For obvious reasons, the BBC was unable to make the traditional Autumn series of The Apprentice last year. Unable to afford celebrities and scared to endanger civilian lives, the nation’s broadcaster of hearts was forced to resort to having politicians as contestants. The Apprentice Political Special followed the traditional format of the show with suitably dumbed-down tasks.
[THE BOARDROOM, LORD SUGAR INVITES THE CONTESTANTS IN TO REVIEW THE TASK]
LORD SUGAR: Right, the task I gave you was a pretty straightforward one. I simply asked you to go to the shops and get a pint of milk. Cheapest one wins. You’ve had three days to do it, so let’s find out how you all got on. Let’s start with Team Clusterflop. Who was your project manager for this one?
PRITI: Please, Sir! It was Boris, Sir!
BORIS: Was it? Ah, yes! Yes! Indeed, it was I, so to speak.
LORD SUGAR: I see. Did Boris do a good job as PM? What do we all think? How about you Jeremy?
JEREMY: Well, Lord Sugar, I have an email from a lady named Doreen. Doreen suggests that Boris’s leadership style is symptomatic of the hegemonic approach of the bourgeoisie in hampering the dialectical reasoning that inevitably leads to the emancipation of the pro …
LORD SUGAR: Yes, yes. Look! With all respect to bloody Doreen, I don’t give a monkey’s about what she thinks. You’re here and she ain’t! Has anyone got an opinion of their own? What about you, Theresa?
THERESA: I wasn’t impressed, Lord Sugar. When I was PM on the last task I used to control the team with a headmistressy look of deep disappointment. Boris just seems to fart and chuckle a lot.
LORD SUGAR: Hmm. It’s just a pity that you didn’t win your bleeding task, though, isn’t it? Anyone got anything positive to say about him?
PRITI: Oh, yes, Lord Sugar! I think Boris did a rather splendid job of keeping the chair warm for me. He should be congratulated for that whilst bearing all responsibility for our failure in the unlikely event that we’ve lost.
LORD SUGAR: Well, we’ll come to that later. How about Team Omnishambles? Who was your PM?
KEIR: That was me, Lord Sugar.
LORD SUGAR: Ah, okay, yes, that chap whose name nobody can spell. Good PM everyone?
JEREMY: No, he’s a complete and utter bas- …
LORD SUGAR: Yeah, yeah! I was actually hoping for comments from his own team. You’re on thin-ice here Jeremy, there’s no doubt about that. You, the one in the middle, I can’t remember your name, what did you think?
ED: It’s Ed, Lord Sugar. I’m a trifle on the fence about it.
NICOLA: You always are, not once did you stop to think about what this task meant for Scotland and the right of the Scottish people to buy their own milk without any interference from the English. [5,000 SENTENCES OMITTED AS OUR TRANSCRIBER FELL ASLEEP] Mel Gibson didn’t fight at Culloden just so we could …
LORD SUGAR: That’s all well and good but the task was to buy a pint of bloody milk in bloody London. It’s got sweet Fanny Adams to do with whatever you were banging on about while I was asleep. Let’s talk about the actual task, for God’s sake. Boris, how did you divide up your team?
BORIS: Well, ah, yes, divide my team. I did, indeed, do that. I formed what one might call a planning unit, as it were, what one might describe, one supposes, as a management and, one should say, strategy committee in order to, as it were, communicate the ah, the er, the plan! And, indeed, a sub-team to, so to speak, do the actual shopping.
LORD SUGAR: So who was on this so-called management team for Clusterflop?
BORIS: Well, er, there was, of course, needless to say, myself, so to speak, along with Michael, Jabob and er Rishi, Lord Sugar.
LORD SUGAR: Ah, yes, Rishi. I’d forgotten about you. What did you bring to the task?
RISHI: I smiled a lot and chucked a load of money around. People like that.
LORD SUGAR: The usual then. What about the sub-team?
PRITI: I led that, Sir.
LORD SUGAR: Good team was it?
PRITI: Oh yes, Lord Sugar, they were perfectly well behaved after a few initial problems. Once I’d pushed John’s head down the toilet so that he could look for his precious fish, he was much more compliant. Weren’t you John?
JOHN: Yes, Miss. Sorry, Miss. I promise I won’t do it again, Miss
LORD SUGAR: And who did the actual negotiating?
