So we’re used to Apprentice candidates talking bullsh*t, but actual steaming manure made an appearance this week, brilliantly. Yes, cow poo was one of the items on the annual discount-buying task list, where the teams have to secure a range of incongruous items within a day, for the lowest price possible. While the show's format feels about as lively as a taxidermy sloth on this eleventh run, this annual car crash is one of the highlights for me - and this proved no different.
And what was this, sacré bleu, as the French never say, Lord Sugar had thrown a curveball and one half of each team had to find their wares in Northern France. “Be as cheeky as you can” one of the boys said about the “negotiations”, as though they were heading to romance ladieez in Magaluf rather than procure mussels and lace in Calais.
To me, the most interesting thing about The Apprentice is how incongruous all the candidates look in any situation that isn't Alan Sugar's sterile boardroom. None of them seem to know how to exist outside a fictional office where the women wear power suits and stilettos, and the blokes sport braces and shiny suits. One of the boys appeared to be dressed as a cross between a street urchin and Mr T from The A-Team, and that was just when they were lazing around the house.
Anyway, I digress. Only a couple of the 16 left spoke any French so it was an opportunity to adopt the Brits abroad comfort blanket speaking English loudly with an ‘Allo, ‘Allo! accent and say “c'est bon" a lot, even when nothing was particularly bon.
The ones in Dover were just as much fishes out of water. Suit jackets and ties flapping in the wind, the boys shovelled manure into bags and the girls shoes squelched in the sh*t. “Your Jimmy Choos became Jimmy Poohs,” Lord Sugar quipped later. You got a sense he’d made up this just so he could say that.
There were the inevitable spanners in the works. It wasn’t snail season, alas. Why did no one just go down to E.Leclerc for the escargots? You can get everything there and there’s one right by the ferry.
Lord Sugar’s henchmen Karren Brady and Claude Littner are professional doom-mongerers, so any compliments are hard won. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Karren as the stilettoed girls ran around the Dover docks frantically searching for seafood. She clearly has a short memory - the candidates are always this imbecilic.
In the end, the boys won and Jenny was fired, but the boardroom bit is so long I’d lost the will to live by then. “You got covered in bullsh*t, so now you know how I feel when I listen to some of the rubbish that comes out of your mouth,” said Lord Sugar in the denouement. Hear, hear.
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