The Apprentice recap: Snotty Dink and the children’s book kerfuffle
Welcome to TVGuide.co.uk’s Apprentice recap. This week saw self-proclaimed wordsmith Sam’s wildest fantasy – a writing challenge! Will Sam finally step up? And how will the other team fare against Shakespeare reincarnated?
It’s that time of week again and we meet Lord Sugar in St. James’ Square, the home of the London Library. Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie and Charles Dickens all used to hang out there. One might suspect that this could be a writing task, but then again, it’s just as likely it could be about dogs.
It is a writing task, confirms Lord Sugar. The two teams will each produce a children’s book aimed at 3-5 year olds and then attempt to sell it to professional retailers.
However, there’s a slight imbalance between the two teams. Connexus are appalling and have yet to win so far, and – far more damningly – Versatile have the modern day Dickens himself, Mr. Sam Curry.
Sam will join Connexus, declares Lord Sugar. And the other members of Connexus breathe a sigh of relief. Saved!
Sam makes an immediate impression as the two teams move to the planning stages of their new books. He will be Connexus PM, and Connexus are so desperate for a win that no one dare asks his credentials.
Sam tells us anyway: “I love language. I have a degree in English Literature. I think language and communication is key to existence.”
And to prove that point further, he rambles on about Aristotle’s theories on plot, which are obviously applicable to a book aimed at 3-5 year olds.
Meanwhile, Charleine’s trying her luck for PM again.
Having learnt her lesson about strong pitches highlighting her abilities, Charleine uses Scott’s “I have a little dog” tactic from last week.
“I have children,” she says. No one immediate heralds her the saviour of the task, so she continues: “I read books all the time to my children.”
One gets the sincere impression this is more a case of no one else wanting to be PM than anyone being particularly enthusiastic about Charleine.
Next, ideas. Charleine is pitching a riveting tale of security blankets when Joseph cuts in.
How about a bee collecting honey?
BRILLIANT. April seal of approval.
Charleine’s unimpressed. Erm, what qualifications have you got to say his bee story is better than my security blanket story?
“My degree is in creative writing,” says April.
April 1 Charleine 0.
Despite the presence of word architect Sam in Versatile, their plotting process is not faring much better.
Sam has 50,000 ideas, but they’re not any closer to selecting one they like. What do you think, Elle?
DRAGONS. LOTS OF DRAGONS.
The teams separate into two groups. One will create the book while the other does market research. Charleine will head up the writing team, and she’s selected Richard to be her second in command. Or has she?
Not really, says cunning Charleine to the camera. She then reveals her clever plot: Richard is sub-team leader to make him feel important, but David will be her real eyes and ears.
In the other taxi, Richard is huffing and puffing.
“I’m used to being in the important team,” he whines, aggravating a thousand self-published writers struggling to market their books.
They make the astounding discovery through their research that children like rhymes. They should have just watched that awful episode of How I Met Your Mother.
He tries to feed this information to Charleine, but she’s having none of it.
Actual quote: “Can you stop talking one second Richard? Is David there please?”
David repeats Richard and Charleine is happy.
Over at Connexus, Sam unveils his grand idea.
What if the dragon doesn’t fit into the regular clothes because he’s too big UNTIL he finds clothes that do fit?!
Elle suggests that Snotty Dink the dragon breathes water and everyone else breathes fire, ostracising poor Snotty Dink until he saves the day.
The Versatile storylining team are also struggling. Their story teaches children about the production of honey. Claude find one tiny little problem with this.
Meanwhile, their market research team are now the audio book team, and they’re having a bit too much fun.
After a long delay in getting the Connexus Snotty Dink script to their audio book team, the team get to recording.
Hehehe, what do you mean it’s targeted at 3-5 year olds?!
And here are the final products side by side:
As no book looks significantly better or worse than the other, we’ll move along swiftly. Who will pitch?
I AM PITCHING, says Charleine.
Richard mentions the fact he only won the contract to cater for the Olympics.
I am pitching, says Charleine.
Over at Connexus, Sam is going for reason. He wants Natalie to pitch as she has pitched to these book retailers before.
There’s one problem…
Sam’s forced to put a contagious Natalie in charge of the sub-team pitching to smaller retailers, while he tackles the bigger retailers.
Sam’s first pitch is smooth, tackling the problem of overlong words in the book by claiming he wants to teach children more sophisticated language.
How do these retailers feel about taking 150 units of Snotty Dink?
Selina immediately drops her offer by ONE HUNDRED to 50 units. Sold!
When questioned on her inability to consider quantities between 150 and 50, Selina blames her lack of maths skills. She survived last week, so why not play that card again? Who on earth could do 65 times £3.90 anyway?
Meanwhile, Charleine’s lost the ability to speak like a human being in front of buyers from Waterstones.
Their book receives the worst critique a children’s book can receive.
“It’s cringey,” say Waterstones.
How can a children’s book be TOO cringey? Children’s books are the definition of cringey! Waterstones are out.
Connexus suffer no such slip up at the book retailing giant.
15 copies sold.
Selina’s not the only one struggling with maths as Natalie makes an embarrassingly poor pitch to a local store in Hackney.
What’s the discount percentage, Natalie?
Next we have a selling montage as both teams scramble to sell as much as they can in the final hour.
…and it’s time for the boardroom! Who will be victorious?
First up are dream team Connexus.
Poor old Sam is accused of “overintellectualising” the challenge by Lord Sugar. I didn’t know that was a word, so I’ve already learnt something.
Karren says it was like Sam was “trying to write the sequel to King Lear”.
Also, Natalie’s pitch was shit.
Next, to Versatile:
The book is criticised for its use of language, while Charleine is criticised for her embarrassingly blatant hatred of Richard.
But the numbers are what count, right?
Firstly, Claude for Versatile.
Versatile sold 210 books, making £690.10.
And will Connexus achieve their first win of the series, courtesy of Sam’s affinity for language?
Connexus sold 250 books, making £587.25.
Charleine escapes certain elimination by being on the winning team. Hooray! She’s off to see a magic show at a library with the rest of Versatile.
And the curse of Connexus continues.
It’s actually a genuine shame, because Snotty Dink is a far better book. The team (and I) agree the failure of the task comes down to sales.
Back to the boardroom:
Unable to really blame Sam’s product for the failure of this task, most of the team jump down Natalie’s throat. Her fluffed pitches were the reason for failure.
Natalie says she didn’t have the percentage discount information from Brett.
LIAR, CRIES BRETT.
Sam must choose two people to bring into the boardroom. Unfortunately, this is nearly as difficult for him as choosing a plot for his children’s book.
Watching him deliberate is excruciatingly long:
For those who couldn’t make it to the end of that, it’s Nat and Brett. Brett?!
Why Brett, Sam?
Sam says simply that the sub-team didn’t sell enough.
I sold in every shop but Natalie’s!
And now the spot is rather awkwardly on Natalie.
Lord Sugar quotes Natalie’s CV: “I’m naturally good at sales, good at speaking in front of people and good at interviews.”
Actually, Lord Sugar thinks: “Yesterday you were unnaturally poor at sales, terrible at speaking in front of people and it goes completely against what you claim you are good at.”
I wonder who is getting fired?
It’s Sam, however, who is most distraught at Natalie being fired.
Lord Sugar might have a point when he says Sam isn’t very business.
The Apprentice airs on Wednesdays on BBC One at 9pm.