The Apprentice: Coach Tours

“Even the walking damned defend their land.”

Paul Shapera

If I have learned anything this week, it is never, ever to get on a coach with an Apprentice candidate.

This week’s divinely-appointed task is fairly self-explanatory: run a day coach trip from London. So I’m thinking, you know, Stonehenge, Oxford, the south coast…

“Kent,” says someone from Tenacity, “let’s do a history tour.”

Right. Kent. That well-known historical county that everyone wants to visit.

This pretty much sets the tone for the episode as a whole, which is one of the funniest I’ve ever seen on The Apprentice. The candidates prove to be as incompetent and idiotic running a coach trip as they are about everything else. We are treated by Summit to an edition of Felipe’s Fifteen Fun Facts about Oxford (did you know there are more pigs than people in Oxfordshire? No, neither did I) and some sandwiches that looked like nothing anyone would ever want to buy, ever. And that was the winning team.

Do you want to hear about Tenacity? Of course you want to hear about Tenacity. First off, Mouthy Robert treats 25 paying tourists to a three-hour bout of “Wheels on the Bus” and “One Man Went To Mow”, by the end of which everyone looks like they want to murder someone. Then, upon arrival at the oh-so-famous Bever Castle, Gemma, who is supposed to be tour-guiding, points out a “photo of Henry VIII” for everyone’s viewing pleasure, and fails to answer someone’s question about what happened to Anne Boleyn. C’mon, Gemma. You could at least have made it up like most tour guides do.

To finish up this hilarious litany of errors, the gang get lost with their tourists in Canterbury with about fifteen minutes to go before the cathedral they are supposed to be visiting closes. If you’ve ever been to Canterbury, you’ll know that getting lost there is really quite tricky. There are signposts and everything. Or, you know, Google Maps would have done it.

(Are these people serious? Like, actual businesspeople? Have they ever planned anything in their lives? I have a very strong suspicion that they wouldn’t achieve even what little they did achieve if they weren’t on telly: 60% discounts at tourist attractions and the like can’t be the norm, and they’re probably not down to Australian charm or whatever either.)

Despite the fact that this is quite literally the worst task yet on The Apprentice, ALS forgoes his Slap Bet powers for once (presumably the producers asked him if he couldn’t please stop firing all the amusing candidates) and fires only the unfortunate Sanjay, although he doesn’t miss the opportunity to remind everyone that he is still the most powerful despot on reality television, etc. It’s all starting to sound a bit hollow, actually.

I can’t stop watching it, though. Its awfulness is somehow addictive, which is good news for ALS and his cronies, although bad news for everyone else.

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