Firstly, I have to say as an overall comment on the show, it seems to have lost the mojo it had in earlier seasons. All too often I found myself thinking it was more a case of who was the best of a bad bunch each week, and which team actually deserved to lose less than the other one. I think the fact the eventual winner was on the losing team seven times speaks volumes (though being no statto, I've no idea how past champions have fared losing wise. I would hazard a guess they didn't get beat as many times). Anyway I digress. Onto the final.
I still find it hard to understand why Mark made it all the way. His business plan was more of an "I'm doing this job at the moment. Will you just pay me to do it for you?" type affair. And no one seemed to ever pick him up on his at times brash assertions like the glaring one in the final where he simply said "I know more about online marketing than anyone". Excuse me? Really? The same way you know London very well as you've lived here for two years (one of his earlier equally ridiculous boasts in the week they needed to navigate their way round town to buy various items). At times, the guy comes across as nothing more than a bullshitter and a braggart. Someone who will happily conduct a character assassination on his fellow contestants or slyly manipulate his way into a more favourable role on any given task. So hang on, I should stop there. After all, some might say he has everything it takes to be a success in business. But, if that's the case - at what cost?
Bianca by contrast, was worthy of her place, given that the two front runners for me prior to their firings, Katie and Roisin, were no longer around. However, once she decided that her tights were going to cost what may as well have been a million pounds a pair, it was clear that, despite Mark's business plan being vastly inferior in so far as it's just taking a business model that has been out there for years and convincing Lord Sugar that he was God's gift to online marketing, Bianca was heading for the runners up spot.
Yes, she did try to do a u-turn by suggesting that maybe they could be flogged at £6 a pair rather than the ridiculous £35 she first came up with, but by then it was too late. Mark, who, to be fair, can sell (but was told off for lying about his prowess in online advertising earlier in the process), had done enough to win the prize. That said, one can't help thinking again at how lame the show has become. In the past we've had inventors and people with start up ideas that were genuinely original. What have we got now? Someone who has simply taken the business he is in at the moment and asked Lord Sugar to invest because, wait for it, he has a unique selling point. That's right folks - he's going to make it a personalised service! Who knew that such a thing existed? (Er, pretty much everyone who works in the service industry and is any good at what they do, that's who).
The hairdresser who allegedly pledged to spend £3,000 a month on Mark's service (that's an awful lot of haircuts before you make a profit) just to get onto page one of the Google research results would surely want more than the once a month visit that Mark was pledging to put into his SLA or whatever he's going to call it. Why, for three grand a month I’d want to see you at least every ten days, probably more until I realised you're actually not offering anything that isn't already out there - and probably charging me a lot more for the privilege (I know businesses that spend c. £400-500 a month for a similar service).
All in all, I deleted the show from catch up feeling pretty underwhelmed. I was genuinely happy for Tom the Inventor when he won. He was a bit quirky, a bit different, yet fought his corner because he was able to bring something new and innovative to the table. Dr. Leah Totton, the Irish cosmetic skincare queen, also had a bit about her in terms of business prowess. She felt credible, likeable and knowledgeable without ever coming out with crass statements like "I know more about cosmetic surgery and skincare than anyone else in the universe ever" - something that, had Mark been in that business, he’d possibly have rolled out week after week in between times of belittling and denigrating his fellow contestants. Still it's over now, and, not only does Mark have a £250,000 investment to look forward to, it would seem judging by Ricky Martin and Dr Leah's cameos on the after show that free orange spray tans and Botox treatments are up for grabs too, if he fancies them. Seriously what have they done to themselves? Leah's forehead was as stiff as a board and they both looked like extras from a Tango ad.
Apprentice, you need to find your way back to the heady heights of earlier years or quietly fade into the 'where are they now' distance, a bit like I predict Mark will within a year of being with Sugar. He talks a good game, but he's in a game that already has plenty of established players and won’t find that your average hairdresser or builder really has three grand a month to throw his way in return for once a month tea and biscuits. Maybe Nick Hewer has seen the light and bailed out at the right time. As a viewer, I'm seriously considering doing similar next season, although if one thing remains about the show it's the fact that the more and more inept the contestants become each year, the harder it becomes not to just switch on to see who is making a total arse of themselves on any given week.