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A HARD SELL FOR HOWIE.

Byline: NICK HEWER

LAST night's TV shopping task, one of Sir Alan's favourites, failed to disappoint. But there were some surprises, noticeably Kate.

Until now a shining star when it comes to presentation, Kate failed to catch fire - although her air guitar showed promise.

Conversely Debra, the charm school graduate, took to it like Tyson to a boxing ring and was so effective that the channel bosses said they'd give her a job any time.

The task was all about picking products to satisfy a target market. In the mix there had to be a killer item with a high ticket price. But it had to be one that could reasonably be sold - unlike the rocking horse, last week.

In Yasmina's team the dearest item was pounds 17.99 and the cheapest was under a tenner. Although the polo poncho sold well, you'd have to sell day and night to make a big profit on it because of the low ticket price.

GLITZY

Even so, Howard with his pounds 139.99 low-fat chipper and pounds 150 glitzy Benidorm special leather jacket (as Sir Alan named it) failed to carry the day. So what went wrong? The products were right, it all came down to bad presentation. Oh, and that craft dog and cat product. I hope never see that on TV ever again.

Yasmina's team with sales of more than pounds 1,500 carried the day - but only just.

This week's treat was one of the most dramatic we've ever seen on The Apprentice.

James, who is good fun and likeable, missed out on the racing car treat weeks ago, so he at least had a taste of a boyish thrill as he was hurled around the sky in this one.

Back in the boardroom, Howard remarked that one chip fryer would have carried the day. Yes, he did pick the right products, but the second part of the task was to sell.

His team sold less than five per cent of what the TV channel would normally sell. What a disaster.

When I asked if he thought he was a "brave warrior" his face betrayed, I thought, the realisation that he is, in fact, lacking in ambition and courage - something Sir Alan has in spades.

He's a decent young man but is destined - for now - to remain in middle management because he lacks that vital entrepreneurial flair.

As for Margaret, her affection for that dinosaur continued off camera.

She tickled it under the chin and smiled as it purred with pleasure. Maybe I'll buy her one for her birthday.
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 28, 2009
Words:430
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