Blood on the beach as Apprentices get nasty

The great mystery of The Apprentice is when everyone actually sleeps. After last week’s midnight challenge, they were this time woken at 5.30am. Summoned to Heathrow, it was an elaborately cruel way to announce their new task: to create and pitch a new beach accessory.

In the ever-inspiring confines of Terminal 5, the teams had a few problems coming up with ideas. “We haven’t solidified our product choice,” said Paloma, euphemising as only an Apprentice candidate can. After much squabbling (project manager Laura’s leadership style is best described as “incompetent supply teacher”) the girls unhappily settled on Joanna’s idea of a book stand. “It just makes reading that bit much more easier,” she explained. One wonders what books Joanna has been reading.

The boys did slightly better, thanks to City banker Stella being catapulted into their team. As team leader she got to showcase many talents: negotiator, peacekeeper, babysitter. She even got to be a model as the boys gallantly volunteered her services to flog their product. Going shopping, they assured her they would choose something classy. “Do you have any bikinis with tassels?” they enquired.

Their new invention was a hybrid of a cool box and beach towel: the cüüli. Why the umlauts? “It makes it trendy, it makes it cool” insisted Alex. Alex is currently unemployed.

With prototypes produced, it was time to pitch to three retailers, including World Duty Free and Boots. The boys, rather dramatically, announced that the “age of the beach towel was over”. Not to be outdone, the girls baffled the experts with talk of “comfortability” and giving the customer “consumer happiness”.

Alas, the customer will never get to experience this, as all three retailers declined to place orders for the Book Eeze, a first in the history of The Apprentice. At this point the bitching and bickering went nuclear, as accusations and recriminations bounced round the boardroom.

Laura blamed Joanna for forcing through a bad idea, Joanna claimed Laura had scuppered their chances by denying Boots exclusivity while Lord Sugar’s new sidekick Karren Brady wondered whatever happened to sisterhood.

Joining Laura and Joanna in the firing line was Joy. Rarely has someone been less appropriately named but her major crime seemed to be not shouting as loudly as the rest of them. It was enough for Lord Sugar though; he accused her of contributing nothing to the team and hailed her a black cab. Perhaps time for a relaxing beach holiday.