Apprentice Watch week 8 - Charles in the dog house

Jennifer Lipman on how this week's canine-themed antics left 'Mr Hindsight' feeling hounded


Every dog has its day, and every Apprentice candidate has his time in charge. This week, it was resident mensch Charles Burns’s turn as project manager, a moment in the spotlight the Manchester-management consultant has been plutzing for since the series started eight long episodes ago.

It didn’t go well. The task began with Lord Sugar greeting the pyjama-clad hopefuls in their house at dawn, like the worst wake-up call ever. 

Apparently, he informed them with palpable disdain, there are people who fork out oodles of cash on their pets. Although he clearly regarded this as barking, Lord Sugar sent the teams out to run dog-related attractions.

Charles’s Vitality team made a dog’s dinner of the whole affair. So far, with six defeats under his belt, he has shown himself to be a backseat candidate — nicknamed “Mr Hindsight” in the boardroom — avoiding tough decisions and washing his hands of any responsibility. 

“For me, leadership is about being collaborative,” he explained during the task, as he let the eminently capable Jade and Michaela do all the work. 

To begin with, this hands-off approach seemed to be working. Was Charles going to make Lord Sugar shep nachas? The team landed both the doggie spa, complete with paw-dicures, and the wedding gig clean-up. 

But then things started to go south. For one, Charles ran out of time to actually book any appointments at the spa; for another, he made the searingly unintelligent decision to put Andrew in charge of his sub-team. It was like watching a four-year-old hand over the car keys to a three-year-old.

In the event, it wasn’t a disaster — they made some money and no animals were harmed during the making of the episode — but it wasn’t a win either, and that’s all that matters. 

Showing the sort of smarts we’ve come to expect, the Graphene team put their hopes in James, the very same candidate who presided over last week’s loss (he’s a dog guy, he said, by way of explanation).

But having been scolded in the boardroom for letting Elizabeth run the show for him, James decided to give her her own personal fiefdom, making her subteam leader in charge of Joanna.

 Now, I am far from a dog lover (don’t write in, I’m sure your pooch is adorable, but no, he won’t change my mind) so I have some sympathy with Joanna’s fear of the furry fiends, which cost Graphene their top choice of doggy spa.

 Things went from bad to worse when the team lost out on a job cleaning up the grounds of a wedding venue – “it should be quite simple to allow people to pick up the poo,” sighed Claude – and Bushra fluffed a doggy photoshoot (a shame Sajan, fired last week, wasn’t still there, with his directors’ eye).

But thanks to Elizabeth’s decision to honour the original price for the doggy soft play, which meant customers were willing to splash out on extras, along with some skilful door-to-door selling, Graphene ended up with a decent stash. 

In the boardroom, you could almost see the fur flying as Lord Sugar carpeted the hapless Vitality trio. “A man child,” was Karren’s takedown of Andrew. “You haven’t got the approval of your colleagues,” observed Claude of Anisa. “Ooh, he loves a bit of delegation,” sneered Karren about Charles. 

And then came the crunch moment. Lord Sugar sacked not one, not two, but all three of them, Charles slinking out like he didn’t know what had hit him.

It was, even by Apprentice standards, a bloodbath — or should that be doggie bath?

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive