After a brief interval "The Apprentice" returned to our screens this week, for a brand new series in which the winner will get a £250,000 investment into their own business from Lord Sugar.
The very first task for the teams, which chose the names Venture (the girls team) and Logic (the boys team) was to go out and by £250 worth of fruit and vegetables, make a product and sell it as much as possible. The boys very wisely steered away from an earlier suggested name "Ability", which anyone could see would be severely mocked by Lord Sugar when the team inevitably fails a task.
As usual the contestants this year seem to be a mix of the ghastly, the goofy and the downright idiotic.
For example we have Alex Cabral who says "The only focus for me is myself. I am cold and hard," as though these were qualities we should admire him for. I suspect he may have got a scholarship to Sandhurst. Then there is Helen Milligan who perhaps more ethically boasts of her own dreariness, "My social life, my personal life don't mean anything to me. I live to work."
The girls team leader for the first task, Melody Hossaini, also attempts to impress by saying she worked with Al Gore. Well as Shania Twain once said, that don't impress me much. Mr Gore is of course the man who bought a $4 million beachside condo despite claiming that the sea level will be rising by about 20 feet any time now, hardly a wise investment decision.
This inconvenient truth aside he has made "global warming" into quite a good moneyspinner, so perhaps he is a good role model for aspiring businesswomen after all.
The boys team was led by an accountant named Edward Hunter. Now being the son of two math's teachers I am privy to certain secrets known only to those inside this small and as yet unprotected minority. One of those secrets is that there exists something called "math's teacher jokes".
This is relevant because one of the "jokes" goes like this: "Q: Why do math's teachers like accountants? A: Because they make math's teachers look interesting." Cue uproarious laughter in the staff room.
Unfortunately Edward seemed well aware of this negative and discriminatory view of accountants and appeared to do his very best to pretend not to be one. Rather than concentrating on his margins and making an even half-decent plan his whole strategy was to "roll with the punches", whatever that means.
Despite this his team actually performed rather well selling orange juice and tomato soup and bringing in £432. One of the best sellers on his team was Vincent Disneur, a man who wore hideous purple socks, looks like Robert Carlyle and yet was still somehow able to charm ladies into buying things off him.
However the girls did considerably better, making £592, mainly by flogging fruit salads to people in Canary Wharf. Indeed some on the girls team were shocked that you could sell something so simple for £2.50 a go. Well as someone who works in Canary Wharf I can confirm that it's possible in that mall to sell half-sized sandwiches for over £5 and meal deals that come with a half-empty baguette for more than £2.50, although I decline to name the establishments involved.
And so it came to pass that it was Edward who found himself in the boardroom, bringing with him Leon Doyle and Gavin Winstanley. One man who was not brought in was Tom Pellereau the nerdish looking inventor who if he has not already been dubbed "Brains" by the media soon should be.
As often in The Apprentice there are decent chaps among all the bluster, boasting and bullying, and Tom appears to be one of them, apologising to Lord Sugar for failing in the task, even though the prospect of him being had disappeared (for that moment). I have to say I fear what will happen to him when it is his back that becomes next in line to be stabbed.
As it was it was Edward who was the first to be fired for his failure, but Lord Sugar (after calling him a nightmare) kindly told him not to feel shame in being an accountant. Good advice indeed, although it's unlikely to stop all those accountantist math's teachers.