No Image Available

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

The art of irritation


You know when you’ve made it on the Apprentice when you get a hate page on Facebook. The ‘Zoe Plummer is horrendous’ group with its 2500 plus members are certainly getting rubbed up the wrong way by the lipsticked Londoner’s bolshie behaviour - in fact she gained over 500 new haters alone following last night’s episode.

That said, I was greatly relieved after the relative monotony of last week’s cupcake task, that there were plenty of golden moments to be had and I always enjoy the art task in the regular grown-up version particularly as most of the candidates are so hell bent on business and the hard-sell, they often cock-up monumentally.
Also of note this week is that fact that my loyalties are now split. Always one to champion the underdog, I feel myself willing Instinct to do well as they seem to be comprised of the real odd-balls: the 17-going–on-45-year-old fringed one, wind-hater-hair-straighter farm boy and the tall inventy one (we waved ta-ta to the rubbery one last week if you recall.) But the fact is, they aren’t half as good as Revolution. I’m loathed to say it, but maybe the young irritator Zoe does have something to do with that? Hmmm?
Anyway on to last night’s proceedings. It’s the usual early morning wake-up call and yet again we’re treated to Tim, chatting away nonchalantly while teasing his wig into some semblance of a style. Off they trot to David Beckham’s talent academy – bless them; they actually think they’re off to meet Golden Balls himself. No such luck. Instead Lord Shug tells them that they are to find talent of a different kind: rare arty talent. Zoe almost wees herself with smug excitement while the others look mildly nauseous. The task is to represent several artists by holding an exhibition of their work and the team that makes the most wonga wins.
True to his word, the Lord names Tim as PM for Instinct and Emma is crowned PM for Revolution. Zoe is gutted: “I would really have liked to be PM for this task as my mum and dad are both art teachers, and my brother is a professional artist too.” Apparently going to galleries since she was a foetus, Zoe is quick to let PM Emma know that she is the expert. They have a pointless, comedic squabble about how many paintings Leonardo da Vinci did (?) until Emma sees it’s wise to let Zoe do her own thing and she suggests she goes it alone to speak to artists, with clear instructions to get a discount.
Over on Instinct, Hannah, Tim and Kirsty all agree that they are crap at anything arty. “Art was my least favourite subject,” bleats Tim (note to self, Tim hates wind and art) but as the group has to split up, Hannah quickly volunteers Kirsty to go it alone.
The teams set off to schmooze the artists. Zoe is in her element and whitters on about how “the sp-haakles sthaand out from the dhaaarkness of the skhaals (?) Then, I kid you not, actually says: “Let me tell you a little bit abhart mysaalf.” Her parents have been promoted from mere teachers to actual bonefide professional artists. Karren Brady seems to think Zoe’s approach is enlightened but it simply wants to make me self-harm. Meanwhile Emma and the Silent Assassin as he is now being dubbed, are getting good discounts from the other artists. Zoe feeds back to them saying that the cheap graffiti pieces are a good bet while Emma agrees that the over-priced abstracts should be given a wide birth. Still, Zoe’s so far up the artist’s arses that she fails to get discounts.
Instinct’s Kirsty goose-steps into her artists’ studios, barks at them about price and stomps out. “Are you schmoozing them?” asks Tim. “Yeah, a bit, the last one most of all,” That would be the one to whom she said “Och, that’s nice. Bye.”
Now I am no fan of The Fringe, but I felt a wee bit sorry for her. She was so incredibly out of her comfort zone, left marooned on a big painty island, surrounded by canvases and gouache with nowt to protect her but a sense of grim determination and a bad haircut. Tim and Hannah fare better and feign some arty talk with the artist. They plump for the most expensive - whose paintings sell for £4000 a pop but sadly she only sells four a year. So they go with her…r-i-g-h-t. Tim keeps Hannah as his secretary, and I wonder if there is not some frisson of attraction between the pair. “She’s make a great PA to a big boss, like me!” You have to feel for him, his only female companions ‘oop north’ are sheep.
Time to meet and choose their artists – and surprise, surprise, they both want the cheap graf prints – Instinct have also decided to go with the pricy, abstract painter while Revolution fancy the weird light installations. It comes to the crunch and even though Zoe’s pretentious pitch was enough to make me puke, The Fringe’s was so bad, that Zoe (well Revolution) wins out. Instead, Instinct goes with the pricy photographer as their second choice.
Now it’s onto the phone lines to get as much interest in the exhibition as possible. There is lots of faffing about and when Emma asks Zoe to get on with it, she snaps that she needs to make notes first. Tim’s team seem a little more switched-on and even stop off at a funky bar to ask the owner if he will attend the expo.
Exhibition day and Revolution’s gallery is in Pall Mall while Instinct heads for Brick Lane. The teams head over to set up. Time is slipping away and Hannah goes off to flyer the local area (which would have been perfect for selling the graffiti prints) but her face looks like a slapped arse and I can’t imagine her garnering much interest. Eventually when the exhibition is due to open, they are still pricing up the prints. Revolution seems marginally more organised and opens on time.
Selling begins and as usual Zoe barges in on almost every sale that Emma or Arjun are working on. She is being so blatantly rude. Emma fumes silently but is being a bit of a pushover to be honest. The Silent Assassin works the room beautifully, pushing up his spectacles and gently coaxing sales from the unsuspecting punters. He is fast becoming my favourite.
Tim schmoozes to the best of his ability – and even tells the artist that his paintings will be selling alongside that famous painter, Anthony Hopkins. Points for trying Timbo. They all negotiate discounts well and at the eleventh hour, Tim steals a £1000 sale from the bar owner who turns up last minute.
Back to the boardroom and it’s looking pretty empty but at least they all have a chair for once. The Lord enters and you can see that he’s in a perky mood. His money radar is on red alert and he can already sense the thousands of pounds the teams have made.
Good PMs? They all nod but the Silent Assassin and Emma put the boot into Zoe saying that she took over, interrupted their sales and was generally being her usual pushy, pretentious self. Zoe hones her death stare and Emma looks as though she's gazed into the eyes of Medusa herself.  
Tim, by all accounts was a good PM, says Instinct but it’s the figures that count and Revolution wipes the floor with them scooping £6k compared to Instinct’s paltry £2k. They are sent off to get a posh suit made by some big wig that kits out Mick Jagger.
So what went wrong, asks the Shug? The Fringe moans on about being left alone while Hannah’s lack of confidence is flagged up. Tim was culpable as PM but, the Lord decides that Han might be good on paper but hasn’t got the skills to see it through. Adieu, no doubt we will see you and your secret invention on Dragons’ Den before too long.
The candidates are down to five. Next week looks to be a foreign trip (my guess is Holland) where they have to sell something to someone (couldn’t quite figure it out). Yipeeeeeee!

This blog post originally appeared on's sister site: where Verity Gough is the official Business Reality TV blogger.

No Image Available

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!