The Apprentice Insider meets Jim
Jim Eastwood's stint on The Apprentice was certainly eventful. Viewers were enthralled by 'Jedi Jim's supposed mind control techniques and seduced by his silky selling skills, although Lord Sugar ultimately failed to feel the force in The Final. The self-proclaimed "champion thoroughbred" put down his lightsaber and charmed the Apprentice Insider with his insights…
"I was very committed to it," Jim said about his ill-fated AMSmart business plan. "It's sort of one of those things 'for the greater good', and that's not to say that Lord Sugar's not philanthropic – he does amazing things. Maybe I thought that would appeal to his sensibilities. I didn't have any other business plans up my sleeve… none that were worthy of Lord Sugar."
A testing encounter with interviewer Margaret Mountford in The Final saw Jim's language being scrutinised – and the return of an equine analogy first trotted out by Stuart Baggs in the last series. "A lot of people were mentioning about the expressions and the clichés that I put into my sentences," explained Jim. "It's just the way I speak. So the comment about the 'one trick pony' – I don't think there's any relation to 'Herr Baggs'. I was just trying to set myself apart from people."
It could have been worse if the "champion thoroughbred" tried to dazzle Margaret with his 'trés sophisticated' concoction of Franglais instead. "The Paris Task was fantastique!" beamed Jim. "I didn't know that I spoke Del Boy French until that task. Watching it back was hilarious. I do speak a little bit of French but when I say my little bit of French to somebody and they speak back in French that's where it all starts to get messy. I lined up as many appointments as Melody with my Franglish so something must have been working!"
The Apprentice was a doubled-edged lightsaber for Jim at times. In the Biscuit Task he landed the biggest order in the show's history along with the inaugural BBIW (Biggest Bullxxxxxx in the World) Award form Lord Sugar. How did that feel? "I'm always the optimistic, so when he gave me the BBIW it was when I had just sold £1.6 million worth of biscuits by overegging a pitch. But when there are no parameters you have to give it all you have got. I took that as a compliment strangely. Maybe some people would take it as an insult. But I felt as if he was moving towards what he eventually said, in that 'you're the greatest salesman in the world'. The BBIW was the unfortunate precursor."
Also caught in two minds about the candidate's competence was Nick Hewer, before he was won over by Jim's blarney-swallowing feats in the Reinvestment Task. "It was interesting to see that Nick at the start had a perception, probably rightfully so, of who he thought I was or wasn't," Jim mused. "I'm glad I changed his mind. He's very incisive and he doesn't get many things wrong. I was glad that he'd seen something in me. It meant a lot to me actually."
Nick's iconic eyebrows were raised to optimum levels during the earlier Magazine Task when PM Jim settled on that name. "We were clutching at straws," Jim stated. "We had so many good names we thought, and then at the very end with ten seconds to go – we picked a clanger. Zoe came up with 'Hip Replacement'. I sanctioned it as Project Manager. What I could have done is said to the rest of the team 'we're going to lose because of this'. But what I tried to do was get behind it and actually in two of the three pitches we got more advertising sales than the other team."
Finally, Jim summed up what he is taking away from The Apprentice (apart from a grudge against the defiant House Number 73 from the Rubbish Task): "A process like this gives you an insatiable appetite for entrepreneurship. I've worked for people and I do bits and pieces on my own and you just want to do more and more. You really realise your potential through this process."
Watch Jim chat about the Jedi phenomenon, his firing and his thoughts on Apprentice winner Tom: