Apprentice Watch, Week 4 - Candidates fluff their cup final appearance

Jennifer Lipman recaps the fourth episode of the longest, funniest, job interview in television history


Planning a simcha is no easy feat, as anyone who has made a wedding or barmitzvah knows.

You’ve got to find the perfect venue, choose a band that will get everyone on their feet, and make sure your guests are well fed.

What you don’t want is to run out of fizz too early, fail to provide anything for the pregnant guest, under-order on the canapés, or have speeches that sound like a Wikipedia page being read out.

These were just some of the blunders made by the Apprentice candidates in episode four, as the teams competed to run corporate hospitality boxes at Wembley during the Women’s FA Cup final. Naturally, there were plenty of own goals before Lord Sugar showed someone the red card in the boardroom.

Three-time losers Team Vitality, now with both Michaela and Sarah in tow, seemed not to grasp that plastic bowls of wotsits was a bit too “youth service kiddush” for clients paying top dollar.

Overall, project manager Andrew’s approach left much to be desired, as did his sexist dismissal of women’s football, although astonishingly the decision for Harrison — qualification for headlining at Wembley being that he’d once sung in the shower — to entertain guests by belting out a few Frank Sinatra tunes appeared to pay off.

At risk of running dry, Andrew’s solution was to offer guests glasses of wine that were only half-full, the way you do when you’ve got ten people for Shabbat lunch and haven’t made quite enough soup.

Meanwhile, outside the stadium where they were managing a concession stand, sole surviving Jewish hopeful Charles made clear he doesn’t have a future working in the local cinema, by being so incompetent that he managed to burn the popcorn.

Over at Team Graphene, wedding planner Siobhan took charge, yet seemed to have learnt little from her day job. Putting Bushra — a teetotal Muslim — in charge of the alcohol order she proceeded to fluff the numbers and leave the sub-team clueless as they headed in to negotiate costs with the client.

Not that the sub-team — overseen by patronising Elizabeth, who once again proved herself unable to play nicely with others — needed any help making a mess of things.

And the girls’ sticky situation continued when they were dispatched to sell candyfloss; while Jade made clear that she was one to watch with her supreme selling power, Joanna and Sarah Jayne simply whined in the background like teenagers dragged to a museum by their parents.

Overall, Graphene’s party looked more like one that Tony Page would have approved of, but in the end it wasn’t enough, with the boys scraping their first victory. A shame, as I would have enjoyed seeing Andrew sent off.

In the boardroom, with Siobhan, Joanna and Elizabeth at each other’s throats — “when I said a box at Wembley I didn’t mean there would be actual fistfights,” quipped Lord Sugar — it was a competition for which one we wanted to see the back of most.

But eventually, and not unfairly, Siobhan was the one relegated, explaining on the drive away that she’d rather make her clients happy than make money.

All well and good, but it rather begs the question what she was doing on a show dedicated to the unrestrained pursuit of profit in the first place.

Chutzpah of the week — Harrison for his false modesty when asked to perform; it was abundantly clear he’d been waiting all his life for the spotlight.

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