PRITI: Liz, Sir. She’s an expert in negotiation so if anything went wrong there she’s entirely to blame.
LIZ: Oh yes! I am totally an expert! And I was the milk monitor at school! And I got a silver star for my story about The Wombles! They always said I was jolly bright!
LORD SUGAR: Hmm. And what about Omnishambles?
KEIR: I put Angela in charge of the sub-team, she’s a little less incompetent than most of them.
LORD SUGAR: And who was in your team, Angela?
ANGELA: Me, Diane, Jonathan and Jess, Lord Sugar.
LORD SUGAR: And would you say Angela was a good subteam leader? [PREGNANT PAUSE] I see. I think I’ve heard enough for now. Let’s see how you all got on. Claude?
CLAUDE: Well, Sir Alan, Clusterflop managed to spend a total of four billion pounds but didn’t actually obtain a pint of milk. So there’s a fine there, that makes a grand total of four billion and five hundred pounds.
LORD SUGAR: Sodding hell, let’s just hope the Beeb are footing the bill for that one. Karren?
KARREN: Well, Al, Omnishambles only managed to spend £657.32 but they also incurred a fine for failing to provide any milk. That makes a total of £1,157.32.
LORD SUGAR: Shambolic is certainly the word but that’s still a huge win, all the same. You’re the best part of four billion quid ahead. Well done! I’ve got a nice treat lined up for you all, a midnight picnic on Hackney Marshes. Sod off and enjoy it. Clusterflop, get yourselves down the cafe and when you come back we’ll discuss it further.
[THE CAFE SCENE HAS BEEN EXPURGATED. SUFFICE TO SAY, IT WAS ANYTHING BUT PRETTY. BORIS RECEIVED A TOTAL OF SEVEN CHINESE BURNS FROM HIS SUB-TEAM LEADER WHO THEN TRIED TO RAM A FORK INTO JEREMY’S EYE. FORTUNATELY, SHE FAILED IN THIS ENDEAVOUR AS SHE COULD NOT FIND A STEP-LADDER. WE REJOIN TEAM CLUSTERFLOP IN THE BOARDROOM]
LORD SUGAR: I’ve got to say this is a first. I’ve had some right bloody chancers in here over the years. Liars, idiots, blaggers, grifters, spivs, you name it, I thought I’d seen the bloody lot. Then you lot come along and spend four billion quid on a pint of milk and you didn’t even manage to buy the bleeding milk! If it wasn’t for the broadcasting schedule, I’d sack the bloody lot of you. At least one of you is going home. At least one. What did you actually spend all that money on?
CLAUDE: Well, Sir Alan, Team Clusterflop actually returned with a Pot Noodle, twenty Bensons and a chicken lattice. Sadly. the chicken lattice was two months past its sell-by date, the cigarettes were fire damaged and the Pot Noodle was missing its pot.
LORD SUGAR: So, you basically spaffed four billion quid on nothing? That’s a bloody achievement of sorts, I can tell you. You were in charge, Boris. What went wrong?
BORIS: Well, we did, alas, fail to provide the milk but as I believe, er, Juvenal! Yes, I do believe it was Juvenal. As er, indeed, Juvenal once, as it were, said “It is far better to do something, so to speak than to er …”
LORD SUGAR: But you didn’t do anything! There’s no milk in my bleeding tea! Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t fire you now.
BORIS: Well, as one could, ah, I suppose, indeed, postulate …
LORD SUGAR: Postulate somewhere else, mate, I’ve heard enough about your acne. I want to hear from the rest of them now. You, the smarmy one on the right …
JACOB: Jacob. And it is only your title that is preventing you from getting a jolly good biff on the nose, Sir!
LORD SUGAR: Yes, right mate. If you want to meet up in the bleeding car park later, be my guest, but what did you actually contribute to this task?
JACOB: I think, Sir, that you will find that I was perpetually on hand with my keen mind and exquisite breeding.
THERESA: You slept through the entire task!
JACOB: I was simply reclining on the chaise-longue. I do most of my best work reclining on a chaise-longue.
LORD SUGAR: I’m looking for a business partner here, not a sleeping partner! You’re a disgrace. What about you, Liz? You were supposed to do all the negotiating.
