,” riffs lyrical master and team leader Edward Hunter. Well, he does have an extremely punchable face.

Over at the kitchens, both teams have dressed up as forensic scientists in order to chop oranges. That’s nice. Maybe next week they’ll dress up as firemen and surgeons to bake scones.

Once the produce is prepped and packed both teams head out to hit that hungry London market. Except they all stop selling at 4pm. Well, you know what they say; if you want to get ahead in business, always close up by teatime.

After Lord Sugarcubes has called everyone back to his for a wicked boardroom afterparty, Edward’s leadership starts to be criticised as “random”. This is like watching Prime Minister’s Question time, scripted by Hollyoaks. Then, in one of the more sinister moments of the show, Edward starts muttering “Don’t fit the mould, don’t fit the mould” like some sort of malfunctioning Terminator as Lord Sugar tries to impart his wizenedom.

The results are in and the girls’ £2 fruit pots have thrust them in to a storming £500 victory. Which can only mean one thing: the boys are sent to the Café of Despair. Imprisoned by the giant mugs of failure and sauce-bottles of heartbreak. It’s basically Central Perk, but in Hades.

Lord Sugarthepill finally calls Leon, Edward and Gavin back in to the boardroom for a man-to-hobbit-to-potato-to-ex-Everton-player chat.

“All I’m guilty of is being too ambitious,” moans Edward. Oscar Wilde, it appears, has been reincarnated as a stubbly accountant from Reading. Is his wit and determination enough to save him? Of course not. The man is thunderous moron.

Edward ‘hairy neck’ Hunter: you’re fired.

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