The Apprentice blog: Episode 8

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

And so, there are eight remaining figures fighting for a six figure salary. Instead of simply ringing up a recruitment agency, like most sane-minded CEOs, Lord Sugarpuff is still insisting on finding his new teasmaid via television humiliation. Well, we all need a hobby, I suppose.

This week it is Hollyoaks Jamie who answers the phone. He is told, by Lord Alanstrad’s PA to ‘pack clothes for all weathers’, which will be something of a problem for the rubbery-lipped estate agent, as he has already admitted to the nation that his wife chooses and buys all his clothes. Cue footage of Jamie turning up in the Hague wearing an ‘I Heart Big Butts’ t-shirt and leather trousers.  So, anyway, they’re off for a two day jolly somewhere abroad. In foreignland. I wonder how they’ll take the news?

Greasemongrel Stuart ‘the brand’ Baggs predicts ‘either a war zone, or somewhere hot.’ Because we all know how chilly it gets over there in the deserts of Iraq. Strangely, Baggs’ fighting talk goes down surprisingly badly with ex-marine Christopher. I take it a tour of service under the fourth battalion of Armystrad isn’t quite what he had in mind for this new career path.

In fact, the team are off to Germany. To sell crisps. “I hate the Germans as well,” sighs ex-Commando Chris. I take it he left the army to become a diplomat. Specifically, the team are heading off to Hamburg. Please tell me that Lord Sugarmort is going to lock them in the Kaiserkeller for 48 nights until they’ve learned some Eddie Cochran covers and can have a bash at ‘Please, Please Me’.

According to Lord Talking Tortoise, Germany is Britain’s largest export market. Man, those Germans must really love McVities and bowler hats; or whatever three things we still manufacture as a country. Both Synergy and Apollo will be representing two small British crisp companies, who are keen to get in to this lubricated, I mean, lucrative market.

Stella is chosen to be project manager for Apollo, because Baggs is ‘a load of knackers’. Oh, sorry, ‘knackered’. Synergy, on the other hand, chooses monotone Christopher. Well, you might as well go out with a bang, mightn’t you?

And so, to the flavours. Strangely, this is decided by the television contestants, and not the company who will spend the next year actually producing these salty snacks. But, hey, let’s not get caught up in the little people. Stella’s team go for traditional British grub. Like curry. And paprika and stilton, whatever in the name of bubbling ulcers that will taste like. ‘Would stilton and paprika go together?’ asks Stella. Why yes, if by ‘go together’ you mean ‘go together in a sack of vomit’.

Synergy on the other hand are extending the, albeit dreadfully misinformed, arm of kinship to our European cousins with bratwurst and goulash. As a Hungarian friend of mine pointed out, given that goulash isn’t even German, and what Hungarians call goulash isn’t what we do, it’s a plan that can hardly fail. Anyway, the choice of bratwurst gives Hollyoaks Jamie and ex-Commander Chris the excuse to sit down over an enormous plate of gravy-covered phalluses, which I suspect had been the plan all along.

For team Apollo, it’s time for Joanna and Baggyjowls to munch sausages and drink beer in the bars of Hamburg. Cue revolting ‘I’ve got a white sausage’ gag from Baggs. With ‘gag’ being the operative word, as audiences across the country projective vomit over furniture and unsuspecting pets.

Unsurprisingly, for an estate agent and a squaddie, Jamie and Christopher appear to head straight to the Reeperbahn for a little door-to-door selling. ‘If I wanted sexy time I think I would head here’. Thanks for that Jamie. Now let’s all see if Christopher uses his xenophobic quip from earlier as his opening sales pitch: ‘Guten tag. I hate the Germans. Fancy a crisp?’

Getting far more in to the teutonic swing of things, Stuart decides to introduce himself as ‘hair bags’ and tells everyone that he is very pleased to have arrived in Germany tomorrow. “I must sound so stupid to them but I think it’s at least a bit endearing that I try.” Oh Stuart, never before has one testicle-faced fool been so wrong. Danke.

Apollo land a meeting with the Marriot hotel. I really hope this taste test will be supervised by Flava Flav. This show could do with a little glamour. Sadly, Joanna is instead met by a be-suited white man. Such is the world of business, I’m afraid. The cleaning queen pitches ‘Aberdeen Angus Steak with chilli’. Sadly, he’s not sitting in the plastic-clad surroundings of an Aberdeen Angus steakhouse as he eats them, which would certainly be enough to crumble any man’s resistance. But Apollo still sell six months’ worth of crisps at the meeting, which is something of a business miracle.

Across town, Laura Moore delivers her pitch at a rate just a little way below supersonic. After being introduced as Stuart’s ‘male colleague’. I always wondered what those polo necks were hiding. She opens with the somewhat bombastic ‘The world has changed’ swiftly followed up by, ‘We have a pretty good idea of where Germany is in the crisp market’. Can you imagine what this woman’s Christmas cards are like?

Meanwhile, Synergy are trying to get a café owner to taste their pseudo-German flavours.”It’s a little bit fat and strong,” the café owner complains. Oh Jesus, has Christopher just fed this man slices of Geoff Capes? There is yet more bad news for Synergy once Bambi-eyes and and Monotone discover that the Marriot have already placed orders with Apollo. This leads to the undignified scene of two grown adults begging a stranger to eat a goulash-flavoured crisp. Eventually the poor hotelier has to point out that it’s all a little ‘unprofessional’. Ouch.

And so the two days of selling finally grind to a halt, and all eight contestants are pulled back to the boardroom on Lord Alanstrad’s big business umbilical cord. Quips are fired back and forth over Herr Baggs being ‘hairbrained’, which is of course hilarious because the man is in fact 80% pastry, 14% grease and 6% honking charm, leaving almost no room for a brain, hairy or otherwise.

Nick and Karen read out the sales results. Synergy sold a substantial 17,995 Euros worth of crisps, but Apollo stormed in to the lead with 19,327 Euros. Hooray! Baggs is saved!

For a treat, Apollo are taken on a shopping trip to Mayfair, where Baggs emerges from the changing room looking like the smart-casual sport commentator member of the Matrix, replete with 90s sunglasses.

For Synergy, however, it’s time for the sad crisp music over a café table full of ketchup. Really, poignant barely scratches the surface. For the sixth time – yes the sixth time – Chris is in the firing line, taking Jamie and Christopher in with him. Hold on, we’ve got a  blue-eyed rugby player, an extra from Hollyoaks and an ex-Marine? It’s the perfect calendar shoot! As styled by Lord Sugartits! Whoever pouts and poses the best is saved for another week! No? Oh okay, fine, do it your way. With an infantile slanging match.

“I’m a straight-talker like you Lord Sugar,” says German-hating, model-groping, seedy-winking Commander Christopher. Oh purlease. “I was 24 when I started my business,” interjects Jamie. “I think that is a huge amount of raw skill.” No Jamie, a sushi-making toddler has a huge amount of raw skill – you are an enormous bore. Or, in the words of Lord Sugar – ‘you are sliding down in my estimation’.

So, like the bionic man, Monotone Chris lives to see another day, while the straight-talking lecherous Marine machine Christopher is sent home to play with his model soldiers and hate the Germans.

Conclusion: When it comes to climbing the greasy pole of crisp manufacturing, you may have to stand on a few toes.

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