Published on May 20th, 2009 | by Darren Byrne5
Apprentice Live Blog Week 9
With only four weeks left in this year’s UK Apprentice, competition is becoming fierce. In the boardroom two weeks ago, Kate knifed her would be beau Philip in the back and sent him home; last week, Mona’s lack of contribution saved the Desperate Debra and the Joker James from being Fired. Where will the next four weeks take the contestants?
Once again, tonight we will be live blogging week 9 of the UK Apprentice. Make sure you join us here at 8.45pm.
The show began with the news that someone had already been fired. Before the opening titles rolled, we had already dropped from 16 to 15 hopefuls. Starting as men versus women, the blokes call their team Empire and the lassies go for Ignite. Both teams are sent on a cleaning task and while no-one shone out as a definite winner, the men won the task putting eight women in front of Sir Alan Sugar. Team leader Mona brought Anita and Debra back for the final chop and though she was less argumentative than Debra and was the only person keeping an eye on the pennies, Anita was sent packing.
The second week saw teams set up a catering service. Rocky (a sandwich chain owner) was put in charge of the boys and Ignite was led by Yasmina who also had a background in restaurants. Despite the poor quality food and Yasmina’s miserly cost cutting measures (no chicken in the chicken sambos) the ladies won out and Rocky’s Empire was put in front of Alan. Rocky’s youth and inexperience assured him a taxi home.
We were starting to get to know the contestants a bit more at this stage. This week the teams were mixed up a bit – Kate and Kimberly join the lads in Empire and Philip and Noorul move to Ignite. The task: to create an original piece of portable home fitness equipment, promote it by creating a poster campaign and pitch it to retailers. Debra volunteers to be the project manager for Ignite, which Lorraine is not overly happy about, and James leads Empire. Philip wants to make a Square Swedish Ball (!!!) but Ignite ultimately make the far more sensible Bum Ball with a sex sells marketing drive. Ben ignores direction from Empire’s Team Leader James and creates a clunky complicated multi-gym, an obvious disaster. In fact Ignite completely obliterated Empire in this task, securing an order for 10,000 units from John Lewis. James brought Ben and Majid back to the boardroom. Ben has lovely eyes, so Maj was sent home (he may have been fired for not contributing, rather than due to Ben’s eyes).
The task is to produce two original and natural body care products. There’s another team reshuffle and Alan appoints Noorul project manager for Ignite, Paula for Empire. Sir Alan points out that the profit margins are massive as long as costs are kept down. This is the week of the total disaster. Ignite’s sticky icky honeycomb soap bars won out over Empire’s higher quality but massively expensive to produce (due to Paula and Yasmina confusing the difference between Cedarwood and Sandlewood and the costings of both). Paula brings Yasmina and Ben back to the boardroom and Sir Alan decided that Paula was culpable as project leader – also, Ben has lovely eyes (Alan may not have pointed that out). It’s also worth noting that Noorul was seen as being a very poor leader and had Empire not messed up their costings they would have beaten Ignite by a large margin.
The task is to create a new brand identity for Sir Alan’s breakfast cereal. They will come up with a name, character, and marketing campaign. Pantsman Philip should have been shot for dooming Ignite but instead Kimberly, the project manager, was fired by Alan. Lorraine was also in the final three of the boardroom and probably deserved to go home just as much as Kim.
The teams go antiquing and clearly none of them apart from Lorraine has any concept of the value of things. Ben leads Empire and James runs Ignite. Neither leader does a particularly good job of controlling his team. Ultimately, both teams made a net loss compared to the value of the items sold. Ignite won by a small margin and in the boardroom Debra was warned about her snappy and argumentative manner, Ben was told he was on a last warning but eventually Noorul was singled out and fired for not contributing in recent weeks. The right decision even though we were all screaming at the TV sets to send Debra home.
Mona and Lorraine lead Empire and Ignite respectively and the task brings them to Northern England where the candidates must select two new innovative products to sell to trade. Alan even sets the team up with an opportunity to pitch to two retailers. Neither team picks products that would suit Alan’s retailers and he is very annoyed over this. Empire sold over £4,000 worth of goods, while Ignite sold just over £1,000 worth (only Lorraine and Yasmina sold any items for Ignite – Ben, Kate and Philip sold nothing between them). In the boardroom Lorraine told Alan that Kate and Philip were a little bit more than just good friends. Kate said this did not effect her work and even stuck the knife in Philip’s back. Phil was finally given the chop for his bad attitude and argumentative behaviour.
Last week, the smaller numbers became very evident and there was no where for anyone to hide. Tasked to rebrand the town of Margate, team Ignite (Ben, Kate, Lorraine, Yasmina) decided to market it as a family resort, while team Empire (Debra, Howard, James, Mona) made the awful decision to market it as a gay paradise. It was embarassing, painful and hilarious to watch Empire fall through the task with disastrous results. Their terrible overcrowded posters, their lack of understanding of their target market or the town itself and the lies about the blank spaces on their leaflets guaranteed Empire would lose. Mona wasn’t even on the same planet as anyone else and was ultimately sent home.
The teams are tasked with selecting innovative baby products and sell them at the country’s biggest baby show. Will Ben’s eyes save him again? Can Lorraine stop looking like the back of a bus? Will Debra go so far as to actual kill someone to win? Find out the answer to these questions and more on BBC One tonight at 9pm and on the Culch.ie live blog at 8.45pm in association with the Elf in Amsterdam. Catch you all later…