|Nibble, nibble, toil and trouble...|
A lie-in this week as the call comes 15 minutes later than last at 6am. The remaining seven candidates have half an hour before they need to meet Lord Sugar in the City.
Stephen the Alien is so motivated to win this. He’s going to give 110%. Adam’s massive pink face states the obvious when he says no-one wants to lose. Well, no. Anyway.
Lord Sugar sets the candidates the task of seeking out suppliers, like restaurants, hotels and shops to negotiate with and get the best discounts to present their deals to the daily discount website (being the BBC, can they mention Groupon? Or will it be Wowcher? No, it's Key Noir, and their emphasis is "luxury" - will the teams remember this?).
After last week, Stephen is project manager of Sterling. But who will be Phoenix’s team leader?
Ricky’s only thinking about how much they’ll win by. Confident. Has he remembered Stephen is his team leader?
Jade’s keen to put herself forward as project manager and they all agree and sit in a meeting room for Quite Some Time.
Stephen’s on the move. He’s making appointments from the back of a cab. He’s positioned himself with Gabrielle, who he consistently calls Gabriella, because he doesn’t think much of her. Nifty power play, arsehole. They get a couple of deals from a dentist, who promises to whiten teeth for less (a typical voucher saver - is it luxury enough?).
Ricky goes on a restaurant tour, taking the time to taste some scallops en route. He hasn't talked business At All yet.
Jade’s team eventually get on the move, having made some appointments from their meeting room.
Jade wants to do the pitch. Nick’s also keen. But Jade’s doing it. Not Nick. So they go to The Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary won’t move to a 50% discount – has Jade done the wrong thing by targeting them?
Ricky’s having rather a lovely tour of the restaurant, but the restaurant manager won’t offer any discount at all. What a waste of time! I could bang on about the BBC and editorial guidelines and not just giving posh restaurants free adverts, but there's good news from Camp Jade...
The Sanctuary will move to 50%! How did they do it? It's not really clear, but they did and Jade looks happy. So does Nick. All together now, ahhh.
The Big Pink Face and The Bumfluff are at a boutique hotel. Adam says it’s “gah-jus, just gah-jus”. I think this means he likes it. They manage to get 35% off PLUS the all-important free tea and coffee.
Ricky’s having collywobbles about going to a hotel in fucking Tring. This is because it is in fucking Tring.
Stephen asks Gabrielle whether he’s right to send Ricky to Tring. Stephen can’t decide and his alien face goes through a variety of expressions before settling on one that looks slightly human. He tells Ricky to book additional appointments instead of going to fucking Tring. Hurrah. Well, lucky Tring.
Jade and Nick ring a Thai Massage & Steam (brothel…maybe...Jade shrieks, "It was a WHOREHOUSE!" to an impassive-faced Nick) from the back of a cab and they’re not interested in offering discounts. So, no happy ending on that phone call.
Stephen and Gabrielle are in Fulham, hoping to “hook” a deal at a fish spa. They have their feet nibbled. Stephen, when he puts his feet in to be munched upon, channels what the fish are thinking of his feet when he says, “Jesus, that’s horrible!” Gabrielle and Stephen “net” three deals from this pedicure parlour, though it remains to be seen if they involve the fish as the CEO of the business wasn’t too sure that this was the sort of thing the luxury voucher emporium would be interested in.
Jade and Nick are with restaurateur Marcus Wareing. Not doing maths. Jade: “I can work it out if it’s round numbers”. Oh, dear. No calculator. Not even a phone-with-a-calculator. Marcus isn’t impressed (totally fair enough - who goes to a business meeting without being able to talk business? Only Apprentice candidates!) and leaves them to work out some sums on the back of a napkin.
Ricky’s at another hotel and they’re offering 50% for their luxury lunches and dinners. And Ricky’s eating scallops again.
