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'The Apprentice' review: 'The best recovery since Dunkirk'

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Apprentice food challenges have always been a source of TV gold, given how easy it is for candidates to literally make a dog's dinner of the task and the potential for some extra scoffing, cringing and scowling from Nick and Karen.

This week's episode was no exception, as Lord Sugar's very echoey but simple request for the teams to come up with a new condiment resulted in a big sticky mess of whingeing, horrendous gaffes and food that makes us long for Stuart Baggs's rotten sausage.

After proving to be god awful at selling everything from bags to bath riot shields, Shugs is taking no chances with the women this week - sending golden boys Duane Bryan and Nick Holzherr over to Sterling and liberating Katie Wright from her very own Mean Girls experience to become part of Phoenix.

Jane McEvoy finds the condiments not to her liking on The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



If she was hoping for a warm welcome from the men though, she's bang out of luck. Even after appointing her project manager, the Phoenix crew still feel the need to hold her hand and check that she's not too overwhelmed with this whole business lark. Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if they voted for her on the assumption that as a woman she'd surely know her way around the kitchen.

Stephen Brady, last seen crazily leering over a bin, is the brains behind their product for the week - a Mediterranean table sauce that he names 'Belissimo'. Unfortunately, he's too busy crying out things like "Arrivederci" and other Italian stereotypes to bother to check on Google (as I have, many times, for fear of ridicule) that the correct spelling is 'Bellissimo'.

However, the team's biggest problem is not on the packaging, but inside the bottle. "Reflection of perfection" Ricky Martin, prize plonker Adam Corbally and the perfectly-quiffed Tom Gearing somehow manage to concoct a sauce that cooks like an omelette and looks like it's already been chewed up. The whole ordeal is enough to make Loyd Grossman cry.

Team Phoenix bottling sauce on The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



In their desperation to make their vat resemble something you wouldn't see behind the scenes on The Walking Dead, the boys end up spilling over so many bottles that Katie is forced to put up the price of 'Belissimo' due to a lack of product.

Sterling are not much better really, even with last week's oppressed hero Duane ungagged and clearly relishing (sorry) his role as project manager. Jade Nash's suggestions for what to name their chilli chutney - spice fusion, mixmaster, simple goodness - sound more appropriate for electro music collectives, and even when they settle on the relatively sensible name of Infusion, they hit a small snag when the toxic concoction nearly kills their project manager and forces them to try to pitch a non-existent product.

With a little bit of tinkering to the recipe, Infusion is finally made edible in time for Sterling to flog to unsuspecting members of the public and food industry players that really shouldn't have agreed to a second meeting with the bunch of hustlers, who literally tried to sell them nothing.

Team Sterling bottle their condiment on The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



Despite their attempts to shift stock (I like how even those on five-figure salaries are not above snarling at customers behind their backs), both teams finish the day with stuff left. Over at Phoenix's, the blame mainly falls on Danny Dyer-type Michael Copp and his bizarre mix of pussyfooting around the client while also being an unreasonable jackass.

It doesn't take long before his team mates stage a coup (Et tu, Ricky Martin?) and he's relegated to his familiar role of standing in the background silently, somehow managing to look less credible than a businessman/wrestling champion who clearly gets some kind of perverse kick out of the word "spicy".

When it comes to the boardroom, Sterling claim their first win with £1,028 of sales to Phoenix's £585 - prompting the first smile of the week from this year's Katie Hopkins clone Jane McEvoy, who for some reason has a bit of beef with Duane. Presumably because he's good.

Katie and Ricky disagree in the boardroom in The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



Although under normal circumstances Katie's abysmal track record (three losses and two boardroom appearances in three weeks) would be enough to send her out the door, amazingly she's somehow more promising than her opponents in the final boardroom, Ricky and Michael. Bodes well for the series, doesn't it?

Ultimately though, it doesn't take a genius to realise that the lingering shots of Michael standing around looking gormless, his admission about being a bit crap and Lord Sugar's frustrated response to him playing the 'hard done by card' are enough to get him booted out over Ricky's obnoxious trash talk and Katie's apparent incompetence. As Lord Sugar's made abundantly clear in the past, there's no room in his boardroom for 'cautious Carols'.

The Apprentice continues on Wednesday nights at 9pm on BBC One.

> Lord Sugar fires Apprentice who doesn't cut mustard in condiment task
> 'The Apprentice' poll: Did Lord Sugar fire the right candidate?


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