The Apprentice, BBC1

thecustard.tv chart, with an introduction to each candidate from Lorraine.

1. (1) James is blustery, long-winded and fatuous. James will soon be leaving the show, but each episode that he remains should be treasured. His capacity to make each decision tremble with the importance of a president hovering his index finger over the nuclear button is bewildering.

2. (4) Lorraine is repetitive, hackneyed, monotonous. Somehow managed to clinch her team a winning amount of orders despite delivering a pitch with less life than the surface of Mercury. Her semantic tactic was to overwhelm each of the companies with meaningless words, one after the other as though they were being marched to the gas chamber, in the hope that the managers knew less about fitness machines than she did. She began her pitch: “Body Rocka – it’s innovative, it’s new, it’s original” as if unaware that those three words mean pretty much the same thing.

3. (13) Philip is scheming, manipulative and calculating. He’s going to be here until the last few weeks, so we might as well shift him up the chart. He over-praised Lorraine’s pitching in a clear exhibition of tactics in which he will vilify all those whom he perceives as weak, such as Howard and James, while forging close bonds with those people he reckons to be strong (but not as strong as him).

4. (10) Noorul is uncomplaining, meek and subservient. Sat quietly as the dispute about his appearance in the advert raged about him.

5. (5) Howard is articulate, eloquent, well-spoken. Has earned an adversary in Philip as he represents everything he is not – intelligent, calm and with a talent for observing the root cause of problems (whether he does anything about them is another matter).

6. (6) Mona is willing, keen, eager. After her vibrancy of the first episode, she has eased off as though she believes that making a noise every three weeks will be enough to secure passage. In the past couple of tasks, she’s been happy to do the bidding of her superiors.

7. (8) Paula is anonymous, discreet, reserved. Again managed to make less of an impression than a microbe stamping on granite. She was only inadvertently memorable because she was the victim of one of those increasingly annoying intercuts where, in this case, Paula’s innocent grimace was inserted after Lorraine had practised her pitch, making it seem as if Paula was pouring scorn on her presentation, when in reality she may have been exercising her face because the vocal muscles were atrophying through underuse after being caught in the retortive hurricane of Debra and Yasmina.

8. (2) Kimberley is cagey, evasive, slippery. Was lucky to be even more anonymous than Majid so much so that James didn’t know she existed, else she could have been fired in his place.

9. (10) Katie is not ‘dumb’, ‘blonde’ or ‘ditzy’. Pronounces her ‘t’s so sharply they could puncture a diamond.

10. (3) Yasmina is small-minded, intolerant, ignorant. Sadly her headline this week was her apparent ‘racist’ outburst about their team’s advert that to feature Mona and Noorul would make it look as though they were focusing on “ethnic minorities”. This perhaps wasn’t the case as the real root of her argument was that she thought Philip is better looking than Noorul, but wanted to construct an artificial reason in order to minimise offence to Noorul, but ended up offending most of the population.

But the worst element of this episode was her belief that “because I’m Iranian, I can say that”, under the delusion that people in ethnic minorities are impervious to the charge of bigotry. Still, when she finishes second she can always bag a column in the Daily Mail under one of their vulgar intros of: “Why I as a black woman/ gay man/ immigrant deplore this kind of behaviour…”

11. (9) Debra ‘speaks her mind’, and is ‘honest’, ‘blunt’. Seemed overjoyed at Yasmina’s inference about why Noorul shouldn’t be a model, and while her anger was genuine, it was one of those situations in which the riposte is that much more severe because of the freedom to seem furious. Yasmina later complained that Debra “barks” at people in an autocratic style, which should have been like looking in a mirror to Yasmina.

She also lambasted Lorraine’s pitch with an “honest assessment”, using the word ‘honest’ as a tool to make the ‘assessment’ even more caustic under the guise of truth.

12. (11) Majid. Majid is not here, elsewhere, over the hills and far away.

13. (15) Ben is arrogant, supercilious, conceited. He has the same perception of honesty as Debra; “I’m keen to go down the sex sells route, to be honest,” while being responsible for a piece of fitness equipment slightly less useful than a doorstep. If he had been around when the wheel was invented he would have insisted on making it square.

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