By TellysGoneWrong @tellyswrong
Lords, it turns out, are not the eccentric, aloof and aristocratic breed that they used to be. Privileged, maybe. Wealthy, yes. But disconnected from reality? No. Certainly not the one’s featured last week on Meet the Lords, BBC 7pm. It turns out that around a third of the Lords are, in fact, Ladies and that, far from being born into the role because one of their ancestors stormed some castle in Northumberland, most of them have reached the position through some level of merit. Indeed, the 92 hereditary peers in the ‘Unelected Second House’ must actually now be elected and can only put themselves forward when one of their predecessors dies (which is rare) or retires, which is even rarer.
The House of Lords, however, is starting to burst at the seams as those who have attained a life peerage ‘on merit’, which can mean many things, from performing important work on behalf of the community, to donating a vast sum of money to a Prime Ministerial cause at just the right moment, grow ever in number. Fortunately, one of the few times when nearly all the ermine-clad luminaries show up on the same day is when her Maj. The Q comes down for the day and delivers a speech about austerity whilst wearing a hat made of priceless jewels. Among the audience on this day was, of course, TV’s favourite Lords, Alan, The Lord of Sugar and Karen, Baroness Brady of Edmonton. You can only surmise that the reason Claude Littner has not yet been granted a peerage is because Lord Claude of The Apprentice Board would just be too obvious.
It would have been nice to see Prince Philip point at them and ask them what the bleedin’ ‘ell they had contributed to the smooth running of the country over the last 12 months, but he just sat there wondering who had won the 2.30 at Sandown and said very little.
After the ceremony, Lord S and Baroness B quickly threw off their robes and hurtled across London to the Apprentice board room where a dozen young business people sat waiting to be grilled on their part in the latest fiasco that passes as a basis for a job interview. This week’s task was all about picking the pockets of unsuspecting tourists while several of your accomplices distracted them. This was no easy task, given that there was a camera crew following their every move and part of the game was that their victims could ask for their money back afterwards. However, the teams set about their mission with all the enthusiasm of a Dalmatian chasing a stick.
You can generally tell who’s going to be kicked out at the end of the show by the way the edit focuses on one or two central characters early in the show. This week, Sarah Jayne stepped forward to take on the Project Manager’s role declaring that she “needed to prove herself”. Several colleagues stepped gratefully aside and began construct a makeshift gallows. Charles was assigned the job of preparing her for execution and dutifully obliged. Charged with escorting a party of tourists around the sights of Bruges, the team proceeded to march them in a vast circle around the canal looking for a 12th century hospital that may or may not have existed. When they returned to the very spot at which they had commenced, Charles announced that this was exactly what he had intended to do. Charles is a management consultant and so this course of action made perfect sense to him. Take the client on a journey that leads nowhere and then assure them that they had been in the right place all the time. That’ll be 300 quid and hour, thanks. Sarah Jayne gingerly felt her neck, from which she knew she would soon be suspended.
The other group were making great strides. By which I mean that Elizabeth was marching them apace toward a chocolate shop. Her frustration was that the tour could not proceed more quickly and, in the absence of a Saturn 5 rocket or the large hadron collider to propel them around the city, she put them all on Segway’s and urged them forward.
Elizabeth will win this. She may have all the sexual allure of Olive from On the Buses but she gets things done and getting things done is exactly what Lord Sugar needs. Anybody working for a partnership of Lord S and Elizabeth will be left in no doubt as to their role in the business and that role will be to listen, absorb and act upon the information they are given. She has been portrayed as the fool from episode one, as the Bessie Bunter in a Barbie-doll parade, but she will make it to the finish line and stand there going ‘Gosh! How wonderfully unexpected’ and win our hearts.
It was left to Lord Sugar to carry out the final coup de grace. Emerging into the board room from behind that opaque door, looking for all the world like he’s just endured a particularly difficult bowel evacuation, he listens wearily to the unfolding tales of woe from the previous couple of days. Karen and Claude sit either side of him and recount the misery of having to shadow these bozo’s over the last 48 hours and the trio allow themselves only a brief smile when his Lordship utters his obligatory put-down at the expense of one of the candidates along the lines of ‘Belgium? More like bell end if you ask me.’ Remarkably, Charles survives the board room, he sits looking like the first attempt at Thomas The Tank Engine’s CGI and promises to do better next time. Sarah Jayne leaves and we hear a single pistol shot.
The moral of the story is that Lords are superior people who hardly ever make mistakes and all you can do is sit there and await their verdict upon you. Next week is all about ‘negotiation’ and the apprentices try to negotiate a revolving door.