No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Designer doom: It’s the semi final!

default-16x9

Hurrah – we finally got to see some tears last night! The trailers had promised us tears and I was yet to see one piddly drop. Although it was literally only one drop, not the embarrasing, gulpy bawling I’d been hoping for.

Yesterday’s episode was the precursor to tonight’s final which I will be live blogging from 9pm. And I can hardly wait.
So the task, my hunch was right, and the young un’ s are woken at dawn and told to pack an overnight bag as they are flying to Amsterdam. Yet more hair action from Tim before they head over to a dodgy warehouse probably used to store all of those unsold Amstrad Em@ilers. The Shug is on a big screen and Nick is sporting a fierce grimace, well it could be a smile, who knows?
I have to say, I’m really lamenting the loss of dear, old Margaret. The tender psychic bond she and Nick shared is simply lacking with Brady. It used to be all about the eyes. It was if they were competing in the eye-rolling Olympics. One ball-tilting glare or curl of the lip from Margaret spoke a thousand words. Brady just squints, badly, like she’s got a bit of fluff in her eye.
They are informed that this week they have to meet with several Dutch designers and choose two products to flog in the UK. The Lord has set them up with Liberty and House of Fraser but, he warns, they must also get their own appointments.
Instinct is looking a bit thin on the ground with Tim and the Fringe (PM) versus three-strong Revolution: the moody lipsticked one, the sweet and egg seller, and little man, Arjun who takes on the arduous task of managing the soul-eater herself as he is made PM.
Fringy tells Tim she is really pleased to be working with him and later she strokes his shoulder. I think she fancies him. After all he can grow a decent beard, and is metrosexual enough to embrace hair straighteners. I wonder if they share a mutual hatred for wind.
The pitching begins and already there is a clear division in how the teams are going to approach the designers: Tim and The Fringe ask the right questions and are friendly and welcoming. On the other side, Zoe and Emma seem to get a bit power crazy and fire rude comments at the poor designers, in particular the lady who is selling a set of cutlery for one. “You really should know what the function of your product is,” snaps Emma. Um, to eat food with? Arjun, who you just know has been brought up to take his shoes off at the door and avoid elbows at the dinner table, looks mortified.
Some of the products are a little on the bizarre side:
  • A hat made of hair (I thought Tim might quite like that one)
  • A bike complete with dog basket on a little trolley (“It’s just a dog basket with legs!”)
  • A Bativus bike that can be customised and one that can be used much like a cross-trainer
  • The aforementioned cutlery for one and some glowy lamps
  • Some hankies that you knot into a bunny or an elephant which could actually be made for free out of an old duster.
After the pitches the teams have to negotiate which products they want to go for. Tim and the Fringe want the cutlery/lamps (from a brand that already sells in the UK, I’ll have you know) and also the Bativus bike but Revolution want the knotted hankies and Bativus bike too. Arjun is not going to be swayed so Instinct have a little tête à tête and decide they will give Revolution the lamps, cutlery and hankies and they will have both bikes. Nick winces at this claiming it to be “utter madness!” The Fringe is well chuffed with her decision: “I wanted to take that gamble” she mutters, at least I think that’s what she says. Revolution are pleased that they have the products they wanted, poor Arjun, he is totally unaware of the knife-sharpening going on behind him.
It’s time to face the buyers and things get off to a bad start. Arjun asks Zoe if she is happy to pitch, she makes a song and dance out of the fact that he should tell her to do it, not ask her. Poor little lamb is damned if he does, damned if he don’t. And my, that girl can pull some faces; she’s giving rubber Rhys a run for his money. Never has there been such a mardy contestant in the Apprentice.
At the pitch for House Of Fraser (HOF), Zoe does well, though because they’d spent so long power tripping it up with the designers, they failed to get any useful sales and marketing info for the buyers. One of the clients says that the knotty child comforters look like dishcloths. No one disagrees.
Tim pitches for Instinct at Liberty and they seem pretty interested in the bikes – I am secretly excited in my tum as I really, really want them to do well, if only so Zoe gets a pasting from the Lord in the boardroom. Despite the Fringe’s fringe, both she and Tim impress.
