The Apprentice, BBC1

by | May 17, 2009 | All, Reviews chart

1. (2) Yasmeena. As part of their campaign to rebrand Margate as a family-friendly resort, she and Kate devised a ruse to get auditioning male models to take off their tops, which would have been more appropriate if they were fashioning the resort as a Club 18-30 writhing pit of decadence.

But even though she sometimes talks like a malfunctioning machine gun, she is certainly one of the stronger candidates and manages to accomplish this by being quite pleasant (losing her temper with Lorraine doesn’t count, people have called in Rentokil for less).

If Yasmeena was a fire she’d be a towering inferno, simultaneously attracting the curiosity of passers-by but terrorising those trapped inside frantically racing for the exits to escape her diabolic wrath.

2. (8) Howard. Acknowledging the fact that in Sir Alan’s eyes he has done bugger all for seven weeks, Howard is like a virus that’s been happy to afflict its host with just a minor dose of the snuffles, but realises that unless it wants to fade into genetic obscurity it’s going to have to induce diarrhoea, vomiting and septic toenails to be remembered.

He rather timidly asked Debra if he could be project manager before settling for a role that would exhibit his creativity; a creativity he garishly flourished until Debra ignored everything he said and settled for a poster that more resembled a mass suicide of letters randomly tossing themselves onto the page from a dictionary soaring amid the semantic thermals of the language firmament.

If Howard was a fire, he’d be a rather pretty lightning storm on the horizon; all shocking, sinewy bolts flaring up the sky, but without ever being more than a momentary distraction from the important business of life.

3. (1) James. “I’ve got my eye on you, James!” warned Sir Alan in a moment that not only damned his performance, but elevated Debra to immunity from persecution from Sir Alan. Lumbering round Margate in his Jamesian fashion, he seemed to do very little other than take a few photos that were more suited to a weekend break to be posted on Facebook, but in the boardroom he was exasperated that his toil was questioned as if he’d just completed the Seven Labours of Hercules.

If James was a fire, he’d be a faintly smoking match tossed away by impatient boy scouts as they try to set light to some grass as part of one their innumerable badges, spluttering for a few seconds before extinguishing and being trodden into the ground as the triumphant scouts troop back to camp.

4. (6) Kate. Like a smooth covering of snow over a craggy mountainside, Kate is pretty much a veneer of competence. When asked about her team’s campaign by the residents and officials of Margate, she floundered and babbled some nonsense about “repositioning” and “turning things on its head” – two phrases pinned with ASBOs to prevent them from straying out of the corporate boardroom lest they sap imagination from vulnerable children.

If Kate was a fire, she’d be a roaring hearth fire, glowing orange at its centre with lumps of coal happily burning behind the grate, while a series of pretty awards garnish the mantelpiece.

5. (5) Mona. Perhaps it’s our imagination, but recently those answering the phone in the morning are later cast out of the programme as though the ringing at 5.10am is a harbinger of doom.

She can take solace in Sir Alan’s “With regret, you’re fired”, although this is one of the Amstrad chief’s more patronising putdowns; in essence it means “You’re simply not cut out to work for me as you’re not ruthless enough, go home and join a typing pool or raise a family”.

One thing we won’t miss is that her words seem to arrive through her mouth after being delayed in customs, staggering out staccato-style one after the other just glad to be free.

If Mona was a fire, she’d be a 1980s computer game representation of fire – a flickering sprite as capable of looking like a bone fide fire as a giraffe is of resembling a ticket for a Rolling Stones concert.

6. (3) Ben. Just when you imagine that the former Guy Fawkes of the piece has begun to mature, and elicit some sensitivity to all those people unfortunate enough not to be him, he cuts through that illusion with his great white dorsal fin of a haircut.

After a decent performance in helping his team to victory, he boasted that he hoped that James would be coming back from the boardroom as it would make it easier for him in later rounds with the “weaker candidates”.

If Ben was a fire, he’d be the inferno in a crematorium, gleefully stripping the flesh and incinerating the bones of the weakest members of society – the dead – in a sadistic blaze of cackling flames.

7. (4) Debra. Somehow bullied Howard into assuming a junior role in the task, as if her appointment as project manager had been made from a higher place, such as God’s will. It was her blunt clubbing of Howard’s ideas like they were helpless infant seals squirming on the ice floe that was responsible for losing this task.

But it didn’t really put her in danger of being fired – she could have spat in Nick’s face or put a pin in Margaret’s curdled puffed-out cheeks to deflate her burgeoning pomposity, and it wouldn’t have mattered. Debra is now blessed with the Mark of Cain from Sir Alan; he’s recognised she is bossy and brutal enough for a place in the final four so her conduct until that point is really irrelevant.

If Debra was a fire, she’d be an oaken bonfire upon which heretics are bound and burned alive for daring to question the orthodoxy of the Catholic Church, with their wordless screams mistranslated as contrite pleas to enter heaven rather than be thrown into damnation.

8. (7) Lorraine. Even though it’s akin to agreeing with Margaret Thatcher’s perspective on social control, we’re starting to think that maybe Philip had a point. Now bereft of her tiresome sparring partner, Lorraine persisted with her contrariness.

If Lorraine was a fire, she’d be a rampant bushfire; out of control and frazzling nearby properties with arbitrary myopia unaware that she’d just destroyed the life’s possessions of a once happy family.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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