Have I slipped into an alternate reality? I must have. The last time I looked, Denial was a rubbish salesman and talked bollocks at every given opportunity. Mark, smooth-talking Aussie hunk that he is, was the consummate professional, seducing all who fell under his dimple-cheeked spell.
But this week, premium puddings week, everything was wrong. It began with Denial swapping places with Sanjay, Roisin and Katie put in charge of teams Summit and Tenacity – though there are barely enough players left for them to be called teams.
Katie, who wants to open a healthy eating restaurant in Sunderland (mwahahahahahaha – really? No, seriously – SUNDERLAND??), and Roisin, the dead-eyed blonde whose dream of making millions lies in ready meals (apparently) were picked as PMs and both sides sent on their merry ways to create posh puds.
Solomon, along with his wild and windswept barnet, effectively told Roisin that he would be crap in the kitchen and demanded to be allowed in on the marketing of their tea and cheesecake blend, while Sanjay waited all of three seconds before falling on Katie and Mark, telling them how grateful he was to be away from Bianca and her “arse covering”. Silly Sanjay didn’t realise that snarky comment was jotted down by Karren, who gleefully relayed it back to him in the boardroom.
But I digress. While Katie (whose restaurant plans might suffer a smidge from the fact she seems to know NOTHING about food) chucked the entire world’s supply of saffron in her trumped-up trifles, Mark and Sanjay plotted getting out of school early after designing the packaging. They were so pleased with it, mark demanded to be taken to the board room immediately, because they’d nailed it. Hmm.
Meanwhile, Bianca and Denial slurped tea at – wait for it – a tea sommelier – to find the right infusions for their not-so-cheap cheesecake. Denial, who admitted to not being a fan of tea, ended up quite liking what he and Bianca came up with, and happily trotted back to Roisin and Sanjay.
The next day, the teams got their hands on their pots and decided who would be pitching to the three clients Surallan had laid on: a high end distributor, a supermarket chain and a megastore.
I howled in delight when Denial was told flatly by Roisin – who presumably threatened to bite him and make him a member of the undead too – to keep his mouth shut. Then I watched in horror as the Irish bean counter bored the pants off the panel she was trying to impress.
At the next pitch, Denial desperately tried to keep his gob shut but he couldn’t, and actually sounded affable. Charming even – there was a glitch in the matrix. By the time the third pitch had been rounded off, he’d managed to speak without sounding like a bragging moron. Gah!
In contrast, Katie’s saffron-loaded trifle was going down like a lead balloon – and her attempts to sell it were even worse. Mark, lounging in the car next to her, sold himself as a “prized stallion” and insisted he be kept back for the final, massive pitch, leaving Sanjay pouting and sulking. He was right… Mark walked into the third pitch like a nervous colt. He coughed and spluttered and sweated and stumbled.
He’d surely been nobbled! Denial must have switched his Aussie man juice and done something to scupper Mark’s ability to put one foot in front of the other, one word after the other. It was agony to watch.
To the boardroom then, where Mark fessed up to being utter pants at the pitch. I think he even had a glimmer of sympathy from Surallan, but even the 13,500 units of pudding sold couldn’t touch Summit’s 25,000. Bah. While they all went out for a sweet treat, Katie, Sanjay and Mark trooped back into the seats of shame.
But instead of a forensic examination of the task, their business plans were hacked to pieces, and by the time he’d finished, Surallan had sent both Katie and Sanjay packing. Mark, stumbling and sweating, was given a last chance – and promptly returned to the house to gasps of amazement. “I’m not going before Daniel” was his joking comment, as Denial guffawed.
But as the interview stage looms next week, I’ll be glued to the screen to find out how long this new world can last…
Katie – FIRED
Sanjay – FIRED
Mark – dodged the biggest of bullets – Tool
Roisin – feeble PM – Tool
Bianca – did well and worked hard – Talent
Solomon – sneakily avoided doing any hard work again… Tool
Denial – Time will tell for this one… Tool
The Apprentice Continues Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One.
Contributed by Scheenagh Harrington