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Say ‘cheese!’


Last night saw the first episode of Junior Apprentice. As per the grown-up version, we had the same intro, lots of sound bites from the wannabe apprentices saying how fab they are and how much they want to make it to the top, no matter what.
In the initial boardroom meeting, Lord Shug introduces everyone to Nick and Karren and tells the candidates that they might think he’s some grumpy old man, but he’s not that old (ha ha ha ha ha) and informs them that he’s not going to be a pushover. He’s clearly been told to reign in the nastiness but you get the impression that he’s cracking his knuckles under the table in frustration.
So, seconds in and the teens are let loose on a rather swanky pad in Islington with the Lord’s warning ringing in their ears: “I don’t want any Facebook parties!” First things first, they are all desperate to know how old each other is. Poor Arjun: “I am not a business boy, I am a business man!” no one can believe he’s 17 while the unfortunately rubber-faced Rhys would be lucky to pass for 12. A few characters stand out straight away such as Zoe: a Londoner who has a vintage clothes stall and a no-nonsense attitude to go with her crazy hairdo and fierce red lips “Who wants to buy from ugly people?” while the extremely camp Irish lad, Jordan, is quick to announce that he is the CEO of his own company and has been in business since he was born, or something.  It suddenly all becomes eerily like a Young Conservatives day time disco minus the Schloer.
Discussions start in earnest about what the boys and girls teams will be called (I always love this bit as undoubtedly someone’s nose is put out of joint) and the boys quickly settle on Instinct while the girls flaff a bit and all of Zoe’s suggestions are pooh-poohed. They eventually decide on Revolution. They also have to elect a project manager. Jordan who clearly feels he was born to lead, is chomping at the bit and the boys are happy to let him take up the mantle while in Revolution’s camp, the tumbleweed can be seen rolling though. No one wants to put themselves forward, as soon as Hibah – who’s dream is to open a chain of plastic surgery clinics across the UK, tentatively puts herself up she is practically shoved into the position of PM.
On to the task: as usual, the candidates are dragged out of bed at some ungodly hour and driven to a totally random location that has nothing to do with the task. This week it's Lord Shug's school (yes folks, he did actually participate in mainstream education and didn't learn all he knows from the jellied eel traders down Brick Lane market). Today’s task is all about selling cheese (school, cheese?) - £500 worth of the stinky stuff. The girls get Nick and his lemon-sucking face, while the boys end up with eagle–eyed Brady. From the off, the lasses start prepping, pricing and labelling their cheeses. The all-knowing Zoe is quick to point out her expertise in markets and suggests Covent Garden as the best spot to sell.
The boys, under Jordan’s leadership dither about where to sell before deciding to head for Whitehall food market while Tim (who owns his own sheep and has actually managed to grow some decent facial hair) suggests the ‘credit crunch’ lunch box consisting of cheese, grapes and crackers. Brady is well impressed. Jordan looks miffed that it wasn’t his idea. They set off in earnest, but have neglected to price and identify any of the cheeses. 
As selling gets underway over at Revolution’s camp, the girls prove they have what it takes. Zoe is clocking-up tips and quickly takes over, making Hibah cry before giving her an awkward hug that's as disingenuous as Gordon Brown’s smile.
Now at this point it is clear to see that they boys may be called Instinct but have left theirs back in Sugar's school. Punters are passing them by, while they fumble with Biros and boxes of strange-looking cheeses. Jordan decides to put up the cheap, mild cheddar as the 'tasting cheese' despite Rhys’ protests but he is quickly shouted down. However Tim’s lunches are proving a hit. Jordan clearly likes to delegate rather than participate – after all he wouldn’t like to get cheese on his shiny, shiny suit. Arjun seems to drift about and I’m not really sure that Rhys’ tentative approaches are drawing in the customers.
Before long, the two-hour window of selling has elapsed and they still have over two-thirds of their most expensive and reeking cheese to sell. Finally Jordan gives the ok to head out and sell off the merchandise to restaurants and Tim and Rhys shift £450 worth of cheese for £250 – while Arjun sells a box of cheese for £1. The Lord will not be pleased.
Back to the boardroom and while the figures are totted up, they all get a quick bit of back-stabbing in. Hibah whinges that Zoe took over but none of that matters as Revolution makes a tidy £140 profit while Instinct makes a loss of £200 plus. The smiles fade faster than a pair of Primark trousers after a hot wash. The lasses are off to Michelin-starred chef, Tom Aitkins’ eatery “He’s my favourite!” squeals Zoe. And they are all buds again.
Lord Sugar asks Instinct what went wrong. Jordan says it was Rhys and his crappy location and Tim for not making more lunches – to which Tim retorts – and I kid you not: “It was windy – and wind is my least favourite weather type.” Tim and Rhys blame Jordan. Arjun and market trader Adam seem to go completely under the radar while Lord Sugar looks mildly bored. 
Rhys and Tim are brought back in by Jordan who really doesn’t have much of a defence as he was basically a poor PM with absolutely no leadership skills. So the finger falls and it’s Jordan who gets the boot. He and his suit leave in a blaze of static electricity but not before he warns the public that in a few years, he'll be richer that the Lord himself. Tim and Rhys look shell-shocked but skip off merrily to join the others who are hotly debating who’s left the competition. Cue more awkward hugs.
Next week the teams are mixed-up and are tasked with selling camping equipment – there are yet more tears and a couple of tantrums as we see who’s up for the chop. Can’t wait!

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