The Apprentice: prison, pies and profits

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The Apprentice: prison, pies and profits

One of Lord Sugar's former boardroom victims delivers her verdict on episode eight of the latest series of The Apprentice

Mark Mosely
Mark Mosely

Let’s start with something positive from this week’s episode – as hard as that may be. For the first time this series, we’ve been given a glimpse of hope in the form of Megan. The only candidate thus far to display – or to be shown to display – brains and business acumen, along with some fine acting skills if I do say so myself as a former actress.  I feel very strongly that we’ll now see her reach the final, or at the very least, the final five.

This week, the remaining nine candidates were given the task of creating an immersive experience in Shropshire – including selling tickets, booking entertainment, and organising food and drink for the members of the public – while also making a profit doing it.

Mark, who owns a pest control company, put himself up as Project Manager for the first time this series. We’re now in Week 8 and during my series last year, I was fired by Lord Sugar for not putting myself up as Project Manager by Week 6, which, in my eyes, makes it perfectly clear that the show made up an excuse to remove me from the process as I was never supposed to make it to the end.  The whole thing is reverse engineered in my opinion.

Keep in mind, I was Sub Team Leader in four out of the six weeks I was there, so I was clearly not hiding from a leadership role and always put myself on the line, contributing to every task, more so than many of the candidates who made it to the later stages.  I also put myself forward as Project Manager in Week 2, which, of course, they did not show. However, someone on my team with more experience in that area was better suited for the role, so she became PM that week and actually won us the task. But, the only way the show can guarantee you’ll be in the boardroom to potentially be fired is if you’re Project Manager and your team loses.

I don’t think the show wanted to wait any longer to remove me from the process as I started to see the cracks and question things behind the scenes.  If not being Project Manager by Week 6 was the best and only reason Lord Sugar could come up with to fire me (I did ask him to give me the opportunity, but he refused), then I believe I had a lucky escape as my business acumen and reputation remained intact and untarnished upon leaving the process…but I digress.

Mark’s team, Team Apex, included Dani, Victoria, Megan, and Simba. They chose a prison-themed immersive experience serving their ‘inmates’ a meal and also treating them to a performance by a magician, plus some roleplay acting from the candidates themselves as prison guards, which was probably the most entertaining part of the whole episode.

In their morning meeting before the two halves of the team parted ways, the team as a whole decided on £200 per ticket, but after parting ways, Mark questioned the ticket amount thinking it was too high and decided to reduce the price. This significantly affected Team Apex’s profit and ultimately caused them to lose the task.

When selling their tickets, Mark, Dani, and Victoria failed to communicate properly what their customers should expect from their jail-like immersive experience. Customers weren’t given any warning that they’d be shouted at by Megan and Simba dressed up as prison guards making their acting debut. The two candidates-turned-actors tried their best to entertain guests and managed to actually turn their teammates’ mistake around by being extremely entertaining.

Victorian fun: Avi, Brad, Marnie and Rochelle thank their guests at the end of their immersive event at Blists Hill Victorian Village

Team Affinity, led by Avi, a former banker, consisted of Rochelle, Marnie, and Brad. They chose to offer a Victorian-era experience with a classic Victorian school theme, paired with a meal of pie and mash, a tour of the old mines and a contortionist.

Avi and Rochelle were on the half of the team selling tickets, clashing throughout on how to approach potential customers and at what price they should book the contortionist, which made for some awkward viewing, mainly thanks to Avi’s ‘negotiation’ with the contortionist, if you could call it that. Avi also offered customers free pictures instead of upselling them for additional profit and awkwardly backtracked on this during the event. It was extremely cringe and hard to watch, as was watching Marnie playing the role of a schoolteacher ‘disciplining’ Avi with a cane.

Back in the boardroom, Team Affinity was informed of their win as the team who made the most profit.  Mark’s team earned just £121.50, mostly due to the high fee they’d paid for the magician, while Avi’s team made a much more substantial £858.

Instead of allowing Mark to choose who to bring back into the boardroom with him, in a rare move, Lord Sugar told Dani, Victoria and Mark that they would be brought back into the boardroom, sparing Megan and Simba, who had given their all during the task. This is where Megan really showed herself as a true contender for the series – she held her own in the boardroom and was fully equipped with the information she needed to prove that she didn’t deserve to be brought back in. In a heated debate with Victoria, she very quickly shut down Victoria’s suggestion to the contrary, with the facts and figures to back it up.

Meanwhile her metaphor went completely over Victoria’s head – which was both comical but also very concerning of someone still in the running to be Lord Sugar’s next business partner.

In the end, Mark found himself in aim of Lord Sugar’s firing finger for losing control of the profit-and-loss and for his lack of communication with the customers

And then there were eight.


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