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'Apprentice' week eight review: 'Banksy's like The Stig, ain't he?'

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Nothing is more likely to send a ripple of excitement around the Apprentice house than the announcement that they are being summoned to an airport or train station or the hilariously-misleading London Gateway services.

But there's no holiday for the candidates this week, as Lord Sugar calls them to Waterloo just to show them some graffiti in a dingy tunnel. The Canary Wharf types in the group must have been struggling to hide their grimaces when Sugarbot announces from his TV that their next task is to sell scribblings like these. They have to pick two urban artists, find corporate clients and sell the work at a gallery - the team that makes the most commission wins.

The Apprentice s08 e08: Lord Sugar

© BBC / Talkback Thames



It soon becomes clear that Derbyshire market trader Adam Corbally is not going to be able to fake it as a cutting edge street art savant. The man is genuinely shocked that nobody knows Banksy's identity and describes him as being like The Stig of Top Gear. He's basically useless without a can of fake tan to flog.

Thank goodness project manager Tom Gearing is there to hold Team Phoenix together, painting himself as some kind of street art connoisseur, dropping names all over the place and reeling out some impressive facts and figures about the scene. He almost sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

In fact Nick Hewer describes him as a "very strong leader" and an all-round excellent candidate. God, just call it quits now and give him the 250k. He's been talked up as a genius in every darn episode so far.

The Apprentice s08 e08: Tom Gearing

© BBC / Talkback Thames



Believe it or not Tom does show that he's imperfect this week, losing his first choice artist 'Pure Evil' to Team Sterling, overseen by the much more enthusiastic Gabrielle Omar. Panicking, he chooses to sell alongside the relatively marketable artwork of 'Copyright' pieces by James Jessop - which just happen to be about 12ft tall and have five-figure price tags.

Sterling don't have much reason to be smug though, since they put on an absolutely shameful display when meeting with corporate client Beefeater Gin, failing to ask about trivial matters such as budget, size and location when trying to establish the kind of artwork they want. Then when representatives from the company make an appearance at Sterling's gallery, they're treated by Stephen Brady like a bunch of nerds who have shown up to a popular party uninvited. There's no need to wait to the boardroom to deduce that they buy nothing.

Stephen's antics at the gallery are just one aspect of a particularly underwhelming and overly-irritating performance. Other cock-ups of his this week include suggesting that their second artist Nathan Bowen do a live painting session hidden away outside in order to be a bit mysterious like Banksy, an idea so half-baked that it could give you salmonella. His smart-arsed, eyebrow-cocking response to Gabrielle when she lets him down gently instead of laughing in his face is just too punchable and the glare he gives whenever a prospective buyer says they'll "think about it" is... well, terrifying.

The Apprentice s08 e08: Adam Corbally

© BBC / Talkback Thames



At the galleries both teams are having the same issue - the cheap pieces are selling like crazy, the more expensive ones aren't. Not even a miraculous comeback from Adam, who manages to charm snooty collectors with his countryboy charm, is enough to shift the giant Jessops. Laura Hogg, this year's 'how the hell are they still here?' candidate, doesn't help matters by floating around, tapping people on the shoulder and asking if they're alright instead of actually trying to rake in some mulah.

In the boardroom, Gabrielle gets a good telling off for treating the Beefeater Gin lot with the same forethought and tact as someone who's spent the whole day hammering G&Ts, but claims the win anyway by a £137 margin.

Understandably, all fingers are pointed at Tom for losing Pure Evil and choosing instead to sell artwork bigger than most people's living rooms and 20 times more expensive than the DFS sofas therein. But the others aren't out of danger just yet, as Laura gets pulled up for only selling £750 worth of paintings and Jade has to answer accusations that she is indecisive.

'The Apprentice' series 8 episode 8: Laura Hogg

© BBC / Talkback Thames



Only Adam receives praise and is allowed to return to the house, which we actually approve of for once. Credit where credit's due, he stumbled into greatness this week and backed up his many clangers with some impressive selling skills. However, we're not holding out much hope for another great performance next week. This is the man who suggested serving corn beef as a gourmet meal, remember.

Back in the boardroom, Laura does her best to squirm away from Sugar's firing finger once more with some darn convincing chat. And she almost manages it - the Lord admits that she is a good talker and for a second there it looks as though the planned Tom victory might have to be aborted. But the Scottish siren's luck finally runs out and she is booted from the competition. In her eyes it's a "travesty", in our eyes... well, ours are transfixed on Super Tom. The editors have managed to convince us he's a God - we might be a little in love.

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