After three programmes, it’s time for the candidates’ first medical check-up:
1. (3) Simon. Such was his role in this episode he may as well have cut himself out of reality and moved to the corner of the screen and taken up the position of a sign language interpreter, but instead of communicating Ian’s nonsense to the hard of hearing he would instead have been offering a common sense alternative to his project manager’s feeble waffling.
However, in the boardroom he pleaded (wrongly thinking that Sir Alan would consider firing him): “I’m perceptive, I’m shrewd, put me in charge of something, Sir Alan!” The last two people who have made such a plea were fired in the subsequent episode; we hope Simon’s more fortunate.
Simon also fell victim to Sir Alan’s portentous manner of asking rhetorical questions in the style in which he seems to demand an answer: “Have you got anything other than physical ability?” pondered the grizzled knight. “Yes, Sir Alan…” “I’m talking!”
2. (11) Helene. Admirably stood up for Sara after Claire’s malevolent soul began to glow like an irradiated skinned rat. “Maybe it’s someone’s strategy to let Sara f**k up, and then get her fired.” Still has the resigned grimace of a shallow puddle about to face the onslaught of a hundred bored wellington-booted children walking home from school.
3. (2) Sara. Despite the sniping of the atrocious Claire, Sara led her team to a deserved victory because of her determination and single-mindedness to succeed and pursue her vision, correctly subordinating the team as tools with which to achieve this, in contrast to Ian who resembled a Mid-West plain over which herds of stampeding longhorns are regularly driven.
4. (5) Lee. Still suffering from a chronic case of Cretinous Devolution. When Sir Alan briefed the teams in the Tate Modern, Lee’s eyes set off on a voyage around the confined padded call of his imagination. An imagination exercised in full for his suggestions for the theme of the pub were stained by a similarly agricultural approach: “Chicken in a basket, burger and chips, American diner type-fing!”
He was also unable to spell the word ‘accent’, which was actually a blessing as it meant Raef’s absurd suggestion that they adopt Italian accents was exposed to the scrutiny it deserved. But Lee’s crowning glory in this episode was when he started speaking in the third person. And what’s more he wasn’t just ‘Lee’ he was ‘Lee McQueen’, as if his surname would strike fear into the defiant hearts of his team members.
5. (1) Raef. Like the emotionally illiterate suitor who believes that something as absolute and all-consuming as love can be made more profound through the myopic affixation of senseless adjectives such as ‘true love’ or ‘the real thing’, Raef’s vacuous ‘mission statement’ in each episode is to pledge his devotion with an emptier oath each than before. “I’ll will give you 100%, no 110!” And we’re sure we saw a small population of wild boar peeking out from amid the haughty overgrowth of his princely eyebrows.
6. (10) Lucinda. Dressed like an eccentric aunt attending a funeral with a facial expression that teeters on the high-wire of emotional instability above the fathomless abyss of mental breakdown.
7. (9) Jenny Maguire. In three weeks she has been a less perceptible presence than even Francis, Sir Alan’s secretary, floating about in the background like a malformed phantom and only occasionally pausing to offer some crippling aphorism of stupidity to the camera like a seal juggling with a ball.
8. (7) Alex. After his project manager baptism of fire in the first episode, Alex has settled like a ship at the bottom of the Atlantic to slowly rot away until there’s nothing left other than the skeletal remains of his once rapacious ambition and his skewer haircut. This week he lied, “I get the feeling…”, when it’s always been clear that a ‘feeling’ to him is as distant and exotic as a libido to a eunuch.
Alex was also so proud that he’d “negotiated 100% off” the cost of the leaflets, that it had blinded him to the fact that he’d still been ripped off. And as a result claimed this week’s Michael Sophocles Award for Abysmal Negotiation.
9. (14) Michael. Last week he danced, this week he sung. Is he really a candidate for the job or merely the weekly entertainment in the same way that Barbara Dickson was a perennial guest on The Two Ronnies?
10. (12) Kevin. Became the head chef at the boys’ pub through his relevant qualification of being able to count money. This didn’t aid him in calculating the correct amount of tomatoes to buy for the soup, leaving him with either too much of one ingredient and not enough of another.
Along with thinking that coffee was a dessert, he also recited the delicacies he would serve up with the mechanical monotone of a naïve explorer lost in the jungle going in circles: “Bacon or ham or chicken with crème fraiche with a baked mushroom with sauce and pepper and serve that into a sauce, I don’t know spicy potatoes…”
11. (8) Lindy. As last week, Lindy’s sole technique seems to be to offer a personalised service no matter how worthless it might be. “Use the customer’s first name,” she urged her teammates as though not only was she the first person to concoct this method of customer service, but also that she was the innovator to come up with the concept of using a person’s first name when talking with them.
12. (15) Jenny Celery. Did little more than jump up and down excitedly at the sight of the Bollywood dancer who had been hired from a neighbouring restaurant.
13. (13) Claire. The black-eyed cliché witch took a break from spouting clichés this week to focus all her energy on backstabbing, taking over from Lindy after she had evidently dislocated her verbal shoulder from all the merciless thrusting into the back of her teammates over the past two tasks. For each idea that Sara suggested, Claire would evoke the dullest, most moribund alternative possible. When Sara put forward a colourful Bollywood theme, Claire’s prosaic response was people “would much rather have a pie”, before her spiteful observation that “the food looks like vomit”.
In the boardroom, she was eager to praise Sara – “She was great” – but later snidely remarked that she “didn’t do a particularly good job”.
14. (5) Ian. Damned from the moment his pompous peacock feather-waving mission statement of his life was rerun from the first week: “There are winners and there are… I can’t say it, I can’t spell it.” His face makes expressions so awkwardly it may as well have been made out of Lego, while his brain seems to have been attached on a drip-feed of The Big Book of Bilious Business Axioms, “It’s a light bulb moment!”
The intellectual and philosophical antithesis of Socrates, Ian needed no coercion to gulp down the hemlock. “I work to very high morals,” he blurted, making less sense than a fashion journalist, “and I’m an honest individual!”
His lick of hair now more than ever resembles a flailing hand making one last grasp for salvation before it is sucked into the intractable depths of a pit of quicksand.