The Apprentice – battle of the two biggest egos in Britain

The minute Sir Alan made Philip and Ben the two team leaders this week, it was clear we were in for an evening of arrogance, stupidity and, rather than entertainment, many moments when we’d just want to punch the TV. 

It’s always a frustrating episode when the team you really thought would lose, and indeed the team you felt deserved to lose, ends up winning and you therefore don’t get the showdown in the boardroom you’d been hoping for. And the showdown between Sir Alan, Lorraine and Philip would have been highly entertaining. 

In fact, I think had his team lost, Philip may not have been informed about Lorraine’s correct instinct over the rug until a bit later. At least, for all our sakes I hope not, as this would almost certainly have led to Philip’s departure, as he would have brought her into the boardroom and finally got the comeuppance he’s deserved for weeks. 

However, I am not Lorraine’s biggest admirer either. Yes, she’s had a good instinct on the past two tasks now, but having good instinct does not make you a good business person or a good employee. You need to be able to combine your instinct with an ability to convince people that you are right and with some form of credibility. 

After having been so clearly the only one right about the ‘pants man’ disaster the previous week, you would have thought that if there was ever a week when others in the team would listen to her warnings, this would have been it. Instead she was ignored, spoken down to and often ridiculed behind her back. I don’t actually think the other contestants were completely at fault for this. I wouldn’t be convinced by her either. 

However, I maintain that I would always treat her with a lot more respect than self-obsessed, vain, ignorant Philip managed. The way he continued to dismiss anything that Lorraine said, and the way that instead of having a conversation with her he just rolled his eyes, showed his complete lack of any leadership qualities or normal human compassion and decency. Not that I was expecting a display of any such qualities from him. But still, it’s always nice to be surprised. 

Perhaps the most infuriating thing about the situation though, was that on being told how wrong he was, instead of issuing anything like a sincere apology, he made some drunken joke about his behaviour at their ‘prize’ dinner. 

Elsewhere, as usual Ben was making a nuisance and mockery of himself. The only way it’s possible to dislike an aggressive, arrogant bully like Ben more, is when they finally show their true colours and prove to the world just what a wuss they really are. If he had managed to show continued bravery and a fighting sprit throughout the series, despite the arrogance, I would have at least had a shred of respect for him. 

Instead, when Debra was clearly one of the candidates that he should have taken into the boardroom, he at first opted to take in James instead. He quickly realised the error of his ways and changed his mind, taking in Debra, but this small lapse in bravado has surely lost him any last trailing fans. 

He was terrified of bringing in Debra. Oh yes, the man who had a scholarship to Sandhurst, and can endure working and performing under ‘extreme situations’ such as being ‘under fire’ in a military environment was scared of bringing a woman into the boardroom who had just fallen out with the man who was responsible for firing one of them. This pathetic display of cowardliness was in many ways the most satisfying point of the series so far; the others have now seen his weakness and hopefully because of it he’ll be off in a couple of weeks. 

Despite all of the above complaints, Noorul has now left the show, so all is not lost. He did no harm, he was just so wrong for the job that it was frustrating to watch him still taking part in the competition each week. There is not much else to say, other than to applaud him for the most hilarious ‘negotiation’ scene of the show, where he managed to sell a skeleton for less than half the price he had just found out that it was worth.   

Lastly there’s the issue of Debra’s ‘incident’ with Nick. Honestly, you think you’ve seen it all and suddenly one of the job candidates speaks back to her prospective employer’s right hand man in a rude and slightly aggressive manner. Imagine if you did that in a real interview; you started yelling profanities at the interviewer’s close friend and confidante. You’d not only be sent packing then and there, you’d be issued with recommendations for some anger management therapy as well. 

It all leaves me wondering if this is just one big test. Each year, they make the candidates more and more ridiculous, seeing how long the British public will put up with it for. Next year we’ll probably have someone who starts threatening other candidates with a small penknife in the boardroom. And they’ll still only be issued with a ‘warning’ from Sir Alan.


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