It was 6AM in the Apprentices' town house and there was a camera crew standing by the phone. Standing next to the phone in front of the camera was a woman in pajamas and full make-up. What could be about to happen?
Through an incredibly fortunate coincidence not seen since Stanley stumbled into Livingstone and started to presume, the phone rang.
Who could it be?
It was Lord Sugar’s pretend secretary. How fortuitous! With the news he wanted to see the candidates really quickly. So the fully made-up woman then had to rush upstairs to wake up lots of other women in full make-up. Amazingly none of this make-up had smeared in the slightest during their night’s repose. I don’t want to torpedo the show right from the start but if I were Lord Sugar I’d forget about all the poxy products The Apprentices are pitching and just go straight for this make-up that looks as though it has only just been applied despite having had eight hours stuck in a pillow. He’d make a fortune.
But of course we know that Lord Sugar won’t take a sure-fire hit like that when he could instead invest in something rubbish instead possibly with someone who’ll later take him to court. So it was back into the process for the candidates.
The process this time was making and marketing speciality designer beers. I must declare an interest here. I think speciality beers are stupid drinks drunk by stupider people. Come to think of it that’s not an interest. it’s an insult.
Anyway the boys or Endeavour were led by Kurt. Kurt is from Liverpool and therefore ranks third on the people Lord Sugar loves to fire after older women and people with fancy qualifications. After the debacle of Jason's indecision in episode 1, Kurt was determined to manage at all costs. And in boy terms managing means being certain about everything in a very definite alpha male way. And never changing your mind. Even when it turns out you’ve sent a person who doesn’t drink alcohol on religious grounds to make the beer tasty.
Kurt was of course doomed from the start not only by his scouseness but also by the fact that the Evolve's team leader was Tim who I had tipped for ultimate victory in my first blog and was therefore obviously completely unbeatable.
Unaware of my curse hanging over his trimly bearded head, Kurt got on with the decision making. You couldn't fault his speed. He'd already decided on a product before the sub-team had got to the brewery to do some initial tasting. The members of the sub-team who were prepared to drink wailed their disapproval but Kurt is not a man for turning. It was chocolate and orange. A flavour which works in a Terry's chocolate orange obviosly. But a beer? Hmm.
It was too late. The label was already designed. And as all great innovators know you start with a label and work backwards. Not. That's not like putting the cart before the horse. That's putting the stable before the horse when it's still a forest.
Trusty Tim, my tremendous tip, had joined the girls (henceforth known as the Timettes). They had rooted around and rattled up some essence of rhubarb. I winced as Trusty Tim and the Timettes toppled it into their tipple.
Allow me to take a brief moment to explain about why you can be sure that neither orange nor rhubarb have any place anywhere near a beer. It is encapsulated in two small words - bar snacks. If what you wanted with your beer was the tangy zing of fruit then every landlord in the country would happily make them available in their hostelries at well-marked up prices....”And would, sir, fancy a bit of citrus with his pint? Of course he wouldn't.”
Why? Because beer is a vice, And a tasty vice. And the very last thing you want to do with a tasty vice is stick some virtuous, free radical eliminating, vitamin C stuffed monstrosity with it. The only things that taste good with beer are crisps, salted peanuts and cigarettes. All of which are bad for you. Don't look at me like that. I didn't make the rules.
But despite my willing them to, Tim and the Timettes didn't opt for crisp and peanut flavoured beer (even I'll acknowledge tobacco flavoured is probably a step too far) and instead stuck with rhubarb. All that was left of them was to calculate the ratios of the ingredients that would be required when they began to produce the stuff in greater volume.
Usually, as an ex-comprehensive school teacher, you want there to be fewer privately educated people on television. There are exceptions, however, And as the Timettes struggled and repeatedly failed with Maths so rudimentary it had stuck two fingers at them, this was one of those moments. If the Timettes were products of the comprehensive system I can only pray Michael Gove wasn't watching. He's doing enough damage to the education of the next generation with no evidence at all. God knows the crazy stuff he'd come up with if he actually had some.
Leaving the Timettes happily making two plus two equal five we return to Endeavour. They embarked upon the selling part of their task by splitting up into sub-groups – one sold to the public in a beer festival whilst the other went to sell to trade. As experienced Apprentice watchers know it is pretty much always a mistake to find yourself in the sub-group selling to trade. This mistake is compounded by not bringing a product for the representatives of the trade to sample. Endeavour did have an empty bottle the trade could sniff. The trade sniffed alright. But nowhere near the bottle
But amusing as this ineptitude was it didn't really matter as , watching live, I knew Endeavour were already doomed. And not just because of my tipping Tim. No. Endevaour were doomed because they were up against an unbeatable combination - real ale quaffers and pretty young women. You see when drinkers decide to go the real ale route they receive one thing (excellent beer) but they must forfeit another thing in return (the company of almost all pretty young women.) Doubtless I will be accused of gender—stereotyping but I will nevertheless stick to my guns. When offered the choice between a tent containing a large number of big-bearded and bigger-bellied men swilling cloudy stuff from plastic glasses and a tastefully lit wine bar playing discreet jazz most pretty young women are heading straight for the Merlot and the Miles Davies.
Therefore the sight of seven attractive young women (plus Tim) with real ale to sell was the biggest banker since Giant Haystacks last played monopoly.
It didn't matter if they went to a beer festival that was just a pub with two dodgy gazebos. It didn't matter that they'd lost a whole load of product before they'd even started by not being able to do...products. They couldn't lose. It was unthinkable. It was impossible. It was..,
Exactly what happened.
Tim managed to make things worse by bringing back into the boardroom the Timette who'd sold better than anyone else in the task. I was beginning to take his stupidity personally. I'd invested a whole paragraph in bigging him up not seven days ago.
Sugar said he'd been left with nowhere else to go and I was forced to agree. The finger pointed and the tip of the Timettes was trimmed away. Now they were just ettes.