Dear The Final Four, (BBC1, Sunday (ooh, that’s new)@9pm)
Look, I know I promised to deliver my Unifying Theory of The Apprentice by now, but there’s been a problem. It turns out that the Brian Cox I was taking science advice from is not Professor Brian Cox, no, instead I’ve been learning about the laws of thermodynamics, quantum theory and fancy equations from Brian Cox the Scottish actor. He’s a lovely guy and a talented actor, but he knows bugger all about science. He knows a lot about the Nazis for some reason, but that’s no help at all. Why it took me four weeks to figure that out I cannot explain.
The 'other' Brian Cox heads to a rather suspicious party, he's not a scientist.
Any way, I’ve released him now and abandoned my efforts for the time being – I also realised that science requires cause and effect, consistency and logic, and the fact that L’Alan can (and will) ignore anything and everything he chooses in order to select who he likes means that none of those will ever be present in this process. For evidence of this please see almost every other series of your show where invariably the strongest candidate has managed to avoid being hired and on many occasions managed to dodge the final altogether.
If you’re interested, the science I did do would see Tom win. Not just because he’s so lovely (I only attached 10% of the overall importance to loveliness), but because he’s genuinely superior to the others. I’ll explain more in a bit.
So I'm like, basically, in actual fact, a tropical bird, yeah?
So, on to the important stuff, and I was sad to see Natasha go, not because I have any sympathy for her you understand, but because every pantomime needs a villain and that’s a role she filled with aplomb. In fact it’s the only role she filled. I find it difficult to believe that anyone has ever contributed less to anything and somehow made it so far. Everyone was really very generous to her on her firing, even Susan for some reason, but the fact of the matter is that she has done nothing of note during the entire process. More than that, the girl (if indeed she is human) can’t even speak. Nothing that comes out of her mouth means anything at all – it’s a series of words, often only vaguely connected, and seldom more than just a couple of bits of management jargon topped off with a couple of ‘yeahs’. More often it’s just repeating what the last person to speak said, but putting a couple of other words in like ‘really’ or ‘basically’ to make it sound like she’s got a thought that isn’t pure evil swimming around in that fringe she calls a head. I’ve got a mate who often repeats what people say, well, I say a mate, he’s a three-year old, and I say he, it’s a parrot – and I wouldn’t trust him with my business (he was declared bankrupt in 2010). So yes, she has the speech patterns of a parrot, and similar business acumen to boot.
Air Quotes. Only used by twats. 'Allegedly'.
Perhaps more importantly she doesn’t know how to use air quotes. Maybe she thought it would make her endearing like Joey out of Friends, but when we saw this exchange in the boardroom…
“I did do a degree, BA Hons, in concentrated evil, blame shifting and pulling a face like you’ve just tasted something that’s gone off in the presence of someone you really don’t want to offend, but I didn’t ‘claim’ to have expertise in it.”
…it was pretty nailed on that here we have a total dickhead. Using air quotes is bad enough, but using them wrongly? Totally ‘unforgivable’.
It should also be mentioned that this was the clearest cut task of the series. The right team won, and for the right reasons – yes, their history is more than a little shonky, and yes they missed a trick by not calling their menu the Pie Chart (TM Instantly Forgotten), but they nailed this task and it made such a refreshing change to know that one team had made it through competence – gives you real hope!
So, we’re now down to a final four, and whilst I might not have science on my side I’ve still got ludicrously strong (and often unfounded) opinions about everything, so please print off this guide and give it to Air Marshall Sugar before Sundays final, it’ll help him make the right decision.
So, we’re left with (in order of how successful they’ve been)
Like many gingers, Helen can often be found in the shade and near orange objects that detract from her copper top. She might be pretty, but she's 'one of them'
Name: Helen ‘Touch of Class’ Milligan
Record: An astonishing Won 10 Lost 1 – 1 Boardroom appearance
Strengths: She’s a very nice person, but not afraid of confrontation. Business wise she’s generally very astute and helps to get the best out of others. When she does sexy photo shoots she looks a lot like Shania Twain.
Weaknesses: Shania Twain hasn’t been famous for a long time. When she makes a wrong decision she makes it so wrong that it almost goes the whole way round the cycle to being right again. She doesn’t seem to be very creative. I think she’s ginger – you have to be wary of the gingers.
Business Plan: She might have considered opening a school for witches (not that she’s evil, she just looks like she might be a witch), or acting as a go-between for businesses and wholesalers (aka ‘a delivery business’), but I think her business plan will be to let Tom run a business and she’ll be his PA cum Boss and possibly wife.
Should Finish: Second, she’s lovely and certainly talented, but she’s not an entrepreneur – she doesn’t have ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is (now that’s how you use air quotes!)
Moments in Time - If Susan had just leant forward and punched Natasha in the face the world would have been a safer place...
