This week, let's start with an open letter to Ben.
I notice that in the car you were harping on about Sandhurst again and how they recognised the team leader in you, etc., etc., etc. But you didn't actually go there, did you? I do admire your spin efficiency, even if I find "spin" abhorrent. So, just in case you don't win and just in case you've missed it, I think you'll find the Labour party is a bit short of spinners at the moment and may be recruiting (and hopefully not with taxpayers' money). Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours and thank you for entertaining me during this series.
Yours truly, crimeficreader
So, back to the episode. Ben led Empire with Nourul, Debra (more scary than Thatcher ever was), Yasmina and honest-faced James. Moody Philip led Ignite (yes, he's quick to) with Kate, Lorraine, Howard and Mona. Both teams had the same set of items to sell and within the packs there were some gems, thus a reliable valuation was pretty important. However, mindful of the time pressure, valuations were speeded up and it wasn't long before our intrepid
Argent Provocateurs Apprentices were out on the streets of London selling their wares.
Ben split his team 3:2 and the items 7:3; and so the seeds were sewn for later conflict.
Phil split his team and the items as equally as possible and was convinced that the skeleton was of the highest value. This led to an early crossing of swords with Lorraine – again this week and even after he pleaded for peace – as Lorraine thought the rug was potentially the gem in the pack. Phil thought it too new and nylon. Did he think to do some research? Er, no. And where did he try and sell his skeleton? In a pub near Kings' College Hospital in south London, where he hoped to find doctors and nurses (pursuing a busman's holiday, no doubt). As it happens, he struck lucky and managed to come across possibly the only man in London who had wanted a skeleton all his life. Said man must have been partaking of the local brew too, because Phil sold it to him for £160. Tick. Job done.
Ben and Debra – and possibly Nourul, Nourul? – went to Charing Cross Road with the books. As a dealer was inspecting the treasures, the voiceover told us that such people are used to this and "can't be rushed." Ben's response later, as relayed to Debra? "I'm fed up of these book people talking shit to me for too long." At a second bookshop, they sold the (first edition) Octopussy book to a dealer for £100, who claimed he could sell it for £120/£150 and closed the deal all too quickly.
A little browse on AbeBooks earlier identified a price of about $2,175!
A lesson repeated and often ignored: do your research boys and girls!
When not telling us to camera or directly to Lorraine's face that she was talking "bollocks", Phil, convinced the rug was "tat" took it to a street market. Said Margaret, "…one of the most stupid activities they have yet engaged in", before rolling her eyes right. But there was more of the stupidity yet to come. Unsuccessful in the market, they went door to door. Said Margaret, shrugging and not eye-rolling, "I'm speechless. That rug was the most expensive item that they had. They've completely ignored its true value apart from Lorraine, all day; and they'll be lucky if they get £10 for it the way they're going on." Eventually they sold the rug to someone passing on the pavement for £60.
When it came to the Boardroom, both teams made a net loss: Ignite £34 and Empire £169. Lorraine went for the positive this week and had Margaret's support who called her the Cassandra of the team, the person who got it right but was ignored. Sir A noted that Lorraine got it right last week too. But this was the team making a smaller loss so the hatchet could be buried over a truffle tasting treat.
On who was to be fired, there were unhappy faces led by Boardroom Battler Extraordinaire, Ben. But oh, it was Debra who went in for the kill as she had the audacity – yes, the audacity – to criticise Nick's version of events. Said Sir A, "You find another way to express yourself" and "Stop talking to 'im like he's a second class citizen." When it came to who to bring back into the Boardroom, Ben showed some shuddering indecision, first announcing Nourul and James, before changing James to Debra, who was "up for it".
After a replay of the Ides of March with Nourul making a last ditch surprise dirty attack on Ben by claiming he was talking about magazine deals during their time in the penthouse, it was indeed the secret cipher with less spine than the skeleton, Nourul who was fired in the end. After firing him, Sir A said "Whoever employs him better get a receipt."
This week cards were marked for Debra (mouthy and rude) and Ben (too keen to do Sir A's job in The Apprentice and indecisive). Positives included Lorraine getting some recognition from Margaret and Sir A – so expect Phil to show more respect next week.
Face of the episode: James's on hearing Ben was considering him for the Boardroom. (Close second being Lorraine's pursed lip look of disapproval.)
Quote of the episode: Nourul on selling a skeleton, "Basically, I've got a polymer skeleton that I want to sell. It's pristine condition, it's sort of an off-white colour…" Well, it's not going to be neon green, is it?
Next week we are promised that the teams will be breaking new products into old markets, up north. Hmm.