The Apprentice: High-speed hijinks – S16 ep 8

The candidates screech into Silverstone for this week's episode of The Apprentice. Who will make it to the next race?

Warning: spoilers ahead

The Lady of the Landline/Lord Sugar’s Alexa reminds the candidates to pack their toothbrushes for this week’s challenge when she calls at 4am.

They’re going to Aston Martin HQ in Warwickshire. Each team must plan a corporate away day including a tour, food and drink and an experience. Once again, participants can ask for a refund if the experience isn’t deemed up to scratch.

Here are the teams.

Team infinity + Karren: Harpreet (project manager), Akeem, Aaron and Brittany.

Team Diverse + Tim: Stephanie (project manager), Kathryn, Nick and Akshay.

Steph’s corporate hospitality background gives her an easy ‘in’ for project manager while Harpreet and Brittany fight it out on the other team. Harpreet says she knows all of the candidates’ skillsets and will place them appropriately which seems to win them over.   

As for the experiences, Diverse are going for the immersive museum tour with a racing track experience in an Aston Martin Vantage, rounded off with a giant Scalextric.

Infinity plump for a trackside tour with a pitstop experience and a virtual reality experience which, in actual reality, isn’t a virtual reality experience. It’s a motion simulator. Brittany has concerns that the high prices on their premium package will cost them the win.

Great expectations

Both teams bid high with their corporate clients. Stephanie jumps the starting pistol at £750 per person. The client goes way down to £200, with Stephanie and Kathryn flabbergasted and keen to push up, only to call chicken when the client says they can spend no more and have to walk away, making the negotiating pair cave to a paltry £245 per head. Tim highlights their key error. They didn’t spend time talking to the customer and finding out what their expectations were for the package, working together to come to a deal. Instead, they kept trying to peddle the existing package at a price that was too high for the client.

On Team Infinity it’s a £600 kick-off, which the client thinks is ‘a bit high’. They suggest £250-£300 – for that, they’d have to get rid of the ‘VR’, which they probably should have. They agree at £310 per head for the whole package.

Over at food, Nick and Akshay are after a kung pao chicken and brownie combo. The client wants £16 a head, Akshay tries for £10 and Nick manages to secure it at £13 – on condition that they do the washing up.

The others have gone proper luxury: butter chicken and tiramisu. They’re paying twice the price at £26 a head. Much like the fish tacos in the fishing challenge, Harpreet is paying more for a memorable premium product to wow her guests. Will it work again? Well, it’s bound to because tiramisu is the best dessert known to humankind. Tell me I’m wrong.  

Track and race

Early into Stephanie and Kathryn’s tour, the pair get lost trying to trace the few stops they’re covering on their tour. In fact, they get so immersed in trying to find where they are that the guests feel as if they’re leading themselves. It’s a lightning-quick experience, getting round the whole museum in 35 minutes.

Aaron and Brittany appear to be doing a great job on their tour guiding and, if I may say so, make a lovely team.

Rice with a side of chilli

Harpreet ‘makes Gordon Ramsay look soft’ (Karren’s words, not mine) as she maintains a super-strict kitchen, preparing enough rice to feed a few hundred families. The relationship between her and Akeem is more strained than Greek yoghurt throughout the day. I can’t help but feel that she paired herself with Akeem as he wouldn’t challenge her, letting her lead in the kitchen and in the negotiations.

It’s a comedy caper over at Team Diverse where Nick and Akshay don’t have the right hob turned on, the table isn’t set when the guests arrive (though they are half an hour early), they misplace the plates and take the dining trolleys into the dining room by accident. ‘Garnish is a luxury if we have time,’ says Nick, who clearly doesn’t respect the power of a sprig of mint.

Despite a cracking performance, Brittany isn’t feeling confident about the final boardroom. She’s still worried about the team’s choice to opt for the fancy details. The narrator says ‘refunds recorded and profits processed’ before the boardroom showdown – does that mean there are refunds ahead?

The last pitstop

Lord Sugar has clearly got some of the candidates squirming as they avoid eye contact with him when he descends on the boardroom.

You know how this goes by now, so I’ll just jump into those final tallies.

Team Infinity

Ticket price: £3100
Spent: £1283
Photo sales: £109

Total: £1926
Refunds: £0
Profit: £1926

Team Diverse
Ticket price: £2450
Spent: £895.30
Photo sales: £145

Total: £1554.70
Refunds: £490 (not the luxury experience promised)
Profit: £1209.70

Team Infinity wins! Karren plays the room with some hesitation and notes of ambiguous feedback, ‘All of it fantastic,’ she says to the relieved Infinity. Replacing speed with height, the victors do the Skywalk Experience at Tottenham Stadium.

Back in the boardroom, it’s revealed that Infinity’s client had £3,000 available budget. Ooft. Nick, who Sugar compares with Manuel from Fawlty Towers, shows a catalogue of facial expressions throughout.

In a shocker from Sugar, he brings all four of them back to the boardroom, as he feels Steph will blame hospitality for the failure of the task even though the negotiations and immersive tour were sub-par too. It would also be the second week in a row that Nick and Akshay are the chosen two. The human shields, in many ways.

That said, Karren rightly points out that Nick has only been PM once, when Lord Sugar forced him to. ‘What actually is he good at?’, she asks of Akshay, whose greatest success to date is coming up with Infinity’s team name.   

It’s with regret from Lord Sugar, and a mournful segment of the British public, that Nick leaves the process. It’s a shame as I reckon he would have been outstanding (for all of the right or wrong reasons) on next week’s task.

The house shrieks as the invincible Akshay returns. By feline standards, he still has four lives left. He may very well win at this rate.

Next week: TV Selling

The remaining seven hopefuls will be selling wares on a TV shopping channel – live. Unmissable stuff. Join us next week for the recap.

Watch the whole episode on BBC iPlayer.  

Catch up on the rest of the series

The Apprentice: Hardly a cruise for the candidates – series 16 episode 1 review

The Apprentice: Oops, they did it again – S16, ep 2

The Apprentice: Shaken and stirred with plenty of zingers – S16, ep 3

The Apprentice: For goodness’ hake – S16, ep 4

The Apprentice: Gaming, blaming, shaming – S16 ep 5

The Apprentice: Ask and you shall be ripped off – S16, ep 6

The Apprentice: No peas in these pods – S16 ep 7

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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