The inaugural episode did not disappoint, everyone was every bit as stupid as promised by their interview videos (did I mention that you MUST watch them? They are truly hilarious). So far my favourites appear to have come up trumps: Alex Britez Cabral kicked off by announcing that he ‘takes cut throat & ruthless to a whole new level’ and demonstrated that by organising plastic cups and having a bit of a tidy up – terrifying - but more on that later. Not sure how I missed the badly misnamed Melody (has anyone ever had a more annoying voice?), she actually said "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon." She has, apparently been taught by Al Gore, the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu, none of whom, as far as I am aware, cite successful project management on their CV’s. More importantly, do we actually believe her? Doesn’t bode well for mouthy Mel…Julie, the hairdresser/trained actress was disappointingly quite, but I still have high hopes for her in episodes to come. A potential new favourite emerged in the form of Susan Ma. Susan claims to be “happy, easy to talk to…very enthusiastic…and easily amused'. Susan appeared to be sweetness and light for most of the task, but then at the first available opportunity stuck knife between the shoulder blades of her PM. This years bitchy candidate in the making? She did say that she’s ‘short, sweet and smiley, but when I do business, I mean business…” code for “I f@ck people up?" I sincerely hope so! (Side note: Have any of you heard of Tiger Mom, Amy Chua? I suspect Susan’s Mum pioneered the technique…)
Anyway, LudAllen announced to the candidates that he was going to invest £250,000 into a company that the ultimate winner will initiate, from original idea, through to day to day running. (Yes, he said "idea" He definitely hasn’t been watching, in six series there hasn’t been an original idea between any of the candidates, why on earth would this year be different??) To make the prize seem even sweeter, LudAllen, told the candidates has no intention of offering the winner any help or support and if they mess up he’ll lay into them. “Look at it," he said “as a bit of an uncivil partnership. How could anyone resist such an attractive offer???? (Side note: Not sure if the candidates noticed, but LudAllen said he was going to invest £250,000 worth of cash and 'value'. Hellooooo, 'value'? That could be £10 thousand in cash and £240 thousand worth of old Amstrad units. Have any of them checked what they're staking their reputations on for the next couple of months?)
So the first task, that would get them a step closer to the money, was to take £250 buy fruit and/or veg, make something with them and sell for a profit. As always, the team with the biggest profit wins. Simple enough concept? In the real world yes, but in Tom Pellereau’s world it was so complex, he was forced to take notes…
So the boys decided to make soup because per Edward, "You can’t get soup wrong.” Glen (another of my early favourites), who was clearly just being ‘negative’ pointed out that they didn’t actually know how to make soup. Details….Edward brushed off concerns about plans, profit margins and the like, as more annoying details. There was no time, apparently, to "show off and work out margins. I am an accountant, I can do that…just spend the £250 on produce and mash it up and make a profit. That’s my vision for this task.” With insight like this, why on earth is this bloke not a millionaire already? That accountancy qualification is clearly holding him back…
The boys decided that orange juice and tomato soup (that well known combo) was the way forward, despite the lack of soup making ability in the group and rushed off to source their ingredients. They immediately hit a massive hurdle when it became clear that none of them knew what an orange looked like. Vincent to Edward, whilst pointing at an orange: “Is that an orange?” I expected Edward’s response to be either: (a) It's round and orange, what else could it be? (b) hold it up against your face, if it’s a similar colour, it’s an orange. Edward’s response was actually (c) I don’t know….
Edward proceeded to spend pretty much all of his money on 1400 oranges, leaving Jim, the perpetually worried Irishman (aka Soupman or Jittery Jim), 40 quid to buy everything they would need to make soup. Against all odds, Jim managed it! I was beginning to wonder if Jim was Jesus and would also be able to feed 40,000 with a mere loaf of bread and a fish…It would have helped if he was because at this point, it appeared that the boys would need a miracle to win…
The boys eventually got out and started to sell. The main points to note were: Vincent (aka Mickey from ‘Only Fools and Horses’) using his wiley charms to get women to buy his “orange juice” (phnar, phnar). He is obviously a skilled hypnotist, because despite being aesthetically challenged, women seemed to be falling for it; Alex Britez Cabral sold nothing, but vigorously defended the fact that the food wagon he was in charge of, was spotless and the bread was cut to perfection; Tom, the inventor, juggled his oranges (ooh errr Mrs...).
Anyway to cut, what has now become, a longer blog than the episode itself, short the girls won.LudAllen tried his first ‘ism’ of the series, it wasn’t good..."We've heard the Melody,'" he joked after asking her how she thought she did ”now let's hear the chorus." 3 out of 10 - must try harder. Sub standard at best, I hope LudAllen's script writers have some better stuff to pull out of the bag in later episodes.
|The losing team|
In a last ditch attempt to save himself, Edward pointed out that he was the "youngest and the shortest” person on the team (surely the best board room excuse ever?!). LudAllen chose to overlook his 'handicaps' and based on the fact that Ed was clearly a massive twonk, fired him anyway. A crestfallen Edwards slunk out of the boardroom, (interestingly, he didn't roll, despite looking like he'd just been punched) with the advice from LudAllen that he should play to his strengths as “there’s no shame in bein' an Accountant.” Not something Ed will have to worry about ever again I suspect, no accountancy firm will allow him to darken the doors of their massive offices again post his, very public, slating of the profession.
Favourite exchange of the episode:
LudAllen: Ed, you were trained at one of the leading accountancy firms in the country I believe, is that right?
Ed: Don’t fit the mould.
LudAllen: Beg your pardon?
Ed: Don’t fit the mould.
LudAllen: I didn’t ask you that question, I said you were trained by one of the leading Accountancy companies in this country, is that right?
Ed: I was. Indeed.
LudAllen: So you would have had insight and vision into how companies are run ‘cause you audited ‘em a couple of times yeah
Ed, shaking his head: It’s all there
LudAllen, frowning: I Beg your pardon?
Ed: It’s all there, all my experience is with me.
LudAllen, raising his voice: Can you stop talking to me in semaphore here. We’re not sending each other text messages here just answer me properly yeah. I don’t understand what you mean by ‘its all there.’
Ed: Yeah, so all my experience, that I’ve had, it’s all with me.
LudAllen, laughing: I’ve been told that your team name is Logic, not very appropriate. Good luck with that name…
Did the right person go? Whilst I shall miss Edward and the obvious comedy potential he takes with him, without a doubt! Fortunately, there are 15 other candidates who, I feel certain, won't let us down.