Shame things don’t go so well at the HOF pitch. For a start, they don’t do bikes. And one of the blokes on the panel has three dogs and he reckons it would be doggy carnage if he even dared to put them in it. “Where does that product fit into our business?” Tim is asked. “It doesn’t,” is the reluctant reply. Never mind, they have their excellent and professional telephone pitches to do later – surely that will bring in some business (fnar, fnar).
More of the same from Revolution, though this time Arjun does the pitch. Bad idea. Looking a little too like Penfold, he tells the buyers for Liberty that the cutlery sets are for people who like to dine alone. In other words, saddos. It doesn’t go down well. Zoe is itching to jump in, and does so, making Arjun look right a right loser.’ Sells eggs and sweets’ doesn’t really do much, but is already moaning to camera about Arj’s lack of decision-making skills.
When it comes to cold-calling around, both teams set up one or two appointments which is amazing considering The Fringe is incomprehensible on the phone and when one respondent asks Tim where he’s calling from, he replies: “Highbury.” Priceless!
Arjun splits from the evil femmes and you can just see the relief on his little face. He is so relaxed he manages to shift a few dusters while Emma and Zoe get some decent orders for the cutlery sets and lampettes.
Kirsty manages to sell one dog bed / bike thing while Tim shifts six of his cross-trainy bikes. But it’s anyone’s guess how the figures will tot up.
Boardroom time. The Lord does his usual good PM/bad PM spiel. Faster than a speeding bullet, the knives are out for Arjun. Both girls whine about his decision-making. The Lord can see through this though, the wise old coot. Nick gets a bit shirty with the Fringe saying she cocked up on the negotiations, but she puts her hands up and says she thought it was worth the risk. She’s becoming a scrappy little thing, like one of those little dogs with hair in its eyes who keeps a firm bite on the postman’s ankle, despite numerous boots to the face. I am warming to her, marginally.
They tot up the numbers and while I’m normally not too surprised by the results, things take an interesting turn. Instinct pull ahead £2,700 to £1,100 based on personal sales, but House of Fraser liked Revolution's lamps and saddo cutlery and they clock up an impressive £9,000 to Instinct’s bu*ger-all. Then it’s Liberty’s sales: Revolution nil, Instinct a whopping  £37,000 – an Apprentice record.
My silent prayers were answered, and I actually pause the telly and make a cup of celebratory tea just so I’m not distracted while Zoe gets lashed by the Shug. Tim and the Fringe are told they are in the final. Cue multiple hissy yessssssssssses and aggravated air-punching. I think the Fringe wants a hug. Fair dos, they both did well. Bravo! I am genuinely chuffed for them both.
Emma looks as though someone gobbled all her sweets and smashed all her eggs. Zoe does a prize gurn and Arjun looks as though the sky has fallen in. The Lord kind of ignores the reasons for the task failing apart from mauling Emma and Zoe or not saying anything when they had the chance to. It’s down to the crunch. The Shug lays into Zoe saying she’s selfish (yup) hates authority (double yup) and rubs people up the wrong way (yup, yup, yup!) she’s clearly been reading ‘the teen guide to what your boss wants to hear,’ and spouts about how her strong points are also her weaknesses. Emma gets all passionate about how passionate her passion for business is. And Arjun gives a very eloquent speech about how great he is. It confirms my mounting suspicion that he is in fact a 50-year-old boffin with an ageing disorder.
The Lord’s finger wavers. He tells Arjun he is in the final. Big smiles. Ta-ra. The two femme fatales are left. Blond v brunette. Eggs and sweets v second-hand lipstick lover. He goes over what they have achieved, and as much as I think Zoe has a stinkier attitude than Mrs Stinkbomb’s stinkier sister, she can sell goddammit. Emma on the other hand has been a bit whiny and back-stabby, a bit reluctant to get in and sell. She’s good on paper, says the Shug, but with heavy heart (nope, that’s a big old stone you got in there) she has to be fired.
Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Zoe’s in the final! She may temporarily blind us with her white beret and tights combo, but she simply can’t win!! My money is now on Timbo. He’s proved he has a bit more to him. We shall see. Tonight, in fact. Mwahahahahaha!
Stay tuned for the live blog in approximately six hours (and counting) time.

This blog is written originally for TZ sister site BusinessZone.co.uk.

No Image Available
Newsletter

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!