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Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Apprentice: How Stretchy Is An Octopus?

The Apprentice is back! Kicking off with the various sassy walks of this year's contestants sashaying down the unrealistically empty(and clean) London streets. We are treated to a selection of cringe-inducing quotes. London based lifestyle brand owner Daniel quotes a meme I recognise from spending too much time on the internet; "Some people say money can't make you happy but I'd rather cry in a sports car than cry in a banger." While part-time film extra Kurran has self-confidence "oozing from his skin" and "extremist" Camilla has plans for world domination. The only person I'm the slightest bit endeared to is "teddy bear" tax advisor David.


Lord Sugar tells us to "expect the unexpected", though I'm pretty confident this series will play out in a similar fashion to all the rest. Checking out their CVs we learn Rick shoots guns, Camilla is a "nut enthusiast" and Sarah talks too much. Although it's all worth it just to hear Lord Sugar classify Kurran as an "out of work film extra". No matter how perfect the setup, please don't make oral sex jokes in the boardroom Kayode.

In an Apprentice first, the contestants are off abroad, to Malta! It's a mish-mash of handshakes backseat in the car as everyone gets to know each other and show off. Where did Sarah get the idea Northerners are considered pushovers? The stereotype goes pretty much the opposite way, unfortunately, she's ticking almost every stereotypical Northerner box so far.

In transparent power move that will no doubt come back to bite her later, Jackie nominates Jasmine to be project manager. Jasmine grudgingly accepts as no one else is inclined to step forward. Kayode nominates himself with a passionate speech that garners the full support of the rest of the boys. Very disappointingly we aren't getting any awesomely cringe team names this season.

So the task begins in earnest with binders of laminated paper and brief descriptions of the items provided to the teams. Both teams sit there struggling to decipher what the actual items as if this is a parallel universe where Google doesn't exist, I can only guess the use of the internet is banned on The Apprentice. Mike of the boys has the wise idea of calling the tourist information line. Already the girls are fighting, with Claud archly surveying them from the background. Khadija is not a fan of travelling to the second biggest island in Malta; Gozo, just to buy salt and wine. But Jasmine makes an executive decision that it has to be done.

Meanwhile, the boys faff about at an antique shop, where everything appears broken and dusty, as Karen disapprovingly takes notes in the background. Their time isn't completely wasted though, as, after a brief phone call from the rest of the boys, they nip back inside to cop a special kind of Maltese cape, albeit a very dusty one.


While looking for a filigree boat at a market stall, Sarah does that terribly ineffective Brit abroad thing where you repeat the word louder and slower in the hope it will make the other person understand. Claud observes Sarah is "very forceful". The boys get a slimy wet octopus, measured by a tape measure that then also becomes slimy and wet. No worries though, as it's total length is forty inches and in the boy's minds, this satisfies the 'hose' requirement. We have our first real barny of the episode as Khadija and Sarah come to blows outside the filigree shop over negotiation privileges, Sian tries(but not that hard) to calm the situation.

It's 2pm and Siesta time in the Mediterranean. The boys are having no luck as according to David "everyone just sleeps all day around here", disparaging the Maltese and their cultural traditions on an episode intended to celebrate their culture is so perfectly British. After some confusing maths, the Gozo girls have got the salt, but disaster strikes back in the car as the next stop on the list isn't even on the island they ferried themselves all the way too. Jasmine makes the decision to stay on Gozo anyway and Jackie looks miffed.

Ricks' boys have a miscommunication mix up over the blinds but it's sorted just in time before any money is spent. The girls aren't so lucky. Sian's sub-team pay fifty euros for a used blind off someone's wall. It's a nifty psychological trick the store owner played, making it seem he'd gone the extra mile for them, his significantly overpriced offer was instantly accepted by the girls out of gratitude for the cast-offs. Whereas the Gozo girls managed to score a superfluous second blind for the bargain price of one euro. As the task draws to a close, a mad dash sees the boys make the airport with only two minutes to spare as the Gozo girls slow down their whole group collecting honey.


I'm not sure how much frantic shopping for foreign oddities tells you about someone's business acumen. But this kind of farce is the apprentice's bread and butter, Lord Sugar and his cohorts continue to act as if this is indeed serious business as we are back in the boardroom to tally the scores and bicker over culpability. There's a back and forth over the "go to Gozo" saga, that stays quite low key, probably due to Sarah having no opinion on the matter. Kayode has got way too much to say and even tries to take credit for Toms idea to call the tourist board, Karen has to correct him twice. The mystery of the octopus with a forty inch hose is finally solved, as it turns out to be a piece of diving equipment.

In the great Apprentice tradition, the girls lose the first task. At the post boardroom cafe, sesh Jasmine hilariously coins Sarah as "the horse that can't be held back" and this is enough to set off the massive chip on the shoulder. She's judiciously a lot quieter(but still loud) in the boardroom but it can't save her from the wrath of Lord Sugar. Jasmine certainly has a skill for witty comebacks as she calls Jackie "the overall opinionater" of their group. She chooses Sarah and Jackie to come back into the boardroom with her and Sarah is sent packing. Lord Sugar doesn't like loudmouths, when will the contestants learn?

Contributed by Amarah Coombs

The Apprentice Continues Wednesday 9.00pm on BBC1 

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