The Apprentice, BBC1

by | Apr 18, 2008 | All, Reviews

1. (4) Lee. Perhaps it’s an overspill from the quote of the series so far when Lee went all third person on us – “Lee McQueen is very concerned” – but this blokey bloke who would superficially seem more at home demanding money with menaces from rat-faced East End fences has grown on us. This week, he showed that while he may strike fear into the hearts of adults with his dagger shaped chin and eyes that can mutilate at 30 paces, he turns into a big softy round children, perhaps as a ruse so he can smuggle them away into the forest and raise them as wolves amongst his own kind.

2. (3) Sara. Last week when she was victorious as team leader, she took risks and ordered people around. Now demoted to the position of simple team member, she obeys orders and goes about her job diligently (a word that is almost unknown outside the mendacious realm of CVs). She will go far. Although her inert, motionless merciless eyes do resemble the impenetrable barrels of a primed shotgun.

3. (1) Simon. Sadly our prophecy about his imminent doom after volunteering to be project manager was fulfilled. This rash pledge contributed as much to his downfall as making a loss (something Sir Alan raised on seven separate occasions, each time sounding more exasperated than the last).

But we already knew Simon’s “balls on the line” had been guillotined long before Sir Alan jabbed his finger at the gracious ex-army man, largely because of the sort of editing that sign-posted Ian’s demise last week. Just like Ian, at the start Simon made a self-aggrandising, haughty boast of how his IQ is 170 so his fall would seem that much further when fired (and people who brag about their IQ are often stupid, part of the stupidity being to assume that intelligence can be quantified in a number).

The next clue was Simon walking off down a street, while the camera zoomed into the building behind him, Job Centre Plus. And later the narrator portentously intoned, “One of them is going to find out the gamble hasn’t paid off”, as Simon sat despondently in the background.

And in the boardroom, Simon seemed so eager to remind Sir Alan that he “could’ve made a fortune” that it only underlined his fallibility in wrecking the task rather than any potential glory if he had been successful.

4. (5) Raef. Seemed content to lurk in the background in this task, folding up cardboard to pack mugs into. His only error was to blunder and transfer an image on to a mug upside down, and wear a pink shirt that was the shade of raw pork.

5. (10) Kevin. After spending the last task locked in the kitchen churning out his vomit/pizza crossovers, Kevin was determined to be “out front” on this task. He was granted his wish, and was so determined to remain “out front” that he did so even when everyone else had packed up to resolve the Lucinda Paradox, gazing out into the ebbing seas of dead-eyed humanity as it drifted past filling up another day in their consumer-desert lives, while his close-together eyes sought solace and comfort by holding hands and dreaming up names for their unborn children.

6. (7) Jenny Maguire. Other than clapping her hands, which is fast becoming her trademark tic, she appeared to do absolutely nothing. Is she real, or just an illusory representation? One of the portraits in the Wallace Gallery was more lifelike than her.

7. (11) Lindy. Smiled.

8. (12) Jenny Celery. She continues to expel reluctant syllables from her mouth with the impassive guttural ruthlessness of an instructor pushing nervous novice parachutists out of a plane. She seems to programme herself in the morning, and then is incapable of altering or adapting to her situation. She asked one shopper, “Have you ever heard of Renaissance Photography?”, as if she put into place an international marketing campaign that very day.

9. (2) Helene. From very early on it was obvious she would be this week’s winner against Simon as her cutaway comments section was very brief in relation to his, and focused solely on her disgust for “incompetent people”, which was a presage for her bickering with Lucinda.

While her patience with her bumbling team mate was admirable, she did slip into the sort of language that makes you want to reach for the hammer and bludgeon English to death in revulsion that it can be composed to form sentences of such malignant horror – “You put people in the appropriate skills sets!” “My knowledge base is far behind Lucinda’s”. Are people outside in the real world truly using phrases such as “skills sets” and “knowledge base” words assembled in the same factories of flatulent fecundity patronised by Louis Walsh, Noel Edmonds and Vanessa Feltz?

10. (6) Lucinda. In her penultimate week before she gets fired next week, Lucinda showed all the technical skills of a 1980s parent trying to operate a VCR. Has she ever worked in an office, or was her previous job doing George’s voice in an inept revival of Rainbow?

The technician noted “his children” could use the PC to transfer the photos on to mugs, jigsaws etc, and it’s not only his children; the newly hatched chicks gassed on Jamie Oliver’s chicken programme could have performed with proficiency than Lucinda even as they choked their last.

Next week, she’s up against Claire. She will lose, and she will be fired. This will be confirmed if they pluck her most arrogant statement and use it as the teams devise their initial strategy.

11. (9) Michael. Very probably made from some kind of flammable cardboard that passes safety tests because he’s so dull he induces an enervating apathy in any would-be pyromaniacs. Michael often spouts nonsense simply because he has nothing else to say and wants to forge an impression that he is actually doing something. “Glamour, beauty is very generic,” he spat of Simon’s idea for the photographs, “It’s not a theme, it’s just a word!” But it was a theme that worked well, and it was only Michael’s sterile mind that blinded him to Simon’s schemes.

12. (8) Alex. A blurred outline of humanity, whose spine could be served with ice cream to chuckling children. As Margaret stridently stated, he “stood so far back you were practically out of the room” when Simon tried to burden him with some responsibility.

He was the Brutus to Simon’s Caesar, or rather he would have been had he been able to follow through with his sneering promises. “I will destroy Simon if he takes me back into the boardroom!” he warned with all the flaccid impotence of one of those illiterate, worthless wannabe suicide bombers who make ostentatious, florid threats they’ve plagiarised from a Jihadi manual but linked together with the sort of hackneyed phraseology of a braindead 13-year-old.

13. (13) Claire. The black-eyed cliché witch piled up the clichés as she wrought Simon’s exit. Cliché 1: “I compare Simon to a toddler, and we’re holding up his reins!” 2: “That’s a really bad attitude!” 3. “If you hold your hands up…” 4. “This isn’t the time and the place!” (repeated) 5. “We will do the best we can!” 6. “Simon can invade your personal space.” 7. “It looks like Simon’s on crack or something!” 8. “Simon’s an emotional person.”

The true bottleneck confines of her imagination were exposed when she tried to concoct a sentence not solely constructed from a wilting daisy chain of semantic infertility: “Simon’s like a missile about to go into outer space and spontaneously combust!”

Not even in the chicken farce of series 2 have we ever seen Sir Alan so enraged – “I’m sick of looking at you; get back to the bloody house!” – and Claire seems to have been spared this week not because she didn’t deserve to be fired but more because Sir Alan couldn’t vent his spleen articulately enough and is giving her an extra week so he can unleash his full furnace blast fury upon her. But he won’t next week, that’s Lucinda’s Waterloo.

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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