The Apprentice: Week 8

The Apprentice has thrown up very few surprises so far, but as the process moves into its final weeks, it is at least becoming more interesting.

Last night’s episode saw the candidates head out to Paris, hoping to make sales of some supposedly classic British products. Sure, the products in question may not have currently been available on the French market. But other than a light shaped in that most British of items, a teapot, nothing else was capable of being marketed as a product with a natural association with Britain.

In any case the teapot lamp sold badly, and Logic, the team who chose the product, were duly given a mauling when the sales results came in.

As to who would take the blame, it really could have been any one from the four team members, though I was pleased to see Tom given a reprieve. Considering the number of tasks he’d lost, he’d obviously done something right to avoid a single boardroom encounter with Lord Sugar.

The boardroom was something he wouldn’t be able to avoid last night, as the team leader, but while his mistakes during the task were evident, it’s also true that a number of his colleagues have been given an opportunity to remain in contention, and to learn from their mistakes. It was pleasing to see Tom afforded the same luxury.

However, I was surprised to see Melody get away so lightly with a contribution which went beyond selfish. A manipulation of the market research in order to suit her own personal dislike of a product which she hadn’t even seen in person was largely overlooked, even though the product in question was ultimately that which secured victory in the task for the other team involved.

Her refusal to share out appointments which she had secured could also have been seen in a poor light, but Lord Sugar instead saw the positive in such approach, and warmed to her determination to win. The team’s leadership may have been weak in allowing her bullying to succeed, but others in the current series have already been shown the door for displaying characteristics deemed unsuitable for a business partnership with Lord Sugar. Clearly Melody’s selfish approach to a team task is not as unforgiveable as many viewers may have hoped, and I suspect she will be around for some time yet.

With team numbers smaller, there have become fewer hiding places and Leon was helpless but to admit an almost non existant contribution. While he too was guilty of being overrun by Melody who did, out of the kindness of her heart, “allow him to have” the final sales pitch on her list, he has also been guilty of being given a few earlier warnings during the eight weeks so far.

He was never likely to get away with another one, and was handed a cab ride home.

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