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Episode 3: Cloche Encounters of the Thrift Kind

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 21:55 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Can you believe it boiled down to just £7.51 difference between the two teams?

But what if came down to just one penny? That would have made Felicity and Susan's miniscule top hat discount look like the masterstroke of the century. It's fair to say that the close/'cloche' nature of the result, which led to Gavin being fired, was almost as surprising as Nick Hewer's revelation that he has frequented a Top Hat emporium with the King of Tonga!

Lord Sugar's Discount Buying task gave Susan's Team Venture and Gavin's ill-fated Team Logic the chance to display their negotiating skills. Natasha was more fearful of displaying something else though, having previously told her roommates that she is unable to locate her underwear. Buying instinct, not Basic Instinct, is what this task was about.

The "Irish bulldozer of charm" Jedi Jim certainly used 'the force' to his advantage, deploying his mind tricks to knock tenner after tenner off the fillet steak order. He even managed to secure a hug as well as a discount from one shop owner later in the day.

Susan should have used reverse psychology - and claimed the silk was for someone totally irrelevant, they would pay by Postal Order, and drag out the transaction as long as possible. You never know.

On the subject of clangers, Gavin's trip to a dry cleaners in search of a top hat, Natasha's attempt to secure a competitor's procurement list and the confusion between a ten inch cloche and a green house were all reasons why Team Logic was ultimately doomed.

The biggest moment of delusion during the task stemmed from Natasha's attempts to purchase a brass sign. She stated that £20 was the "absolute uber amount" she had, yet within seconds was offering £40… and then £60. When Vincent stepped in with a successful bid of £80, Natasha retorted: "I think I could've driven the price down further!" To paraphrase Yazz and the Plastic Population – the only way was up with those negotiating tactics!


The boardroom encounter with Lord Sugar left Gavin heading for the exit, but do you agree with the decision to fire him? Who else would you have fired? What was your moment of the show? Don't be shy about sharing your comments.

And finally, does anyone know exactly why Nick was shopping for top hats with the King of Tonga?



  • Comment number 1.

    An interesting show tonight - don't understand why Sir Alan didn't fire Melody also - in the company I work for I'm certain that would of been a serious breach of Standards of Business Conduct and Gross Misconduct !!! Asking a rival to disclose their suppliers ????

  • Comment number 2.

    Alan has been coming out with some amazing quotes this series, I've really been enjoying it.
    Melody drives me insane, Zoe over pronounces everything and doesn't make sense.
    There were more deserving candidates to be fired than Gavin or Vincent.

  • Comment number 3.

    I didn't know Zoe existed until tonight!!

  • Comment number 4.

    In your fired they wanted to know who Vincent reminded them of . Simple - Leslie Phillips !

  • Comment number 5.

    Should have called 118.

  • Comment number 6.

    Can someone please tell me if the aim of the game is to destroy your fellow comrades and dispose of the project manager in order to score brownie points? Team Logic ran around like headless chickens and didn’t have a clue tonight! Gavin lacked leadership and control over the flock and this empowered Vincent to undermine everyone! I’m sorry but………… Vincent should have been ‘fired’. If he were in charge of a company…… he would have no staff to manage the business!

  • Comment number 7.

    Which restaurant did the winning team go to tonight in Covent Garden?
    It looked great.

  • Comment number 8.

    The whole lot are simply too full of themselves and trying to out do eachother rather than work together , I mean come any of us proper eastenders know - in order to negotiate and look for the best price u get 5 quotes n then go for the middle quote then get that retailer to drop there price to the two lowest quotes thats how negotiating is done , how simple n easy this task was - did u notice how they were using a to z and maps over satnav , n none of them even used a iphone app or a laptop to identify n get an idea of the prices or to locate the cheap areas , n has they used there brains which they not got - this task would have been done within 4 hours with all items and no penalties ... top hat come on u can get one for around £35.00 pounds ... lol = Lord sugar next time get people on the show who have truly grafted from the eastend not wanna be,s

  • Comment number 9.

    Good show - not as good as the one when they went to Marrakech market and tried to buy halal meat but still good. Why do they always seem so stupid - aren't they meant to be business people. I teach kids who could do a better job then them!

  • Comment number 10.

    Notinfriday - It was Natasha who made that call to the rivals and not Melody.

    monsieur_mangetout - what has been your favourite quote from Lord Sugar so far?

    Claire - you're not the first to say that, but what did you make of her once she emerged from the shadows?

    zergon - I haven't heard that one before, but many have said Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses!

  • Comment number 11.

    I think the king was buying a top hat for the Royal Wedding? And as for tonight...where to start.... Vincent I would fire you immediately.... for treating ladies well i think so far they are ladies..like some under qualified candidates... Your way of negotiating can only go one way up and up and as for trying to take control in the real working environment you would not get away with that ... poor Gavin.. I bet he wished he could have fired you !!!! but i suppose being overpowered by a Zoro lookalike meant Lord Sugar could not see any strength left in you ...wee shame

  • Comment number 12.

    Ben Rawson-Jones - Sorry, I stand corrected regarding Melody/Natasha. I also agree with you about Mickey from Only Fools...!

  • Comment number 13.

    raajkp - I appreciate your comments but the show is UK-wide so your comment of "I mean come any of us proper eastenders know...." may not be relevent. The show is not open to Eastenders only as far as I am aware. Some of the contestants have no local knowledge of London (all having no knowledge would probably be best if we are to start with a level playing field)...

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Vincent looks like the bad guy in Dogtanian & the three Muskahounds!

