One of the most satisfying aspects of the Apprentice is always watching someone who after all the pre-show bravado falls flat on their face – and every once in a while you get a candidate like Nicholas Brown – sorry, Nicholas de Lacey-Brown (if you read his profile he added the ‘de Lacey’ as he felt it sounded more sophisticated) – who falls so spectacularly that it is almost unmissable.
This time around, the first task was a simple sales job. No issues with buying – each team was given an identical van full of Â£600 worth of fresh fish, plus a folder containing two sections, one containing pictures of the fish with their names, the other containing a list of the wholesale prices of each of the fish varieties, and told to go make as much money as possible.
However there were a couple of tasks to do before it got to selling the fish. First off the teams had to decide on their team names, there was then the thorny problem of picking a project manager. Team names seemed to go okay this year, but being the first project manager is always very much of a poisoned chalice, so invariably nobody wants to do it. This time around though on both teams people volunteered, or at least on the boys team Raef who had been pretty vocal up to then was nominated and spent ages trying to back out, at which point Alex put himself forward.
Then it was off to a street market to sell the fish. As seems to be traditional in the programme, the girls team quickly degenerated into chaos. Although they made it quickly to the market, getting the better available pitch (apparently it sells five times as much as the pitch the boys team got later on) the stall was besieged by shoppers and some of the team started selling before any of the fish had been identified or priced. From what we saw of the girls, they quite often had to be pulled back into line, and it wasn’t exactly easy to manage them for Claire.
Having said that, we didn’t see much of them, thanks to the brewing class war in the boys team. At the beginning Alex seemed to have things under control, he allocated out roles, amongst others allocating Raef the job of identifying the fish and Nicholas the job of pricing it.
Both screwed up.
Raef managed to identify a crate of potentially lucrative Monkfish as much less valuable Turbot, and Nicholas priced up fresh lobster at Â£4.50 each – by way of comparison the girls were selling the same thing at Â£23. Both, when the mistakes were noted, started trying to shift the blame, and causing the beginnings of the split. Then, just to round things off both were also part of a group that at the end of the day sold Â£135 worth of fish to a firm of solicitors for Â£50 – they had been sent off, almost as a chance to redeem themselves – so when they made it to the boardroom, the boys team was really ready for a fight with each other.
With this task, the boardroom was therefore very much the main event. Despite their problems the girls made a reasonable profit – the boys scraped through with a profit of about Â£30. It was really no surprise therefore when Alex brought back Raef and Nicholas.
What was amazing though was quite how badly both of them crashed and burned. Their problem was that both of them tried to argue to Sir Alan that they were both there because Alex had an issue with their class – bear in mind here that Alex had a regional accent, and both of the others spoke with received-pronunciation accents – also bear in mind that Sir Alan left school at sixteen, and regularly says that he assesses people on who they are rather than the school they went to.
Nicholas came in with the first classic line:
“I feel that the barrier that has been drawn is kind of, you know, like maybe, kind of, educated against, you know, more kind of gritty salesmen.”
Alex nearly exploded at this point exclaiming that he was educated. Nicholas further dug a hole for himself by saying he liked art and had difficulty having conversations about football – provoking an amusing expression from football loving Sir Alan. Then Raef chimes in saying that he can talk to prince or pauper – “Which one are you?” says Sir Alan “The Prince?”
Watching the taxi interview and the post-mortem show, Nicholas was blaming everybody but himself – and he came on to the stage, as he had at other points in the episode sporting a pair of oversized, Top Gun style sunglasses. It then turned out that alongside his law degree, he was a budding artist – check out his website for details – and the self-penned bio is worth a read too. However, in probably one of the most unanimous decisions I’ve seen on the programme, almost the entire audience, aside of course from his friends and family, said that it was right he should be fired.
So what’s coming next week? A laundry service… can’t wait.
Alternatively, enjoy probably the best bit of the programme on YouTube: