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The Apprentice Week 7 - celebrity auction

As usual we start with a recap of last week, followed by the return of the two who didn't get fired.  Paul looks somewhat dazed, and is greeted warmly by Tim and James.  He is followed by Saira, who is embraced by Tim.  Saira gives everyone her account of what happened, whilst Paul stays quiet. 

The teams are summoned to the Hackney Empire, and Sir Alan separates Paul and Saira and asks them each to choose their new team mates.  Saira goes for James, Raj and Sebastian, whilst Paul picks Tim, Ben and Miriam.  Sugar "isn't actually suggesting it" but he thinks that Ben should take his turn as project manager.  Ben admits to camera that he has been hiding, and calls it "tactic no.1", but does agree to be PM.  James (who we just learned has not yet been on the losing side) is PM for the other team.  Thankfully, the team names seem to have been dropped.

The task is to persuade celebrities to donate items that will be auctioned for charity.  The teams each have to pick 5 celebrities from a list of 10. Ben chooses Michael Winner, followed by two members of the cast of Chicago, footballer Ian Wright, chef Anthony Worral-Thompson, and someone I haven't heard of.  James chooses Mel Smith, Eammon Holmes, Paul McKenna, a rugby player, and politician Mo Mowlam.

For some reason they go to an Internet cafe to make calls.  Sebastian is calling one of the celebrities, but has forgotten the name of the theatre.  James in unimpresssed, and tells him off in a very jovial manner. 

Ben's team are off to meet Michael Winner, who gives them a hard time about the charity: "There are people starving, there are people dying, there is famine and drought.  There are British people who cannot get into hospital. There is malnutrition, and you are collecting for a variety theatre."

James's team are meeting Paul McKenna, former radio dj turned hypnotist and author of motivational books.  Raj is a big fan, and therefore quite the wrong person to ask him for a favour.  So, of course, they ask him to do it, and he starts talking rubish ("tell us roughly what you do, and how...obviously you used to, and now you've moved into hypnotism, hypnosis, type of thing, why, why, you know, what made you take that on full-time because it looks like it's fairly full-time now"). 

Back with Michael Winner, and he offers them a table for 4 at the Ivy, with house wine, and says that (if he is available) he will personally pour the wine.  James has taken over negotiations with Paul McKenna and secured a personal hypnosis session.  Saira is not satisfied with that, and wants a signed copy of his book.  He reluctantly agrees to offer some DVDs and a book but thinks that its the hypnosis session that is something unique.

Next up is Mel Smith.  Sebastian tries flattery, and then asks him what he enjoys doing, but he looks puzzled and again it seems to be going nowhere.  Saira mentions the play he is doing, and Sebastian asks for tickets for the first night.  They settle for 4 tickets, and James tentatively asks if he would throw in drinks before or after the show as well.  Mel Smith agrees, and also offers (apparently un-asked) to take them to the after-show party as well.   

Ben is with the cast members of Chicago, and is more ambitious, asking for 50 tickets to the show.  He gets them.  The man I haven't heard of turns out to be a TV gardener called Diarmuid Gavin and they all say what a "top bloke" he is.  He eventually gives them a motorbike he owns but has never ridden.  That's the best so far. 

The other team are finding Eammon Holmes hard work, but eventually he gives them a tour of the GMTV studio, and possibly breakfast in the canteen.  Possibly not quite such an attractive prize.

Tim is off to meet his hero, footballer Ian Wright, and of course it all goes a bit wrong when he talks too much about The Apprentice and wanting to win.  Miriam rescues it by talking passionately about the Hackney Empire and he gives them a set of England golf clubs.  Tim admits that it went wrong: "It knocked me.  I'm not going to lie, it knocked me. It knocked me.  I was knocked."  Yes, Tim, we see.

At the Hackney Empire, Ben's team talk to the people arriving and try to persuade them to bid for their items.  That's smart.

Griff Rhys-Jones is the MC, and the auction seems to be going well for Ben's team.  Not so for James's team - there seems to be confusion about the hypnosis session with Paul McKenna (probably because of the DVDs and books) and it only raises £1,200.  On the other team, the motorcycle goes for a good price, so it's clear who's winning 

We start to hear dramatic music when the visit to GMTV is on offer, but we don't see the result.  It's down to Sir Alan to tell us who won.  Which he does, telling us, that "the Forte team got about £10,000 and the Impact team £18,000", but of course this is the first time they've used the team names, so we are none the wiser - but then he commiserates with James on being a first-time loser, so now we know.

The winners get to stay at the party with Griff Rhys-Jones.  Paul appears to be very drunk (and very happy), and I've just remembered that Anthony Worral-Thompson, the rugby player, and Mo Mowlam haven't been mentioned again since the start of the programme. 

Back in the boardroom, Sir Alan thinks that James's team didn't ask the celebrities for enough.  He also says they were lucky to get £2,000 for the Mel Smith tickets because the bidding was between his wife and his screen partner Griff Rhys-Jones.  However, if 4 tickets were not attractive, would 8 tickets have been any more valuable?

Raj is given a hard time for getting flustered when talking to Paul McKenna. They are all criticized for not getting more from Eammon Holmes.  Saira is allowed to go back to the house, and James will fight it out with Raj and Sebastian.

The three of them leave, and Nick Hewer asks what Raj has shown us.  The answer, Nick, is nothing.  Sir Alan asks the same question of Sebastian, and the best they can come up with is that he is articulate.  Margaret thinks he talks sense.  Not exactly the highest praise.

Sir Alan tells James that he can imagine him in a room full of merchant bankers, but not working for him.  He's not a "closer" (as in the sense of closing a deal).  Neither is Sebastian, who is accused of being Cartier and Rolls Royce man, whereas Sugar describes himself as a "bang, bang, get things made" man.  Sebastian is fired and Raj is told that this is his final warning.

Sir Alan is not happy.  "At the end of the day we are looking for someone to come and work for me and my organization, and, OK, they have got to have a certain kind of Sugar culture.  Smoothy, smoothly, nicely, nicely, that's alright, but there's got to be a killer instinct somewhere and I don't think he's demonstrated it."

Sebastian is in the taxi and talking about Raj, who's a "great, great individual, very personable, very friendly, very dry sense of humour, but in that boardroom it should have been him to go, purely because he's the one individual who hasn't shined on any of the tasks."  Ah, that kind of great, great individual.  But I think he's right.

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