The Apprentice – Episode 5, “A Million Spacehoppers For a Fiver”

Apprentice Response Recruitment SpacehopperLast night’s episode left a little bit of a disappointing aftertaste, akin to the injustice of Andy Dufresne from the wonderful Shawshank Redemption; the wrong person was fired or sent to prison, I’m sure that metaphor worked in my head.

Anyway, let’s have a quick recap of the night’s fun and frolics.

Given two days to come up with a new fitness craze that would sweep the nation, the two teams lead by Ricky the Shark and Stephen the Plankton, didn’t fail to disappoint.

Let’s Dance

Ricky the wrestling demigod decides to fuse the wonders of street fighting and martial arts, this should turn out well for team Sterling.  They double the rubbish factor by giving the concept an awful title, Beat Battle, and an awful image.

Over in Phoenix, uninspiring Stephen overrules Katie’s quite wonderful speed dating concept and cave man Adam’s skip till you die idea.  Instead he plumps to go back to the future and a quite ludicrous concept involving the Eighties and Spacehoppers.

They package the whole thing up under the misleading title of ‘Groove Train’.  This dance is not from the Seventies or on tracks, oh wait, train as in training, that was so brilliant it almost passed me by.  Tom is the only one to spot the biggest flaw in their business model, although there were many to choose from, by asking which gym chain will buy the thousands of Spacehoppers and other bits?  This sounds doomed.

D.I.S.C.O

The Groove Train are filming their promo video in a supposedly Eighties disco, that looks more Travolta that Toyah.

They’ve also somehow cohersed the unfortunate Azhar into a pair of shorts last seen worn by Bryan Robson in Spain ’82.  He ambles around on the dance floor exuding all the confidence of an undateable on their first date.  Meanwhile we witness spare part Adam turning on his charm asking if Jade is thick, deaf or what?  I’ve seen more respect for the ladies from John McCririck.

In the other camp’s shoot, Duane has gone from Mr Nice Guy to king of the grumps.  The self-appointed sub-team leader is now directing the video shoot by shouting a lot and not listening to anybody else.

Duane is watering down the video, stripping out a lot of the combat moves, much to the annoyance of Laura and the two them clash in the taxi back to the house, as Nick (Holzherr not Hewer) laughs at the idiocy of it all, he’s not alone in that observation.

Price them like its 1981

Lets take these wonderful creations to market then and see which of the Gym chains are daft enough to buy any of this ill-thought out tripe.

Over in team Beat Battle, Ricky hasn’t convinced the smiling people of Virgin Active that their concept is any different to anything else on the market, not a great start.  So when the team get in front of Pure Gym they decide it would be a fab idea if Duane stood up and messed up his power punch, another fail.  Finally they get in front of Fitness First where Ricky is ready for the, “it looks the same as any other” question with a well thought out sharp answer.

Onto the Groove Train and their three pitches are predictably as awful and ill thought out as you would have expected.  Pure Gym question whether buying a million Spacehoppers is a good idea.  Stephen retorts that they need not too worry; they only cost a couple of quid each, maybe back in 1981 Stephen.

Fitness First question exactly where the Spacehoppers are to be stored and Stephen rambles something about swiss balls without ears.  Finally Virgin Active almost wet themselves with laughter and send them packing.

The Board Room Workout

It has to be Adam or Stephen surely this week.  They make Jedward look dynamic.

The Lord watches the videos with a particularly awkward looking Azhar having an out of body experience as he watches some monosyllabic goon in hotpants imitating him, and then it dawns that it is him, poor lamb.

Stephen’s costings and lack of any semblance of a business plan is rightly questioned before the figures are announced.  Drum roll please.

Beat Battle get a respectable £8k on the board.  Karen Brady, seemingly auditioning to be an X-Factor judge, informs team Groovy of their product that – Fitness First hated it, Pure Gym didn’t like it and Virgin didn’t like it….not for the target market the team pitched for but felt it would be great for a family demographic.  Right up there with, “Your not a good singer, you are an incredible singer” schtick.

Virgin bung in £13k and somehow team idiot snatch victory from a despairing Ricky and his happy campers.

Should have guessed from the editing that was the likely outcome.

Ah well, genius Stephen and his team head to the spa whilst the cheated team head to the café.

Lets get tactical, tactical, lets get into tactical…

Wrestling Rick takes back Duane and Laura back for the Boardroom squabble.  Odd choices considering the other three, Nick, Jenna & Gabrielle didn’t do a fat lot this week to contribute.

After a bit of a fall out, its Duane who exits stage left after his video blunder.  Laura worked hard and Ricky pitched well so it was never going to be either of those two.  The Lord does warn Ricky to be careful who he chooses to come back in the boardroom with him next time, maybe sly old Rick was being tactical with his picks?

So it wasn’t either the half-witted Stephen, or the quarter-witted Adam that got the boot after all.  They won, despite some spurious costs and a total lack of a business plan.

Hope you are enjoying the show.  See you again next week for Chapter Six, where the two teams will be north of the border for the annual task on foreign land, but the Beebs budget seemingly only stretches to our tartan brothers this time around.

Nathan Lloyd

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