Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Apprentice 5: Rise of the Machines

The curtain falls on Series 5. We should be due another next year, as well as a Junior edition, if King Alan can convince the Tories that his appointment as Gordon Brown's Enterprise Tsar isn't in conflict with the BBC's impartiality editorial policy. Yikes! Here was me thinking we'd just have to soldier on without show mainstay Margaret Mountford, but by the sounds of it we could be down the whole shebang. Dark days.

Sunday's final saw a chocolate flavoured face off between Kate and Yasmina. King Alan demanded the finalists bang him up a box of chocolates and an attendant campaign / hook. 80s economy, 80s product. If the next series gets made, I expect a task in which contestants have to devise a puzzle-cube thingy. They're all the rage now. A selection of ex-candidates were rolled out for pick-play. Kate didn't dare make eye contact with Phillip. It was excruciating. Kate instead lumbered herself with Ben, whose agitated sex head seemed to infect the whole process. Initial choc-box designs had a whiff of feminine hygiene about them, and the campaign ad veered into pooh-play. Not a pretty sight.

Yasmina's team initially toyed with male-accented bites, before that idea was focus grouped into oblivion. Rather than plow on with a stinker, Yasmina changed tact, focusing on shock-value treats, with flavours such as Arsenic and Toilet. Or there abouts. Cannily recalling how she won the catering task (cheap tat sold less cheap), Yasmina stuck to her model and dished out an eight quid eye-catch to Kate's north of ten culinary treats. Rather than make the classic Apprentice mistake of focusing on the end product, Yasmina concentrated on expanding her bottom line well into profitability. The day was hers.

A great end to a series that started off as a central cast stinker, and matured into a tight business-off. Who'd have thought Debra would have placed? I had her pegged as a Week 4 harridan, ready to explode some bully over the closest waif to hand. This was also the first series since one that gave any sense of fraternity between the contestants. Shown scowling venom was at a minimum, thankfully. There's a clip on the BBC website that shows Phillip bashfully telling Lorraine that despite their past differences, he's really missed her since he's been off the show. Lorraine slips into Irish and agrees she's a grower. What a coda.

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