The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 4: Only Fools and Gift Horses

Ever wished your suitcase looked like something from a David Lynch film? No, us neither.

What have Del Boy and the Apprentice candidates got in common?

Well, nothing, as it happens: because whereas Del Boy could have made a fortune selling broken tat to idiots, his Apprentice counterparts couldn’t sell half price cracked ice and miles and miles of carpet tiles if their lives (or rather careers) depended on it.

In this week’s junk-flogging task, each team were assigned £1000 and told they had to buy vintage stock to sell to hipsters with no sense of perspective or irony (i.e. all hipsters) from two small shops on Brick Lane.

So, what do you think of when you hear the word vintage?

a) classic, timeless style, b) well loved antiques or c) a rusty pan stolen from a skip?

If your answer was c), chances are you’d have fitted in well in Team Phoenix, headed up by Tom. After all, why buy stock when you could rummage around in the bins behind an auction house? It’s a 100% profit margin; if you don’t get caught by the police.

Luckily for freecycling Adam, the coppers didn’t make an appearance and he made off with a couple of radiator drying racks too. He no doubt thought that until then the inhabitants of Shoreditch had been holding their pink socks, drainpipe jeans and US trucker hats against any heat sources they could find, praying that a visionary genius would one day visit them to sell some kind of drying solution.

Laura decided to put herself forward to be team leader of Sterling as she’s allegedly set up retail units before. Unfortunately for them, the rest of the team accepted her application without first checking she didn’t mean one of those pretend grocery stalls they sell in the Early Learning Centre.

She then decided, apropos of nothing, that they should ‘upcycle’ their stock in order to add value. In case you’re not sure what upcycling means: the definition is ‘painting Union flags on broken chairs’.

You’ll find it in your Apprentice dictionary of misinterpreted phrases, along with ‘don’t look a gift horse in the eye’: Duane’s stand out quote of the night. If you think that sounds whimsical and charming, please note that he was clearing a dead person’s property out of their house at the time in order to sell it to idiots wearing gigantic glasses.

Despite his team’s equally Gollum-like acquisitiveness, Team Tom didn’t have much stock when it came to open their shop- ‘Retro Station’.

No matter how they arranged their handful of items, the space still looked emptier than the candidates’ souls. It was the retail equivalent of spreading a small amount of butter over too much bread, triple spacing an essay in order to make it look longer or my spinning out this sentence when in fact the first metaphor did the job perfectly well.

Aware that a picture of their shop was being included in dictionaries to illustrate the word ‘sparse’, Team Retro hit the car boot sale, negotiating with such ferocity they were told they could have a blue glass ashtray for £1 so long as they promised to go away.

If the car boot seller thought they were pushy, she should count herself lucky she didn’t have to interact with Jane over in Team Sterling. She spent the majority of the task prowling the lane outside their shop (Vintage Gold) hassling potential customers so aggressively it was like watching Hipsters vs Predator.

The stock was almost as threatening: particularly the very odd looking suitcase they’d fitted with legs. Also, there were so many Union Jacks everywhere customers would have been forgiven for thinking they’d wandered into a version of DFS run by the British National Party, not to mention the fact that the ‘rustic’ leaves they scattered everywhere made it look like a haunted house.

Predictably, Team ‘Haunted, Leafy, Racist Version of DFS’ lost.

Team leader Laura dragged Gabrielle back into the boardroom: she’d been put in charge of upcycling despite being about as creative as- well- an Apprentice candidate. Laura also brought Jane back too due to the fact that she only made £10 despite intimidating the shorts-and-tweed-jacket wearing, Vanilla Ice-haired inhabitants of Brick Lane so much we almost felt sorry for them.

Apparently Lord Sugar can’t forgive a lack of sales ability (even though the prize has changed and now has very little to do with sales) meaning Jane was fired.

It’s a shame really: we’ll miss looking at her pouty, disappointed face. It was the expression equivalent of a dead kitten, or a harrowing, bitter argument with your spouse after a night out.


The Apprentice is on BBC1, Wednesdays at 9pm. You can catch up on iPlayer here.

Follow Hilary on Twitter: @Hilary_W

Related Posts:

The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 1
The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 2
The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 3

About Hilary Wardle
Hilary is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes for a wide range of websites, magazines and newspapers, including Buzzfeed, MSN, The Poke, Chortle, the Guardian and the Independent. She specialises in arts and entertainment, comedy, video games and viral content. Contact her at

6 Responses to The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 4: Only Fools and Gift Horses

  1. Andrew says:

    Still cracking up at the mental image of Dwayne (as I think we should know him) avoiding eye contact with a horse he’s been given. Classic Apprentice.

  2. FuTeffla says:

    I think I am the only person in the galaxy who liked the suitcase with legs. I think I liked it just because it reminded me of the Luggage from the Discworld series.

    • Hilary Wardle says:

      I love you for that comment.

      I wonder if it also contained a single pair of freshly washed underwear smelling faintly of lavender?

  3. Benjamin says:

    With all the focus on Duane’s “Don’t look a gift horse in the eye.” phrase, everyone seems to have overlooked his hilarious/cringe-worthy “big chair/little chair sales pitch”.
    He does seem more likeable than most of the other candidates though, bless him.

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