IF there’s one place you really don’t want to see Sir Alan Sugar (other than in the role of London mayor), it’s a maternity ward – he’s not famed for his bedside manner. But for this week’s task, he called the teams to University College Hospital to discuss babies, or how to flog stuff to their parents. After previous challenges in Liverpool and Margate, the tour of the least inspiring places in Britain culminated in a day at Earl’s Court, setting up shop at the Baby Show.
Our unlikely midwife chose Lorraine and James to be team leaders, their qualification being that they are both parents. This came as something of a shock considering Lorraine seems unable to raise a purchase order, let alone a family.
With a series of products on offer, each team chose two items to sell. Given Lorraine’s track record of choosing the wrong thing, I expected her to ignore the brief, choosing bottles of vodka and nuclear warheads to sell to the yummy mummies of West London. Instead, her famed instincts seemed to be on track, as she plumped for a collapsible buggy and safety helmet for toddlers, which team-mates Kate and Howard merrily sold to the hormone-addled mothers-to-be, in a guilt trip of epic proportions. It’s a wonder they didn’t just offer to wrap each child in cotton wool for £100 a pop.
Meanwhile Debra channelled her inner spoilt brat, threatening to scream and scream until she was sick unless James got her a rocking horse, despite the fact that each one cost the same as a second-hand car. He relented, but perhaps only because he was otherwise engaged, pretending to have a baby in a home birthing pool.
His excitement continued on the day of selling, as he chatted to a group of women about their pubic bones – with a worrying amount of enthusiasm. An instant expert on maternity, he insisted that a home water birth would be so easy that the baby could just “jump out”, as his terrified audience looked like they were in desperate need of an epidural.
Still, at least he was keen, unlike Ben. After all his bravado, it seems he isn’t much of a salesman. His approach to selling the £2,000 rocking horse was to mumble robotically like a Mormon handing out leaflets on Oxford Street. As ever, desperation didn’t work, and James’ team ended up in the boardroom. After another inexplicable escape for Debra, it was Belfast boy Ben who was sent packing, hoping it wasn’t too late to accept that Sandhurst scholarship.