Adam and Tom have done one deal in seven hours, the industrious little bell-ends. Adam suggests perhaps they could look at takeaways. High end, Adam, HIGH END. Not kebabs. Although maybe that does count as high end Oop North, where Adam’s from.
Jade and Nick finally work out their sums (“this little piggy…”) and get a deal with Marcus for a discount dinner for two. They put their socks and shoes back on, pack away the abacus and head off.
Nick Hewer – “the deadline’s rushing towards them like a steam train at100mph and they don’t look up”.
Ricky’s eating more scallops (I suspect this “coincidence” has been set up by the programme, Don’t You?!). I want to make lots of puns about this, is that shellfish of me? Or should I kipper lid on them? I fillet cod get old really quickly, after all. Anyway, he's having a whale of a time (sorry, I'll stop before you batter me). What I'd really enjoy seeing him eat is a plate of the fish pedicure fish that have just been a-nibbling Stephen's feet, because I'm a sick puppy. Admit it, though, you'd like that too. You sick puppy. I love you.
Adam and Tom blag a candle discount (candles, guys - does it GET more luxury than candles?) with four minutes to go, then it’s the traditional rush to hand in their homework.
On Jade’s team, six deals. But she doesn’t know whether they’ve “smashed it” or not. (What is it with reality TV shows and “smashing it”? It’s a Tulisa stock favourite term. Watch out for talk of “the journey” they’ve been on and how they “have a dream” – how about an original reality TV show where people “don’t really mind” who wins and are “relatively pleased” with how they’ve performed? Let’s celebrate mediocrity!).
For Stephen's team, nine deals.
The obligatory “but which team could they be talking about” montage from the daily deals website ensues, as we are left guessing till the boardroom bonanza how the teams have done.
But, what’s this?
It’s the teams! En route to the boardroom bonanza! We won’t have to wait long then…
It’s the teams! En route to the boardroom bonanza! We won’t have to wait long then…
Top boardroom news – Adam’s wearing a more purple tie than he usually favours. It makes his face look, if anything, MORE pink. Hardly believed this to be possible.
Sterling…Stephen’s eyes widen to an extent hitherto never seen on planet Earth as Lord Sugar begins to talk about Sterling’s performance. How was he as a team leader? Ricky says the stress got to them all…and begins to outline his trip to the first scallop-munching stop. Half an hour looking round the restaurant before learning that they don’t do discounts. Shuggs is gobsmacked – what a waste of time! Ricky “made a bad assumption”.
However, Ricky got a seven-course evening meal AND a lunchtime meal discount. 100 for the dinner and 200 for the lunch. But did Ricky limit the deals the could sell by only asking for that number?
Stephen’s strategy was to get multiple deals from individual places. Five vendors, nine deals. “That’s quite smart” – praise indeed from Lord Shuggs.
Jade’s strategy wasn’t multiple deals. She wanted quality, not quantity. Was it a mistake not to go for multiple deals?
“You should have come to the table with intelligence,” said Marcus Wareing. Unfortunately, it was Jade and Nick going to the table and they forgot their calculator. And their brains. But they did manage to get a deal, by the lucky fluke of remembering their toes (and the abacus).
Adam and Tom managed to get a 35% discount at the boutique hotel, but Shuggs isn’t impressed. But they did manage to get FREE TEA AND COFFEE thrown in. Complimentary. Not discounted. Free. I’m left wondering just how much it is for a cup of tea Oop North…
They got the candle discount too. But Lord Sugar STILL isn’t impressed. It would have to be a pretty fucking special candle, he almost says.
What was accepted and how did they get on?
Phoenix: of the six deals offered by Phoenix, only two were accepted.
Sterling: of the nine deals offered, three were accepted. Of the deals that Stephen and Gabrielle put forward, the golf deal sold a mere seven units, making £350. Ricky got two deals. The 100 dinners sold out completely and 90 of the 200 lunches were taken up, making £6,090. Sterling's total: £6,440.
