The Apprentice candidates mark Lord Sugar’s birthday – with a desperate dash for an Amstrad

Who doesn't want bricks and mortar or an embroidered handkerchief for their birthday?

The Apprentice episode 5 2018

This week’s Apprentice is all about what Lord Sugar loves more than anything in the world: Lord Sugar.

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It’s the shopping task with a twist: the teams are instructed to find and buy nine items that mark the 70th birthday of the man himself, and never has a task been so sycophantic or self-indulgent. Not that it matters. We’d watch Apprentice candidates run around like blue-arsed flies trying to acquire bags of crap for the lowest price. And we have.

The Apprentice episode 5 2018
The Apprentice episode 5 2018 (BBC Pictures)

So with the laminated folders handed over, teams Graphene and Vitality discover that they need to mark Lord Sugar’s 70 years with the most disappointing Sugar-themed presents imaginable: 100 bricks and mortar , a car aerial and a monogrammed handkerchief. Although judging by the 70+ year-olds we know, they’d actually be rather pleased with that present haul.

Other items like a Tottenham scarf and a birthday cake are also on the agenda, and although sadly Piers Morgan tied up in a box isn’t one of the items on the candidates’ list there is one dusty old relic to be found: an Amstrad computer.

Although the first place we’d think to look for one of these is in the small electricals depository at the local dump, Charles describes the Amstrad as an “antique item” and thinks it might be quite expensive and difficult to track down. And it turns out that he’s not wrong.

The Apprentice episode 5 2018
The Apprentice episode 5 2018 (BBC Pictures)

After searching high and low, Sajan and his team finally find a man with an Amstrad that he’s willing to sell to them. But located miles out of London and with the deadline in which to get back to Westminster looming, the only way the team can have a hope in hell of making it there and back is by asking the bloke to meet them half way.

In brilliant Victor Meldrew style, this chap sighs down the phone before saying “but I’ve just put my tea on….” What seems like a word with the wife later and he agrees to drive out to meet them.

With time passing, Sajan dithers about before eventually coming to his senses and realises they probably still won’t make it there and back. It’s then he has to put a call in to this poor man to say that, in fact, they’re going to turn round and won’t be meeting him after all. He dials up, the man answers and says “I’m nearly here…”

It’s at this point I had to hit pause. The whole debacle was so cringeworthy that I simply couldn’t hack the awkwardness and embarrassment. It’s only halfway through the episode and I have no idea what happens next, which team wins the task or who gets fired. Hopefully by Wednesday I’ll have summoned up the courage to find out – but if they end up being late back anyway…

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The Apprentice airs Wednesday at 9pm on BBC1