Apprentice – Week Nine – Sparkling wine gives the candidates a headache

Adam may not know quite what sparkling wine is but he can sure drink the stuff! (Credit: BBC)

The candidates attempted to sparkle in this week’s ‘Apprentice’ as the teams set out to re-brand English sparkling wine for a new audience with a website and that old ‘Apprentice’ staple, a hastily-made advert.

Sugar gathered his minions at St Pancras to detail the task and mix things up a bit, telling last week’s losing team Phoenix to pick who would join them on their team. Enthusiastically Adam suggested Nick and the rest agreed – certainly a good decision.


Tom put himself forward as PM again due to his ties to and knowledge of the wine industry, instantly bringing back memories of a week ago when his enthusiasm held him back. On the other side Ricky took charge and instantly attempted to motivate his team by pointing out the strengths of their rivals.

One of those strengths being Tom’s knowledge and the other being Nick, with his knowledge of websites and his position as favourite to win.

As always each team had their fool. For Phoenix it was of course Adam, who found himself out of his depth yet again, unaware of how Champagne got its name. He also made himself choreographer for the advert as he did weeks ago for the fitness regime task, only there was no dancing.

On BBC 2’s ‘You’re Fired’, host Dara O’Brien noted how Adam has gone from a hated candidate to the loveable idiot and I have to agree. I was harsh on the man initially but his idiot charms have made me into a fan. He’s entertaining and in a show with only a few candidates that are actually any good, that’s a good thing to be.

*Nick Hewer face* (Credit: BBC)

Sterling’s fool was Stephen, who as always chipped in with a whole host of terrible ideas like suggesting the brand name Chink and trying to hunt down a wine connoisseur in a branch of Tesco.

That was nothing compared to a later clanger though as he suggested their ENGLISH wine be called Grandeur, a very FRENCH word. The idea slid by his teammates and into the final product. Oh dear.

Meanwhile, on the other team Tom decided to use his position as the boss to have some fun. Deciding a day of wine-tasting and general hijinks with Adam was in order, we got an ‘Apprentice’ rarity as the candidates found themselves stumbling over their words in an effort to make sense. Okay, that’s not such a rarity, but the fact they were drunk certainly is.

Elsewhere Nick and Gabrielle were holding the ship together, putting in good performances for their team. Likewise on the other team Ricky proved himself a good leader despite his initial motivational plans falling flat.

When pitching their work to industry experts, Phoenix came across a lot safer to put it nicely. Sterling made a good impression with their website, in particular their idea of a wine social network, but cancelled all the good out with the advert which seemed to anger those it was meant to impress.

In the boardroom the reaction was similar from Sugar, who compared Sterling’s work to a ‘Carry On’ film and gave us a questionable Kenneth Williams impression before branding Phoenix’s work boring. Boring trumps stupidity in the experts’ minds and Sugar’s as well, so Tom, Nick, Jade and Adam walked away with the victory.

*Nick Holzherr face* (Credit: BBC)

Gabrielle had done little to warrant a firing and came up with the great English rose label design so it was clear Ricky would be bringing back slimy Stephen and excitable Jenna.

Each was to blame in their own way. Ricky was a good project manager but did make fatal mistakes in trusting the other two to carry out his wishes. He should have overseen the video being filmed but luckily Nick Hewer backed the part-time wrestler up on his claim that he didn’t want the video to be cheesy.

It was enough to save him and doom either Jenna or Stephen. Both were responsible for the video so in the end it boiled down to the candidates’ overall records on the show. Having lost five times this put Jenna in Sugar’s sights but Stephen was determined to talk and talk, giving viewers the heebie-jeebies in the process.

Ricky then provided one of the best boardroom moments of the series so far as he channelled his wrestling heroes and laid the verbal smackdown on Stephen, picking him apart with pin-point accuracy.

Sugar smelt blood and decided whether to go for the kill but Stephen, the slippery bugger, went for broke and appealed to Sugar’s more dramatic side, guaranteeing a victory if he were to be PM again.

Jenna was probably going to be fired anyway and we won’t lose any sleep over her exit, but Stephen’s appeal to Sugar made what came next even better than the firing itself. Sugar took Stephen up on his promise and told him he’d be project manager on the next task, no matter what it might entail.

Stephen is on wafer thin ice right now, which should make next week a great show, which I predict will have a double firing as we edge closer to the end of the series.

Seven candidates remain.

No caption needed (Credit: BBC/Rex)

Quote of the Week: Alan Sugar (As Kenneth Williams): “Oooh matradee, where’s me grandeur gone? Someone’s nicked me grandeur?”

Next week: The suited clowns try to get important rich people to sign contracts for reasons not entirely clear to anyone - especially them.

This week's Apprentice rated out of a possible five runaway squirrels!