You know it’s going to be a good episode of The Apprentice when Nick Hewer sits astride a lawn mower looking bemused while wearing a brown trilby hat – and indeed it is.
Yes, after weeks of struggling to inspire much passion in me about which candidates stay and which go, tonight’s Apprentice finally screeches into action. Arguments, lies and huge deals; this is The Apprentice at its best.
The task sees Team Summit and Team Tenacity head off to the Royal Bath and West Show where they have to sell one big-ticket item and two smaller products that have never been seen at the show before.
James is branded an “idiot” for the ill-informed decisions he makes, while Felipe skips off intending to make his fortune with the sort of product you might consider throwing a fiver at for a last-minute Secret Santa gift.
But it’s the big-ticket items they’ve got to worry about. That’s where the money is. There are hot tubs up for grabs, barbeques, the aforementioned ride-on lawn mowers; just a few sales will rake in tens of thousands of pounds.
The editing is terrific, as countless shots of Morris dancers and livestock competitions are interlaced with the unrelenting war of words between the city boys. Customers are ignored. Parents quickly shuffle their children by. Heck, even the sheep look baffled.
Daniel’s buzzword of the day is “passion”. He’s passionate about passionately selling the passionate brand of the passionate sellers at the very passionate day of passionate selling. There’s a drinking game in there somewhere. But Daniel’s teammate Mark is equally passionate about usurping him, insisting he should be selling the big-ticket item that Daniel has secured for their team. “You don’t leave your prize pony in the stable at the end of the day,” Mark croons, leading to one of the best arguments of the series. A very panicky Felipe is the cherry on top. Place your bets people.
But it’s the sneaky secret that fuels this episode and will have you yelling at your TV screens.
“You can say whatever you want to say, but my advice would be to tell the truth,” Roisin tells a flustered James. “That might be your advice, but what do I want to do? At the end of the day, it’s important what I want to do, isn’t it?” he replies with the confidence of a man trying to stop a Baked Alaska melting on the hottest day of the year.
As revelations tumble out in front of Lord Sugar and final sales are totted up, it makes for a boardroom battle that is, finally, pretty hard to call…
See The Apprentice tonight at 9:00pm on BBC1