The Apprentice: the Final, BBC One, review: dull, obvious and as insincere as ever
And so to the most boring episode of The Apprentice (BBC One) – the final. It’s always dull as ditchwater because the things that make this show entertaining – hissy fits, dunderheaded decisions, gibbering in the boardroom – are absent.
We’re supposed to wipe our memories of the series in general, and last week’s episode in particular (when the business plans of finalists Marnie Swindells and Rochelle Raye Anthony were torn apart by Claude Littner and co), and pretend that these are two of Britain’s finest business brains, aided by some very efficient colleagues. It’s so divorced from previous episodes that even Lord Sugar and Karren Brady come across as perfectly nice.
We started, for no reason whatsoever, in Freemasons’ Hall in London. “For centuries, freemasons have been proud to practise their shared values of integrity, friendship and respect, and at the end of this process I would like a business partner that shares those same values,” said Lord Sugar. And who can begrudge them this positive PR, when sightings of Freemasons on television are usually restricted to weird handshakes and dodgy coppers (The Gold being a recent example).
Former contestants were then welcomed back to help out Team Marnie (launching a boxing gym that is “based on a feeling, not fitness”) and Team Rochelle (a chain of hair salons, although her previous plan to open one in Mayfair had quietly disappeared). Marnie already had a vision for her branding, her ad campaign and the layout of her gyms. When you think about it, all of the contestants should have this stuff in their heads if they’re serious about their big business idea rather than using the show as a route to fame.
Rochelle’s ideas were more vague – pink for the colour scheme, but not bright pink, but also brown, and the palest nude, and maybe some more pink? She put Avi and Joe in charge of bringing her “classy” salon to life in the metaverse (The Apprentice’s one concession to modernity), which was not her best decision. “What is a very feminine object? A flamingo or something?” mused Avi. “That definitely ticks off ‘class’,” agreed Joe. Avi’s “outside-the-box idea” was to have a blimp hovering above the salon.
It was obvious who was going to win, long before we got to the pitches. It’s been obvious for weeks, hasn’t it? Marnie has brains, a strong backstory, and a sound business idea. Rochelle wanted to open a hairdressing salon that sounded exactly like every other hairdressing salon. Apart from the blimp. And maybe the flamingo.