A few years ago I had three must-watch programmes on the TV. Then Sky One cancelled Dream Team and the writers of Prison Break decided to decapitate my favourite character, and so I was just left with The Apprentice. Needless to say I couldn't wait for the fourth UK series to start this past week. I suspect my parents find this highly ironic, given how I complained every Sunday night when they'd start watching The Money Programme on BBC2 when I was growing up.
Week one, as always, saw us introduced to a new set of
idiots candidates, and I thought I'd keep an eye on proceedings.
9.01pm. I'm loving this, even at the pathetic overblown introductory stage. I can't wait to see these snobs humiliate themselves. Oh, here comes the Sir Alan Sugar bit. Apparently the personal fortune is now worth more than £800 million. D'oh! With the property crash I had the under on that one.
9.02pm. I'm also enjoying this as for every other week in this the introduction will be a long and rambling summary of last week's show.
9.04pm. New boardroom this series. If you don't believe it's a studio. Which, of course, it isn't. Reminder of the rules time, which neglect to say that it is demanded that someone gets the stamp of "idiot" in the first episode of each series.
9.06pm. The first task - selling fish. Unfortunately there isn't a contestant with a big white beard to put your mortgage on this week, just as well as it's another unwritten rule that the boys always lose in the first week.
9.07pm. I dislike Sara already. Arrogant, nasty piece of work. At least in the last series Katie had the sense to wait a while before being presented as a nasty cow.
9.07pm (30 seconds). Michael, meet Sara. You're in the same club.
9.08pm. Team name choice time. The boys choose Renaissance, the girls chose Alpha. Now everyone has to avoid being team leader in week one. Once again, there's no sign of my idea of people earning a week's immunity from firing for doing well in a task.
9.10pm. Claire talks about being like a German Shepherd. I don't think I've seen a dog with a chin like that though.
9.12pm. The boys have sales uniforms for selling fish! I think they were cast-offs from the set of Outbreak. Meanwhile one of the girls has a purple beret on. I remember complaints from girls who have worked on fish counters in supermarkets about the lingering smell, so that beret's not long for this world now.
9.15pm. The girls' van is being backed into a market. I've spoken too much about other people's driving lately, so I'll keep my opinions to myself on this one.
9.17pm. The girls are selling already while the boys are still setting up. I don't like how this is looking for Alex and Raef at the moment.
9.19pm. Nick isn't the only creepy thing living in this episode. The lobsters are alive. Alive! (N.B. Nick Heuer's eyebrows go without saying.)
9.21pm. I've just realised that Raef looks a bit like Roger Federer. Possibly a marginally more effective selling tool in the making for Gillette though.
9.23pm. The girls have sold three-quarters of their stock and only made £440. I ask Lorraine, "How many pairs of Jimmy Choos could you get for £440?" and get a dirty look in response.
9.26pm. Some of the things that are happening with these fish are only fit for the next series of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Wait, what programme am I watching again?
9.28pm. First sight of people using mobile phones via the speaker option of this series. Always a proud moment.
9.30pm. Sent away with what is thought to be £130's worth of fish Michael allows his price to be negotiated down to £50. I'm dumbfounded by such astounding negotiating skill. Chloe has lessons about this in the books she's wheeling around in front of me.
9.33pm. First trip to the boardroom this series. I always wonder if Nick Heuer and Margaret Mountford sneekily tell each other the totals before anyone steps into the boardroom.
9.35pm. Lots of posh boys talking. I want Nick to go, badly, although Raef isn't a bad choice either. I quite like Alex now, pity he's got idiots working for him.
9.37pm. And the winner is... the girls by about £100. Claire has a smug look, all over her chin. I don't fancy Alex's chances against any of the posh boys he'll bring into the boardroom with him.
9.40pm. This year's house is a converted factory. Niiiiiice. And the beret has survived the day! That'll be the first thing into a bin in the new house I reckon.
9.42pm. I ask Lorraine if the girls' treat of a plush dinner looks nice. She gives me the kind of look I normally see after I've cooked at the weekend.
9.44pm. Back in the boardroom we learn that Raef doesn't know everything about fish, and no-one in the group knew that £5 for a whole lobster was cheap. Possibly Nick Heuer's finest Apprentice observation to date. Alex chooses to bring posh boys Nick and Raef into the boardroom. I agree with his choice but I think the posh boys will chew him up and spit him out when they return to the boardroom the following morning.
9.51pm. In the final showdown Nick suggests Alex isn't educated. I really dislike this toff, which means he's a certainty to last until about three weeks from the end. Raef has decided to bring a shovel into the boardroom with him. I also think Alex has escaped from Home and Away. At least he can go back there soon.
9.53pm. Sir Alan (as I think we have to call him, according to Apprentice rules) lays into Nick, suggesting he isn't as outstanding as he thinks he is. I suspect we'll get plenty more chances to see this...
9.55pm. No! I'm wrong, see you later posh boy! Nick has gone, and I couldn't be happier. What a great start. Chloe also thinks it's funny.
9.58pm. Nick clearly loves himself, but he's not one of the remaining fifteen who'll be back next week. I, for one, can't wait.
Have a good week!