So no more business school for no-hoper Noorul. The teacher-turned-pupil was expelled by Sir Alan in possibly the worst episode of the Apprentice yet. Before we examine Noorul’s sorry report, let’s get one thing clear about Sugar’s school: Harvard, it ain’t.
The only MBAs on the curriculum here are mindless, braindead activities.
This week’s ‘challenge’ was more reminiscent of an Only Fools and Horses episode (if that’s not an insult to Del Boy – or, come to think of it, horses), as the teams were charged with valuing a collection of bric-a-brac and then selling at a profit.
The bric-a-brac included a bicycle, a signed Frank Lampard picture, a skeleton and a rug – more Cash In The Attic than Antiques Roadshow, fittingly. If wasn’t enough of a nursery school task already, Sir Alan laboured the point this was about ‘valuation’ and nod, nod, wink, wink, there were some ‘hidden gems’.
What ensued really doesn’t warrant analysis on a business website, but here we go: Ben led Empire, foamed from the mouth about big guns and Sandhurst again; didn’t bother with the valuation process before flogging anything he could for whatever he could. Noorul did his best not to get involved, but reluctantly found a buyer for the skeleton worth £150 who ended up paying £60 and was offered £5 to go away by one reluctant commode buyer. Overall they lost £162.
Ignite, led by ‘big head’s gonna rein it in’ Philip, worried even less about valuation and somehow managed to make a loss of just £34 by flogging the gear door-to-door and to men in pubs who’d ‘always wanted a skeleton’.
The only other point of note was Lorraine’s dubbing as ‘Cassandra, the girl who’s right but never gets listened to’ by Margaret, because for the second week running she raised valid objections only to be ignored by the group - notably Philip. In this instance she realised the ‘hidden gem’ was the £200 rug, but you can’t help thinking if she felt that strongly she could have just got on with finding out the value regardless what Philip said – after all, it’s what he would have done and tellingly, what Sir Alan would do.
... And so to the boardroom, the weekly bitchfest and Sir Alan’s carefully scripted, yet entertaining putdowns that are increasingly where you sense the Apprentice’s producers are focused. This series is certainly more Big Brother than big business and eviction focused. At least there’s no Davina.
You sense even Sir Alan might be frustrated with the class of reprobates put in front of him this year: “Anybody with half a brain cell would think let’s sit down and work out what the gems are first, and then put all our efforts into selling them. Why didn’t that happen? Did you understand it? You’re all looking dumb-founded. The bleedin’ skeleton could have done a better job.”
Sir Alan sent winning captain Philip off with another stark ‘must do better’ warning that he’s far from head boy – “your mind seems concrete; thoroughly mixed but completely set in its way” – and put Deborah in detention for talking to Nick like a “second class citizen”, telling her “you might think you’re special luv, but you’re really not”.
The one-liners rolled as he ticked off Ben and spied easy targets to blame, only to end up insulting poor James – “I hope you’re not thinking there’s a village missing an idiot.” [there is –ed] – and Sir Alan even mocked himself over rug-gate: “It’s a bit like me, not much to look at but worth a lot.”
And so to Noorul, who was bound to go sooner or later. Even the silver-tongued Sir Alan seemed at a loss for words, so he kept it simple and succinctly captured what we’d all been thinking for six weeks.
“NooruI, I don’t know what you’ve been doing here, you’re fired!”