WARNING: This blog is for people watching The Apprentice. Contains spoilers!
Read up on episode 8 here.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Lord Sugar orders his candidates to work as estate agents. This is like two nuclear bombs colliding to produce the shiniest suits and dodgiest ethics in business.
Joseph leads team Versatile, and Richard takes on team Connexus. Each team divvies up the high-end properties (luxury apartments that cost up to £1.5m) and mid-range “affordable” flats (£320k and over).
In the time it takes for them to squabble over who sells which kind of property, London’s housing crisis continues apace, with discarded kebab boxes on the streets of Tower Hamlets accruing value. By the end of the episode, ermine begin buying the rats out of the capital’s sewers.
“My parents are actually architects in New York,” Vana tells anyone who will listen. And it works. She and Richard win the pick of which high-end properties to sell. A property developer called Harry is particularly thrilled with them. “I think he really bought into us,” says Richard, using that curious male ‘we’ that really translates as, “I will never give a woman credit for anything, so help me God.”
In the end, Joseph and Selina of the rival team have to sell Harry’s Stratford properties. “Skip the suspenders and pink shirts,” he says, gesturing to Joseph’s braces. “I had a very nice suit on, with a purple shirt,” whines Joseph afterwards, unhooking his signature “suspenders”.
Scott fluffs his pitch when taking clients around a showroom of a studio flat. It’s like watching a redundant businessman having a breakdown in Ikea. “This area would be for your washing machines” – “for your wardrobe”, corrects Brett – “this would be the dining room,” he continues – “Scott, this would be the lounge,” warns Brett, sorrowfully. “Open space for the windows to have the sun coming in through the day and night,” Scott suggests, with hope in his heart.
Karren Brady looks on, disgusted. But that might be because she has been faced with the concept of a studio flat.
“Do you have much knowledge in Clapham at all?” Scott asks one couple, like a lost tourist in south London. “It’s very highly-populated by everybody,” he informs them. “Everybody’s enjoying the Clapham,” which sounds like a bawdy Shakespeare joke about venereal disease.
Charleine is on a roll selling “mid-range” properties. “£350,000!” she exclaims after her first sale. “You can buy a street in Wales for that money! Wow!” The rest of the show is moot because all viewers miss it as they pack their bags and hitchhike to Newport.
Selina, in contrast, sells nothing, but still somehow insists she is the best at selling to exclusive clients. “I’ve dealt with members of the royal family,” she boasts. Which sounds more like she’s trailed behind them, cleaning up corgi mess and casual racism, than worked with them.
Richard and Vana have trouble selling yet-to-be-built Canary Wharf apartments with no floorplans or show flats, but eventually a duo of wealthy smoothies fall for their creepy sales patter and equally creepy plate of bakewell tarts and mini battenberg cakes.
In spite of Charleine and Gary’s rather sweet enthusiasm (they bounce up to couples in the street asking if they’d like to buy a house, and somehow get very close to making a sale), Versatile loses. This doesn’t stop Sugar laying into Scott though. Perhaps he googled it and discovered that, actually, not every single member of the earth’s population lives in Clapham: “You are a very, very lucky man to still be here,” he sneers.
And as the winning team members skip out of the boardroom, anticipating their treat (riding around an estuary in a motorised pedalo, or something), Scott remains in his seat. Ominous horns begin to play. “I would like to exit the process at this point,” says Scott – the most Apprentice way ever to say “I quit.”
Everyone gasps and puts their hands over their mouths in horror.
“You’ve actually made my life easier,” grunts Sugar.
Scott grabs his bag, and marches off to the taxi of humiliation, with the furious battlecry: “I’m off.”
And it’s Selina who’s actually fired.
I had a little poke around to find out what’s been going on behind the scenes – Scott quitting despite winning and Selina accusing the producers of “fixing” the finalists – which you can read up on here, if you too are masochistically into this programme.
Candidates to watch:
Doesn’t seem too comfortable with the process. Will he walk too?
Will she blossom now her nemesis Selina is out of the picture?
Usually sour, but sometimes successful.
I’ll be blogging The Apprentice each week. Click here for the previous episode blog. The Apprentice airs weekly at 9pm, Wednesday night on BBC One.