Phoenix: Tom and Adam drew a blank. No deals accepted at all. Not even with the free tea and coffee. Baffling. The lunch deal brought in 77 sales, giving total sales of £5,950. Over on Sterling, Gabrielle looks worried. And Jade’s spa deal achieved 87 sales, total revenue, £8,613. Overall revenue of £14,563.
So, Phoenix win by over £8k and they go to Cliveden for afternoon tea. Hurrah!
The others remain for the boardroom bollocking…
Lord Sugar doesn’t give anything away as he says it won’t automatically be Stephen who’s for the chop, it’s about who didn't perform on the day. But, given that Stephen didn't - can he save himself?
Back at the prize...
Cliveden charge £500 for their afternoon tea and Adam suggests they do some kind of discount…goodness, what a card!
Jade loves winning. And eating. And they clink (not chink, Stephen, jeez) their teacups together and enjoy themselves.
Back to the boardroom…
Where did Sterling go wrong? Well, they didn’t sell enough. Obv.
Stephen slates Gabrielle again. Gabrielle says Stephen lost the plot. Will Ricky manage to keep his head down and watch the other two talk each other out of the boardroom?
Lord Sugar – nine deals, he thought that was rather good. But Ricky’s suggestion that they only offered 100 deals for the dinner was “sickening”. Karren says they could have sold at least 250. Lord Sugar questions the choice of the dentist and the fish spa. Stephen drops Gabrielle in it. Shuggs says the fish spa is too common.
Lord Sugar says the health spa in fucking Tring should have been gone for (only more grammatically correctly than that, he's an educated man, after all). Stephen lies about how much he tried to push fucking Tring as an option. Shuggs is unimpressed. “Why did you not go there yourself then, you steaming great twat?” he almost says.
Ricky clearly did more business than Stephen and Gabrielle – and the fish thing was flawed from the start, so surely it’ll be one of them what goes. SURELY? Shuggs and his advisers have a chat. Will Stephen the Alien be beamed up? Has Gabrielle found the pressure too much? Has Ricky "Not That One" Martin shimmied his last task?
The firing line…
Lord Sugar asks Ricky who he thinks should go.
Ricky says Stephen buckled under pressure and Stephen tries a Jedi mind trick, asking Ricky who he feels is most to blame for the failure of the task. Which backfires neatly when Ricky says it is Stephen. They argue a lot about fucking Tring and rubbish negotiating. Shuggs asks Stephen why he doesn’t feel he’s responsible for the failure of the task.
Stephen blames Gabrielle and then does his upside-down U face again some more as she tries to justify her ideas a lot. And tells Stephen he lost the plot. Stephen admires “Gabriella’s” passion, but still can’t get her name right, the passive aggressive python.
Ricky’s such a great prospect for the future, according to, well, Ricky.
Gabrielle’s a nice girl, but Shuggs doesn’t need any more friends. Has she still got the fighting spirit she showed at the start of the series? He isn't sure.
Ricky tells Stephen not to be condescending when talking to Gabrielle. So Stephen stops speaking, because he can’t talk to her without being a patronising cockwart.
The final judgment:
Ricky made a massive mistake in not going to fucking Tring.
Stephen hasn’t won the task, despite being a colossal cocky gobshite last week. Panicked.
Gabrielle – didn’t contribute much in this task.
Shuggs reiterates that it is the person who is responsible for the lack of contribution in the task – is this because he wants to keep Stephen “comedy gold” Alien to keep us watching?
Ooh, maybe. Because he fires Gabrielle.
And I, for one, won’t miss her.
And that's it, The End.
There's a twist!
For it isn't over till the fat lady sings (or Ricky Martin does a quick jive) - Lord Sugar has had Quite Enough of Stephen the Alien as well and he gets the pointy-fired-finger treatment too!
A DOUBLE FIRING! Didn't see that coming.
I will quite miss Stephen though, it turns out. Hmph.
And that really is The End. Or, if you like, La Fin. (Sorry)