The Apprentice comes to BBC Knowledge
Did Cathay try to stop Oasis getting a licence?

The Apprentice UK - Flowers

"As far as I am concerned, what I have in front of me here, are 14 of Britain's best prospects.  Quite a few thousand people applied for this job.  A job with me" says Sir Alan.  Sebastian smiles ruefully, and wonders whether he (or any of them) really want to work for the man they are sitting opposite.  "A job that is going to bring you a six-figure salary.  But to get that job you're going to have to demonstrate to me your skills in leadership, business acumen, shrewdness.  The lot."

Sir Alan lays it on the line: "Never ever underestimate me.  I know everything.  I don't like liars, I don't like cheats.  I don't like bullshitters, I don't like schmoozers, I don't like arse lickers."  Oh, hang on, this is being censored by some nice people in Singapore, so it becomes "I don't like -------------, I don't like schmoozers, I don't like ---- lickers."  In fact, the man with bleeper is kept quite busy.  I'm not sure why they bother with a warning about swearing, since all of it has been bleeped out.

As usual, it's boys against girls.  The girls argue for rather longer than really seems strictly necessary to arrive at a team name that we will never remember.  There is talk of oceans and water and waves crashing.  Team leader Saira feels that they need a name that captures the fact that they are a group of strong individuals.  Who all have different ideas about which name to choose.  The boys quickly agree on 'Impact', which seems suitably meaningless.  But rather better than 'First Forte', which is what the girls eventually agree upon.  What's that supposed to mean?

So who are these outstanding people who are desperate to work for the man who brought us the e-mailer (a  phone that also sends and receives emails)?  Look, there's one on the boardroom table.  Oh, look, there's one in the lovely riverside house where the teams will live.  No product placement here, then.

There's always at least one oddball, and this time around it seems to be Matthew, who admits to being the co-founder of the Tall Society.  He's tall, don't you know, and we see him crashing into door frames just to demonstrate the point.  We also see him on his own nursing a drink whilst everyone else is chatting away.  He claims to have lots of entrepreneurial ideas.  He stresses the importance of thinking outside the box, and draws a box in the air with his fingers in case we don't know what a box looks like.  Later he admits that he can be abrasive and "doesn't treat fools gladly", and that he probably does argue too much.  Well, yes, Matthew I think you do.  He has also has a nice line in hats, which is always a worrying sign.

Miranda considers herself to be "a strong leader, a strong character".  She thinks that she works well in a team, but excels further as a team leader.  Which is another way of saying that she wants to be in charge, and of course we then see her trying to wrest control from Saira.  Then there's Adenike, who wants to sell flowers to funeral directors, and in hospitals, and also to buy lots of ribbons.  She also sees her role as "a leader, a natural leader.  That's all I know.  I don't know how to be a follower".  She then sulks.  Something tells me that First Forte have a few more important problems than just a silly name.

Both teams have been given pitches on Portobello market, but this seems to be a trap.  Tim (team leader for Impact) immediately decides it's quite the wrong place to be selling flowers, and that it's better to sell door-to-door.  Luckily, Paul seems to be one of those people who can sell ice to Eskimos - or in this case lilies to anyone who he happens to come across.  Matthew, on the other hand, can't sell anything.

The girls take longer to realize that this is not the right place.  However, after selling three bunches of lillies in two hours and earning just £7.50, they finally decide to move on.  This provokes another pointless argument, with Adele complaining that Saira is not being consistent.  Er, that's because she has decided to change a strategy that wasn't working.

They still aren't listening to Saira, though.  She tells them not to start cutting prices and until she says so, and they agree, but Miranda decides to dump some stock at less than cost price.  She definitely wants to be in charge.

Saira is the only one who can sell, but her style seems to be to batter people into submission.  She encounters a Japanese lady and tells her that she has been to Tokyo.  "Konichiwa.  Do you remember that?" she says, apparently believing that Japanese people forget their native language when they come to London.  Then she encounters a lady from Bosnia, so she talks slowly - "Flowers.  £2.50.  Look.  How.  Beautiful.  They.  Are.  I am a Muslim and you are a Muslim and you will buy from me because we are sisters."

Off to the boardroom, and we discover that the girls made a small profit, selling all their flowers for £602, but the boys managed to earn £865.  Alan Sugar was "very impressed".

What struck me was the boardroom was so brief.   Sugar asked if they had negotiated when buying the flowers, but never got an answer and instead started on Miranda for selling flowers at below cost price with 5 hours still to go.  Then Adenike, who had looked unhappy almost throughout the day, said the team members had problems getting on with each other.  Well, she certainly had problems getting on with Saira.

This discussion only lasted a couple of minutes, and Saira then chose Adenike and Miranda to come back.  Trusty aide Nick Hewer told Sir Alan that Adenike had been a "thorn in the side" in the beginning and had not sold much.  She tried to explain that her strategy was to sell flowers to funeral directors in the middle of the night, but I don't why she thought Sugar would be impressed.  He wasn't, and he fired her - but mainly because she has been undermining her team leader at the beginning of the task.  Which she was, I suppose.  I'd still have fired Miranda, but Adenike can't really complain - and amazingly she takes it very well: "If I am fired for not supporting a losing strategy, then fine...The bottom line is I have been fired, and you just have to accept it and move on."  Sulky to the last.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)