The Apprentice 2011, Episode Three: No Hiding Place

Lord Sugar hiding things in beans, Jim wiping cow blood on his kecks and Nick Hewer taking umbrage over some silk...
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Lord Sugar hiding things in beans, Jim wiping cow blood on his kecks and Nick Hewer taking umbrage over some silk...

And so began Episode Three of The Apprentice, with the most notable highlight so far being when Week One loser Ed blurted the words “it’s all there!” at Lord Sugar, regarding his work as an accountant – a line which sounded confident and sexy in his own head, but left the rest of the room wondering things like “what’s all there?” and “what is this guy even TALKING ABOUT?” In Ed’s defence it probably is all there, philosophically speaking. In that everything is all there. He was deep, that Ed. And misunderstood.

Would there be any similar gems this week? Would anyone else be misunderstood? The house phone came off the hook, and was placed on the top of the dresser, as images of Lord Sugar standing on a rooftop like a brave mountaineer in a suit waiting for a rescue chopper appeared set to some fierce violin work.

It was 6am. Too early for anyone to be up, and yet Melody was already dressed in a pair of leggings and a massive Happy Mondays t-shirt, circling the telephone, urging it to ring.

“This is Alan’s mum, be at the Savoy in ONE HOUR!”

The one with a shaved head sprayed a good lashing of Right Guard over his hairy armpits, Natasha rummaged through Vincent’s pockets hunting for her knickers, and then everyone kick started the day with some rampant business debate in the back of a Renault Espace.

He then muddled the teams to look like a funny mirror reflection of how S Club Juniors might have looked if things had been different

AT THE SAVOY

“I’ve got a list of ten things written on a napkin that I’ve hidden in a tin of beans!” shouted Lord Sugar. “You’ll need to buy them, deliver them back to the Savoy, and then LEAVE. Do not mess this up!”

He then muddled the teams to look like a funny mirror reflection of how S Club Juniors might have looked if things had been different, then issued each side with a couple of grand, a map, a hunting rifle, a copy of the Yellow Pages, and a Swiss Army Knife in case they needed to burn anything using just the natural glare of the sun and an absolutely miniature magnifying glass.

“I bought my mum a house on the same day I aced all of my A levels and got a degree,” bragged Susan, putting her case forward to become leader of Venture, and possibly Prime Minister one day.

On the other side, Vincent explained how well he would do if he chose to lead the group, which he wouldn’t. Not this time, girls.  That treat went to a kindly optician called Gavin. From Liverpool.

“Things are cheaper in East London,” muttered Susan, thinking about a group of poor children happily playing with an old stick in Dalston.

Irishman Jim was on the phone promising a handshake to a butcher.

THE ACTUAL DOING OF THINGS

Showing the kind of cutthroat business acumen that did everything to explain those wonderful A level results, Susan immediately put her team to work – first on phones in an office, then on phones in cabs. Gavin, meanwhile, shouted out of a window to see if any passers-by might know what a cloche is. His team eventually left the building at 11.25am, once Vincent had finished seductively licking cappuccino foam from his fingertips.

Only five and a half hours to go, no deal’s done, whilst in a butcher’s shop somewhere, a very lucky meat hacker was on the receiving end of that handshake from Jim. A handshake which cost £170 in return for some steaks.

Gavin started the day like a stubbly Tom Cruise excited to do business with people, then ended it like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man

“Put it this way, I’m charming as fuck,” said Jim to a cameraman, attempting to smear cow blood from the palm of his hand on the inside of his trouser pocket.

To summarise the rest of a very long task: Susan visited all of the most dreamy and expensive shops in London, and managed to haggle a single penny off the world’s most expensive top hat. Vincent cruised around town in his usual pussy-wagon. Gavin started the day like a stubbly Tom Cruise excited to do business with people, then ended it like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. And at one point Nick Hewer looked absolutely appalled about something in a shop specialising in fine silks.

By 5pm, Gavin had managed to buy six items, Susan nine – including the best part of half a grand on tea. Sugar was going to be furious. He hates that kind of bullshit.

THE BOARDROOM ROUND ONE

“Lord Sugar will see you now,” whispered a lonely voice coming from underneath a desk.

And the teams trooped into the boardroom, to await Sugar’s arrival through a door made from the same glass used to make posh shower cubicles. He duly entered and took his place on his magnificent Mastermind chair, which looked spectacularly good when compared to the shit ones provided for his guests.

“Good team leaders?” he asked, nodding first towards Gavin, then to Susan. Then back to Gavin. Then Susan. Then Gavin. Susan. Gavin. Susan. Gavin. Susan. Gavin. Susan. Susan (gotcha! Every time!).

Susan’s team did thumbs up signs, whilst Gavin’s kind of said nothing, but suggested that he was rubbish. As Sugar knows all too well, silence speaks volumes. It’s knowing things like that which has got him where he is today.

Hewer jabbed his fingers at a calculator, did some maths. Venture had won! By eight quid!

“There is no hiding place,” said Karen Brady, whilst just yards away in reception, a lady underneath a desk started seriously sweating.

The winners were treated to a night at a sexy circus/bar, where they could drink cocktails and talk business achievements whilst trapeze artists dangled above them unnoticed. The other sorry lot went to Heartbreak Café for a round of builder’s tea, and a cherry liqueur based cocktail for Vincent.

THE BOARDROOM ROUND TWO

The Shard, plinky plonky music. “Lord Sugar will see you now… again.”

They were all guilty of messing this one up. Gavin for refusing to leave the initial planning meeting despite Karen Brady repeatedly tapping her watch and coughing “for fuck’s sake” into her fist. Vincent for not allowing anyone to finish a phone call without him lurching across, grabbing the phone and closing the deal himself. Zoe for being completely invisible throughout the task. And lo, conveniently, it was those three left in line to feel the wrath of Lord Sugar’s judgmental firing finger.

Vincent played with his hair, Sugar made a borderline racist joke about Belgium, Zoe stared out of the window.

“Get out Gavin!” barked Sugar, eventually. And off he went to sit at a cab rank and bitch about Vincent.

“There is no hiding place,” said Karen Brady, whilst just yards away in reception, a lady underneath a desk started seriously sweating.

Next time: Massage!

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