Apprentices turn to drink in closely fought final

THE Apprentice final and emotions are running high. “I’m just ecstatic,” mumbled Chris, with the enthusiasm of someone who’s agreed to take part in a telemarketing survey.

Summoned to The Langham hotel, Lord Sugar did his best to be warm and welcoming to Chris and Stella, before the inevitable return of the former candidates.

Stella chose Jo, Melissa, Christopher and, reluctantly, Paloma while Chris was reunited with Alex, Jamie, Liz and Shippy.

Final tasks are always interesting, but when Lord Sugar said this one involved one of the oldest trades in history, those of us with our minds in the gutter thought he was becoming more risqué in his old age.

Alas, it was about alcohol production, with each team told to create a new spirit-based drink, film an advert and pitch it.

For all his talk of creativity and thinking outside the box, Chris had few ideas. Thankfully he had Alex, that arbiter of cool sophistication, on side, who suggested rum infused with pomegranate (“The hot new fruit”, he declared).

So what would Alex call such an exotic blend? “I’ve been going through words I associate with Britain: bulldog, crumpets, God Save the Queen...”

Chris thought of names that sounded like dodgy sci-fi films, choosing Prism after flirting with Cube and Trilogy. Stella liked the idea of modernising a traditional drink and invented Urbon, a honey and spice infused bourbon aimed at women. Neither were particularly concerned with the taste of the drink and left that to their underlings.

So how to advertise these exciting new drinks? Stella’s original idea was slapped down by the advertising authorities: apparently two 75ml bottles of hard liquor and four shot glasses doesn’t suggest responsible drinking. Chris was more concerned with the exact placement of the pomegranates to actually think of a storyline.

With adverts done, it was down to the pitching in front of a room full of experts. Each one was preceded with some unexplained sub-Britain’s Got Talent dance acts that gave Nick plenty to raise his eyebrows over. Chris muttered robotically about how sophisticated and chic his lurid pink drink was while Stella went for some old-fashioned begging.

Back to an uncharacteristically calm boardroom where no one had a bad word to say about anyone. Chris and Stella made their final pleas but the winner seemed obvious long before Lord Sugar made his decision. After twelve long weeks, Stella was the victor.