Name: Susan ‘That’s so unfair’ Ma
Record: A very respectable Won 7 Lost 4 and 3 Boardroom appearances
Strengths: Before the ‘Final Five’ show I would have really struggled here, I’d probably have said that she’s a great punchbag for teammates to take their aggression out on (which remains true). However, we’re now all wiser and she’s obviously got great big bucketloads of drive and determination and no shortage of business nous – anyone who can pay off their mum’s mortgage by the time they’re 21 (did she mention she’s 21?) is doing something right. Also she’s run her own business before and she speaks Chinese which can’t hurt these days.
Weaknesses: Everyone who spends any time with her, no matter how nice they are, ends up wanting to drown her in a canal. She’s far and away the most immature on the show, her regular cries of “That’s so unfair!” remind me of my 8-year-old niece being told she can’t have another cigarette just yet, and it feels like only a matter of time before she claims “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?”. She also didn’t take the opportunity to stick the knife in to Natasha who so blatantly hated her she would have actually laughed in her face if Susan had been fired. Literally. In her face.
Business Plan: Almost certainly something in the world of fairness. Maybe an iPhone app that will determine whether something is fair or ‘so’ unfair, possibly a consultancy that will arbitrate on disputes both in the boardroom and on the playground.
Should Finish: Fourth. It’s nothing personal, but all of the other contestants are a similar age to me, so them being more successful I can just about take. At 21 she’s already achieved more than me and therefore should be barred from further success until I’ve got a piece. You might call it bitterness, I call it, well actually yes, that’s what it is. It’s bitterness.
Do not look directly into his eyes - even a still of Jim can control you
Name: Jim ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for’ Eastwood
Record: A loss leading Won 5 Lost 6 with 2 Boardroom appearances, both as PM
Strengths: The charm, oh the charm. It has worked on absolutely everyone – even Nick clearly got a bit of a man crush on him last week, and you could see Karen trying to figure out ways she could explain to her husband why she was on national TV having sex with Jim in a Mexican kitchen – I’d go with chilli fumes. He’s a strong decision maker who likes to get others involved. Seems like a very nice guy. Oh yeah, nearly forgot, he can control people with his mind. That’s an important one.
Weaknesses: He makes the wrong decision so often it would appear to be a hobby of his – and he tries to make each wrong decision more wrong than the last, like he’s in competition with himself. Sometimes he pours the charm on a little thick and all that serves to do is weaken the strength of his argument – it makes him seem like he’s selling snake oil when he’s actually got fair and valid points. There’s a 50/50 chance he might be evil.
Business Plan: It could be to build a giant space station and rule the galaxy, but I doubt it. I think his plan is to set up a shell company (front, not a company that sells shells) and use it to get close to Sugar Daddy, within a year he’ll be adopted, within two years he’ll be running the empire, within 5 years Sugar will be granulated – dead in a freak ‘dramatic entrance’ accident and Jim will own the lot.
Should Finish: Third, you simply can’t hire him because as Joaquin Phoenix once said “If you dance with the devil the devil don’t change – the devil changes you.”
Tom's cats - Emperor Palpatine and Seven of Nine - not only keep him company, but talk to him when he's lonely
Name: Tom ‘Lovely Tom’ Pellereau
Record: A shameful Won 3 (all when paired with Helen) Lost 8 with 3 Boardroom appearances
Strengths: You mean other than his loveliness? In all the important areas he is the stand out candidate – he’s creatively the best and logistically he seldom makes an error. Where he really comes in to his own though, is his foresight. He should be called Mystic Tom. Whoever he’s been teamed up with, and whatever the task, Tom always sees the pitfalls that await, marks them clearly and warns all his teammates who immediately head directly towards them and without hesitation dive face first onto the massive failure spikes he told them about.
Weaknesses: He has a tendency to listen to – and be influenced by – utter imbeciles, which explains his losing record. Can be too quiet in his opinions and often too nice when confronted, we’ve only seen his claws come out on Melody, and that was pretty much an open goal. Is dyslexic, which is fine up until he misreads a sign “Do not feed the bears” as “Feed the bears donuts” and you find yourself a business partner light. Looks sufficiently like Michael Sheen as to be mistaken for him – not a problem now, but if Sheen gets a crazed fan… Knows almost nothing about Columbus.
Business Plan: Battlestar Galacticat. A theme park for cats based around the cult sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. If successful this would lead to other sci-fi based theme parks for pets: HamStar Trek; Quantum Leopard; Doctor Whorse and ultimately Flash Gordogs.
Should Finish: Top of the pile. He’s the obvious winner and the only one who would obviously make a fortune (or destroy the universe trying)
So there you go, make sure this is seen by the proper authorities and my instructions are followed.
I’m going to miss you
PS – Seriously now, why aren’t you honest when people like Natasha leave? Why not say “She was f**king useless” I’d respect you more.