The Apprentice 2013 TV review: Leah Totton beats Luisa Zissman


Spoiler alert: Final episode reviewed as Lord Sugar chooses between a doctor’s plan for a nationwide chain of Botox bars or a cake-making business

“I’m 66 years old. Do I need the aggravation?” asked Lord Sugar, promptly answering his own question by going into business with Leah Totton, the Northern Irish doctor who wants to open a chain of beauty clinics, and thereby, in Sugar’s words, “putting my face in the centre of a dart board”. He was referring to his vulnerability to litigation and negative publicity, rather than Leah’s surgical precision.

At one point Sugar seemed to be leaning towards Luisa Zissman and her one-stop cake-making business Baker’s Tool Kit (she wisely discarded Hello Baker!). “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen – a lot of people get fat?”, asked the aptly named Sugar. But then Leah hit back with a line about the profits to be made with her anti-ageing fixes in comparison to baking goods. “How many pots of edible glitter do you have to sell to make the same money?”. If Sugar’s face was a dart board, that arrow hit the bull. Some commentators have bemoaned the fact that the business plans in the first-all female final should involve bakery and Botox, but for Sugar the contest boiled down to margins versus safety and the fact that Luisa already had three other businesses to “to keep an eye on from on high”, as she put it. Perhaps also Sugar couldn’t expunge memories of Luisa’s earlier coup d’etat, when she forced Jason to step down from his team leadership.

Hypocritically choosing him to be on her team last night (although she didn’t have much choice) Luisa observed that “he’s useless, but at least he’ll do what he’s told”. Her manipulative nature has made her the boo-hiss villainess of this series, but what I always liked about her is that, like Dick Dastardly, she seemed amused by her own duplicity. So when Jason admitted to have been “touched that she went out of her way to choose me”, she smiled cunningly at his naivety.

By dint of some snappy telephone exchanges with former co-contestants, Leah managed to assemble her dream team – and then promptly ignored them. This was especially so over her chosen brand name, the word “skin” spelt backwards, or Niks.

While Leah practised her pitch, Luisa spent her last minutes in a Marie Antoinette-ish manner, piping icing on to cupcakes, prompting Hewer  to mutter darkly:  ”As we all know,  failure to prepare that presentation is preparing to fail.”

In the event she ad-libbed competently, even earning a round of applause for her promo video, while Leah’s film was received in silence.

Then Leah told a couple of industry experts that they didn’t know what they were talking about.

This didn’t put off Sugar, it seems, and probably quite rightly – for while the cooler-than-cool Leah may be hard to warm to, the fact is that the best woman won.

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