LIZ: Oh, yes Sir! I did lots of negotiating! I started straight after assembly and carried on all the way to home time!
LORD SUGAR? So where’s my four billion quid and where’s my bleeding milk?
LIZ: Well, Sir, the milk was marked at 48p but after I did some negotiations, I got it down to £6.28!
LORD SUGAR: So why didn’t you buy it? I don’t know if you’re pint-less or pointless!
LIZ: £6.28 did sound frightfully cheap, Sir. I thought I might be able to get some for a bit more at the tuck shop.
LORD SUGAR: Somebody tell me when it’s past her bedtime. What happened then?
PRITI [SMIRKING LIKE A VULTURE] That’s when Michael had an idea, Lord Sugar.
LORD SUGAR: Michael? Michael? Ah, yes, I remember Michael. We don’t hear a lot from you, Michael. I feel you might be one of those people who lurk in the shadows. I don’t like that.
MICHAEL: Well, no, indeed, Lord Sugar. I’m sure that you’ll find that I have been monumentally pro-active throughout this entire process and that I have singularly refrained …
LORD SUGAR: I don’t want to know about what’s up your nose, Michael. Just tell me about this great idea that you had.
MICHAEL: Well, we were going about it in entirely the wrong way. The task, primarily, was a business task so we needed somebody who knows something about business. So I phoned an old chum who does business and stuff.
LORD SUGAR: Business and stuff? Are you having a giraffe?
MICHAEL: Well, what I mean is that she does, well, you know, business and stuff. She’s absolutely world-beating at it, she tells me So it made perfect sense to outsource the project …
LORD SUGAR: … to someone who does “business and stuff”. You don’t know if she’s a market trader or bloody Darth Vader, yet you trust her to go out and get you a pint of milk? And you pay her four bloody billion quid! Four bloody billion! Up front!
MICHAEL: Ah, well, Lord Sugar, John arranged the contract, I merely provided the impetus …
LORD SUGAR: Oh, do shut up! You fish-faced freak. John?
JOHN: Well, the contract was water-tight, it had very firm deliverables.
LORD SUGAR: Water-tight? It didn’t even hold the bloody milk? Carry on. Tell me about the price.
JOHN: Dido, that being the business and stuff lady, is absolutely at the top of her game, Lord Sugar. As such. she doesn’t come cheap. She had to cancel a contract to repaint some ceiling in the Vatican in order to fit us in. But she did offer us her full attention so it seemed rude to haggle. And she did offer me a free trip to the aquarium.
LORD SUGAR: Alright. I’ve heard enough from all of you know. Boris, I want you to name the two candidates who are coming back in here with you. At least one of you is getting fired.
BORIS: Well, er, gosh, obviously I shall bring in Jeremy because he smells. And, ah, ah [RECEIVES SIMULTANEOUS DEATH STARES FROM PRITI AND THERESA] and er, alas, Liz.
LORD SUGAR: Priti, Theresa, Michael, Jacob, Rishi, you’ve had a lucky escape. You’ve blown a lot of money on naff all. Get back to the house. The rest of you wait outside while I talk to Claude and Karren.
LORD SUGAR: Strewth! What a bunch of muppets. Did that Jeremy actually do anything?
CLAUDE: Only if you count constantly prodding your leader with a sharp stick as doing something, Sir Alan.
LORD SUGAR: Yes, I don’t think he’s a team player, that one. What about Liz?
KARREN: Well, Allikins, you know I usually like to stand up for the girls, but really, she’s such a complete and utter milksop! She’s as thick as mince, too!
LORD SUGAR: Yes, I think she was over-promoted at milk-monitor, that one. Any thoughts on Boris?
CLAUDE: The mind boggles, Sir Alan. It truly does. He’s a walking liability.
KARREN: He’d be out of his depth in a paddling pool, Sugar Tits.
LORD SUGAR: Yes, you’re not wrong.
[LORD SUGAR TURNS ON THE INTERCOM]
LORD SUGAR: Frances, don’t ask them to come back in, tell them to sod off because they’re all bloody fired. And get the sodding BBC on the blower, I want a word or two with that lot!
Next week, the remaining candidates attempt to arrange a drinking session in a beer factory. Will they succeed?