The Apprentice week seven verdict - Shock firing

Never before in ‘Apprentice’ history has it been as blindingly obvious who should be fired. The whole episode, from the ominous declaration of who was yet to be a project manager  to the clearly-signposted demise of said person, suggested that it was only going one way.

Except that it didn’t. Lord Sugar threw a curve-ball and it shattered the hopes and dreams of a particular candidate with a wonderful dress-sense.

Nick wasn't even filming the show, this is just where they found him one day

This week’s task was to find and sell assorted warehouse tat to the people of Essex with the teams remaining assets deciding the winner. Selling cheap rubbish to the people of Essex is basically like shooting fish in a barrel, making this the simplest task so far. In theory anyway.

Lord Sugar switched Stephen and Laura around before setting the teams off. They both then apparently spent the night in an Essex warehouse, deciding on their project managers, where they’d sell and what they’d be selling.

Jade took control for the first time as PM of Team Sterling while Nick was voted into power over on Team Phoenix. Finding locations was easy for Nick and his team and they were efficient in choosing their products.

Not so much with Jade’s team though who dilly-dallied on where to sell, leaving them not long at all to pick their products. With everything eventually sorted, each team divided to conquer the markets and shopping centres of ITV2’s favourite county.

The difference between the two sides was clearly defined early on. Nick’s chose groups of products that would sell well together while Jade went for the scattergun approach of selling a variety of bric-a-brac.

Stephen and Ricky indulged themselves in a little street theatre in an attempt to sell mops to a handful of punters while the other half of the team lead by PM Nick happened upon the reality-shaking discovery that Essex women like to buy fake tan. Buying more of their successful stock was the backbone of their task and they knew it.

Cheap fake tan and 60p toy bugs being sold at an extortionate price. Way to go Essex!

Jade’s decision when it came to this was to buy more of everything from the warehouse, even when it hadn’t sold out yet. Azhar spoke up here (a rarity this series) and tried to call his boss out on an obviously stupid business decision but Jade was a woman on a mission and stamped out all defiance.

By the end of the day teeny tiny toy beetles ended up being the biggest seller, and they made hefty margins too, buying them at 60p and selling them on for £2.99. Things were looking up for Team Phoenix.

In the boardroom Lord Sugar was quick to remind everyone of his humble beginnings (we get it!) before cracking the metaphorical (thank God) whip. Nick was lamented for his decision to send Stephen and Ricky to the warehouse without dropping their existing stock off with him, and then Jade was criticised for her own problems.

Both teams did pretty well actually, proving that this was actually the simplest task so far. Team Nick did enough to take the deserved victory with a £115 advantage over Jade.

Jade’s demise seemed imminent. She had lost sight of the purpose of the task, executed some poor business decisions and ignored her contemporaries. Then, in a bizarre move, she decided to bring back her team’s star player Tom.

Tom was almost immediately off the hook thanks to his keen selling ability and early dedication to the business side of things while the other members of his team argued over which animal their hot water bottles should look like.

Azhar, who was also brought back, fought for the side of common sense throughout the episode, calling Jade out and trying to rectify Lord Sugar’s ultimatum last week that he was too quiet.

Jade, already questioned for her decision to bring back Tom over Laura, repeatedly said that she wasn’t prepared. Which couldn’t have helped her cause at all. It all looked like a done deal, in fact I was bordering on feeling sorry for her, it looked certain that we’d see Jade take that taxi to BBC2 at the end of the show.

But then Sugar fired Azhar instead.

Quote of the week: “It’s 70% women…. 70% ESSEX women. The fake tan is selling very quickly.”

Next week: The candidates are tasked with selling modern art. Which usually requires a level of understanding... Uh oh!

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

3/5, must try harder.