The Comic Relief version of The Apprentice was always going to a sure-fire laugh-a-minute for the sole reason it had Alan Carr mincing his way into SirAl’s boardroom like he was about to impersonate Shirley Bassey on a cruise ship.
But the best laughs of all came – unintentionally – from the mouth of Gerald Ratner, the ex Ratner’s jewellery retail chain director who has made a media career (almost) from verbal gaffs and interview based faux pas.
For those of you who don’t know, Mr Ratner once caused the shares of the Ratner’s jewellery company to plummet after telling a journalist that they were able to sell their products so cheaply because they were “total crap”.
One can’t find fault in his honesty or his accuracy but, really, he’s not the type of man you want on your marketing team if you’re trying to scrape together a living in the retail industry.
Mr Ratner first raised a titter when, discussing the reality of working with the insanely ebullient Jonathan Ross and Alan Carr, he turned deadpan to the camera and announced in a voice like a coffin lid being prised open with a jemmy that “he liked laughing; he liked to laugh”.
The best moment however came at the end of the show when the boys' team were trying to sell their new toy idea to a room full of high powered toy trade execs.
After a slick speech by Mr Ross and a less than slick but very funny advert voiced-over by the chocolaty tones of Mr Carr (I’m talking Fruit & Nut) it seemed the boys' team had the contest totally in the bag. The girls' team surely couldn’t compete.
Step forward Mr Ratner to give a business professional’s spin on the boy’s product...
He had to be honest, he said, their product (a utility belt to which kids could attach various collectable toys – I can still hear Alan Carr screeching “Swap-belt” on the commercial) would only succeed if a company went for broke in terms of marketing.
The selling concept had to be – and I quote – “shit or bust”.
Cue baffled silence from the audience as this sank in and Mr Ratner realised he’d possibly garbled what he’d originally meant to say.
Or had he?
Maybe this was the clear choice Mr Ratner faced back in the early 90’s when the Ratner jewellery designers were laying out ideas for the latest Ratner jewellery range?
Shit or bust?
The answer is obvious, isn’t it?
They were in it to make money. They were hardly going to vote for bust.
Like I said. Not a man you’d want on your marketing team. The girl’s won.