  • Comment number 15.

    You're from Belgium, so that's where the waffle comes from comment, cracked me up!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Just realised if you look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice/series7/candidates.shtml Melody and Natasha look very similar..... excuses made (boardroom style ?)....

  • Comment number 17.

    Don't the candidates know, the best way to find out what something is is just to GOOGLE!!! ALL THAT MONEY THEY HAVE, surely someone has an iPhone?

  • Comment number 18.

    It makes me laugh to read all these comments saying "ooo it's easy...just use an iphone to find out" or "Googles it....simples" and all that non-sense.

    These tools are clearly not allowed, I have never seen them used in a single episode since the apprentice started, surely people can figure out that it isnt simply a coincidence that no-one has 'figured out' to use the internet for information yet??

    Also before you start saying "I would have sent everone off in a different direct to get an item each...." thats not allowed either, they clearly have to stay in a maximum of two teams when they are out on task.

    These rules are in places to make the tasks more logistically challenging, and, i'm sure, to make the candidates look stupid......it makes for good viewing!

  • Comment number 19.

    Karren Brady: Vice President of West Ham United.
    West Ham United: £80 million in debt and climbing, needing an injection of capital of at least £20 million just to keep afloat.
    West Ham United: 20th in the Premier League with the 8th highest wage bill.

    Am I the only person who thinks she is in no position to comment on any Apprentice candidates' buying decisions?

  • Comment number 20.

    Gavin had to go because it was his fault his team were not organised. He didn't know how to control, motivate or manage people. He didn't seem to have any common sense and couldn't work under pressure.

    That nurk Gavin will have to go after providing some more entertainment.

    Natasha's idea to get info from a competitor was good. No harm in trying, it's only a couple of phone calls and may have helped with a few items or at least told them what a cloche was. The people that say doing this is bad business practice just don't understand the cut throat world of business.

    Have to say I tipped Zoe from the audition clips. Was getting worried as she was quiet or edited out. Not sure she understands that this years apprentice is all about showing just how good you are every week. Get into that radar and stay there!

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course I meant that nurk Vincent or D'Artagnan or that bloke from fools and horses or whatever you want to call him because he can't hear!

  • Comment number 22.

  • Comment number 23.

    Does anyone think that Vincent looks like Zlatan Ibrahimović?????

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Something seems to have gone wrong with your Boardroom Appearances count on the Candidates page. You have a total of 13 appearances from 3 episodes. Surely some mistake!

  • Comment number 26.

    Karren Brady (the great MM before her),Nick Hewer and Sir Alan have done a great job on this series. To have a blogger like "byebyehammers" hammering Karren Brady out with football pain is so off....the Apprentice is not football! ....and Alan Sugar is worth £1 billion and he made losses at Spurs.....what Karren Brady has not made at West Ham is not unusual...football makes losses...if you support WHU, what a pain you are for Karren, poor woman!

    bye bye byebyehammers...and be a bit nicer to Karren

  • Comment number 27.

    I mean, the 'fish out of water' effect always makes me laugh - to see these people who are so-called 'brilliant' in their fields have no dynamism when it comes to the tasks. It never fails to surprise me.
    I always enjoy the 'buy ten items' task the best because it's not the easiest and the candidates come apart frequently!

  • Comment number 28.

    No The Apprentice is not football, it's business. Football is business too....didn't you know? And as I understand it, Karren Brady's "day job" is to run West Ham in a competent way. My interpretation of "competent" includes "solvent". Do you think Alan Sugar would disagree?

    Just to correct you (again), Alan Sugar bought Spurs for £8million and sold it a few years later for £50 million....if that's your idea of "a loss" then I understand why you find Karren Brady's business performance for West Ham so impressive.

    Also to clear one thing up I am not a West Ham fan, never have been. I am however (or was) an Apprentice fan, although I'm not sure I will be if they continue to field proven incompetents as "experts".

  • Comment number 29.

    I agree, all of this season's candidates seem like they're all just waiting for each other to trip up, and seem really nasty, especially Zoe in next episode's preview. Susan is the only one trying to be genuinely nice, but I guess nice doesn't get rewarded in business!

  • Comment number 30.

    why didnt anyone stop someone in the street and ask them what a cloche was?!!! so frustrating

  • Comment number 31.

    There was an item never discussed, began with P, like pirsopis ?? would love to know what was required as I never heard of it, and that Annoys ME.

  • Comment number 32.

    What I didnt understand was the LUXURY tea.. wouldnt the Savoy have loved that unique tea ? wasnt part of the task to get QUALITY items .. then Lord Sugar seemed to change the rules of the game and by the board room was talking about Pound Shops...

  • Comment number 33.

    guardone - the item was a 'physalis'. You're not alone in not hearing about it - as the candidates were also baffled! A physalis sounds like something sinister but it's actually a type of small orangey looking fruit that's used to decorate desserts.

  • Comment number 34.

    The correct approach would have been to source the standard products through a hospitality supplier, and they would have probably had a clue about the other items specific to high end hotels. What was the issue with asking the Savoy what the items were?

  • Comment number 35.

    OK, given that using the Internet or a phone app. isn't allowed, who said anything about a library? As deeram11 wrote: "why didnt anyone stop someone in the street and ask"? Like a greengrocer for instance. Who would probably also know what a cloche is. It was a farce that neither team managed to source all the list never mind get so ripped off. But that Gavin's team lost by a few quid was crazy! It was such an easy list! I would have liked to have seen what the Savoy guy had to say about the results.


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