[Contains sinister full-face-snorkel-masks and SPOILERS!!!]
I don’t generally watch a lot of “reality” TV, but I do have a long-standing addiction to The Apprentice (UK)… partly for the schadenfreude of seeing cocky Suits get their comeuppance, and partly for the “What would I do in their place?” aspect of the more creative challenges. I usually end up picking a “favourite” or two from among the contestants… though they’re usually the ones that I like most as people, rather than the ones I think have the best chance of going the distance and winning Lord Sugar’s investment. This year I quickly latched on to children’s-clothing-boutique-owner Frances Bishop, who proved to be a sweet and funny lady, entirely devoid of the grandstanding arrogance that often afflicts candidates on this show. Sadly, she also seemed to be cursed, suffering through six consecutive losses, and never quite managing to secure a big enough sale or an impressive enough coup to ensure her safety in future “board room” showdowns… so, when Sugar press-ganged her into the Project Manager role for this week’s boat-show-based sales task*, there was a very real danger that she might be taking a lonely taxi-ride home at the end of the episode…
Although she made a couple mistakes along the way, Frances remained confident and focussed throughout the day, and led her team well, despite the “strong personalities” she was lumbered with managing and motivating. Of course, the show is edited to ramp-up the suspense and keep viewers guessing, so there was no way to know how well anyone had actually done until the final sales figures were revealed… and sometimes there’s such a slim margin between the two team’s accumulative totals, that I have to wait for their reactions to figure out who actually won… but that certainly wasn’t the case this time around, as Frances blew her competition out of the water (pun!), with a staggering £40,480.68 against the other team’s measly £188.90! This resounding result was such a shock/relief that Frances started tearing up at the table, and I must admit that I got a little damp around the eyes myself… so, serious snaps to Frances for leading her team to such a decisive victory, and also for being a member of the sub-team that secured the big-money sales. At last she’s proven that she’s highly adept, as well as adorable!
Fun fact: Despite the nautical nature of this week’s task, and the water-based “treat” the winning team enjoyed, an interview with The Nottingham Post reveals that Frances can’t actually swim! To quote: “The BBC said if you can’t swim you can’t do it but I wrote a declaration saying that if anything goes wrong I take that risk upon myself…” Which certainly throws a whole new light on that footage of her screaming/blaspheming her head off while clinging to the back of a speeding jet-ski… eep!
* Which, by a wacky co-inky-dink, happened to take place in my own rain-soaked corner of the country.