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The Apprentice 2014 - BBC1 Wednesday 9pm


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It was ultimately a shit series, finally illustrating the flaws in trying to marry entertainment to a serious partner for Sugar. That he chucked people off for not liking their plan, even that wasn't supposed to be the point of the firings is a serious flaw in of itself, but then you have tits like James who bullshitted their way through various tasks praised by sugar for 'having a bit of spirit' when it was obvious that they were proper nob ends.

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Err, no I'm not. Mark's pitch was, to the viewer, unclear. Hence, opaque. There were tons of things he'd need to give as assurances that must have been in his plan but not revealed to the viewer, like: how could he budget for professional-level consultation services? He mentioned charging a monthly £400 sub... who will pay that to a startup? etc.

Sralan poses a couple of questions like that in the boardroom, but seemed easily placated, so they must have been for show and the deets must have been clear in Mark's business plan. On the other hand, Bianca's concept was incredibly clear to the viewer so from an entertainment perspective it was a bit of a damp squid - the narrative of the episode led toward the viewer seeing a great business idea with slightly wonky pricing vs. a dull internet... thing that appeared to be based on waffle.

Like I say, it no doubt made sense behind the scenes, but it was unfulfilling TV.

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Yeah, they did keep the finances and details of Mark's plan opaque to the viewer, but that makes sense if he is the winner and they are actually going to use the business plan and don't want loads of clone companies springing up. They also seemed to think that the watching public would have no idea what SEO is and even Sugar played it as if he had no idea (which ought to be embarrassing in his position) so they may have filtered it for being boring, and/or because they want to market the service to complete internet dummies. Sugar did say in the You've Been Fired show that the head of Google UK was impressed and said he'd employ Mark if he didn't win, so that suggests that he had sensible technical specs.

Or that Google just see this as more people using their searches, or companies like Mark's paying them to get their clients' sites moved up. They're not exactly an impartial party to the whole deal.

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I wondered if Mark looked a bit dazed in the live show, as if he'd been a bit overwhelmed by winning and unsure whether people would like him. It added to my sense that maybe the arrogance is just a skim over a shyer more insecure person. He certainly hadn't bigged up his business credentials to his family, or even told them he was working or going on the show!

Yup. He's the country's biggest blagger.

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Loved it on Twitter when someone suggested a better idea would be a home phone and e-mail...

When Siralan said he was taking a gamble, I thought he was going to invest in both.

Really, the key moment was the feedback from the industry experts - and the head of Google UK saying he would snap Mark up if Amstrad didn't.

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I had to laugh when Siralan made out that going with Mark was the risk/gamble when it was clearly the safe bet. He doesn't have to lift a finger with that either whereas it sounded like he would have to actually get involved with Bianca's business, at least at the beginning. It was a no-brainer for him but made boring TV though.

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I'm sure Sugar would rather have gone with the Sarf London girl over the Aussie but don't think he had much choice looking at their proposals.

Just watched the final and prior to seeing it I would have gone with Bianca, but she made some poor choices in the end which ultimately made her proposition unviable. Fewer product lines, lower price point and a more considered market choice would have swung it her way.

She's looking to launch shortly anyway, so she'll do alright.

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Just watched the final, it was exactly as I predicted. If you abandon logic, they picked the right one.

Mark's idea is only the safest if you look at the lifetime of the business as being three years maximum, and the objective being to ensure they get their £250k back, but not bother about the business earning much beyond that. Which is of course the opposite of what they claim to be doing.

Mark's idea was picked as the winner from week one on the basis of the above, that's clear.

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Surely the biggest problem with Bianca's idea is all it needs is one of the major tights manufacturers too think, "we'll have some of that" and bring out their own range of different skin tone tights and suddenly you're directly competing with a giant with a huge amount of branding and name recognition behind it already.

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I missed the final, did we see the return of Captain Shoreditch?

Sounds like Mark is on to a winner, I would extricate myself from suralan and jump ship to Google at the earliest opportunity.

As this show has declined in recent years from business challenges with viable sharp entrepreneurs to tv fodder with dim witted idiots I think instead of fighting it they should go with it. I would love to watch each of them have to take part in an exit interview with Claude. Maybe have the possibility that if they somehow manage to impress him they get to come back as a wildcard, but otherwise I would really have loved to watch him tear into the like of Sarah, Steven and Robert and destroy their egos.

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I would love to watch each of them have to take part in an exit interview with Claude. Maybe have the possibility that if they somehow manage to impress him they get to come back as a wildcard, but otherwise I would really have loved to watch him tear into the like of Sarah, Steven and Robert and destroy their egos.

I think Claude needs his own late night behind the scenes ranting monologue show. The Apprentice: You're Fucked.

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If Google were prepared to hire that lying, cheating, backstabbing sack of air then they've gone down in my estimation. Of course, it's piss easy to say "I'll hire you if he doesn't" when you know full well it's not a promise you'll ever have to go through with....

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Finished the series, bit meh compared to previous years, but having now watched the, shudder, 'process', I'd actually quite like a special, behind-the-scenes look at Mark's attempts to get his business going. Not sure SEO sales is the most riveting TV, but seeing a company started, with all the pressures involved would surely provide enough material for a two-part special at the very least.

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