Blimey... give a guy a break! I Sky Plussed it and only finished watching the first episode 5 minutes ago.
Anyhow by popular demand, here's Hennell's tips to the runners and riders for The Apprentice 2010. Accept no substitutes... here's the real thing, the original and still the best (sorry, Mike!)
I'm going to do this in two parts, because I'm knackered. Let's face it guys, none of us are as young as we were back in Brentwood days (even if Thomas Power spends hours photoshopping the thousands of pictures of himself that then appear on every social networking site in an attempt to look as if he is... honestly, that man's *such* a cyber tart!).
Okay the boys. Far FAR easier to sort this lot out, compared to the girls. What is it, gentlemen, that makes us so transparent? Some perma-squirt of machismo? Speaking of which...
Dan "Lunch is for wimps" Harris (RIP). You'd think he knew plenty about sausages, given his fleshy-jowled look of a ginger Yorkshire butcher. But no. Management style straight out of the early 80s, so much so that he made Gary Meyer (Amstrad Australia's erstwhile MD for those of you who have forgotten) look like Gandhi. You just *know* his favourite film of all time is Wall Street.. he had to go, if nothing else because of his extraordinary "go on, sniff my gonads... you know you want to" way of sitting in the boardroom.
Stuart "The Brand" Baggs. More Jo Brand than Nike, methinks, except far less intentionally funny. Overweeningly arrogant, blissfully un-self-aware. Offered himself to Alan on a sale or return money back deal in the boardroom showdown - if only his mother had had the benefit of an identical offer at his birth. Mind you, he ran rings round Dan the ginger butcher and did him up like a kipper in the boardroom, which if nothing else needs applauding as a mercy killing. He'll be great TV but there's no way in Hell Alan could bear him, not even on consignment.
Alex "New Labour" Epstein. Why New Labour, I hear you ask, when he's obviously such a good little corporate capitalist? Well for one, he worryingly resembles Gordon Brown after a fake-bake spray tan. And two, he's got that badly trained public speaking move that all New Labour wannabes have done since Blair to attempt to show sincerity. You know the thing, that masturbatory emphatic hand gesture a la Gareth Hunt Maxwell House adverts c. 1980, whenever you're trying to make someone believe whatever line of crap you're peddling. Apart from that, not one to get his hands dirty and won't last.
Raleigh "Training wheels needed on my tricycle" Addington. Bless him! That lip-quivering shocked speech at Dan, ending with a genuinely morally outraged finger-wagging cry of "Shameful!". I honestly thought he might burst into tears. Just too soft, too sheltered, too green and is just bound to get completely stabbed in the back by someone he thinks loves him as much as he worshipped his house prefect at Eton when as a junior fag, he was required to be on 24 hour call to butter the latter's crumpets.
Shibby "Trust me, I'm a doctor" Robati. I was briefly convinced he'd been expelled from a recent international cricket team for match fixing, but he's no fool, this one. He just looks like it's all beneath him and he doesn't seem to be that bothered. No doubt he'll do well as a surgeon with that languid doe-eyed arrogance he affects... or rather, doesn't. It's all natural, I fear. Out mid-season.
Christopher "Star Trek" Farrell (yes Mike, I agree with the otherworldly look our commando's got). Kept a low profile and stayed well-hidden - maybe he was a sniper? Came a little bit back to life in the boardroom where it looked like he couldn't believe his ears at the nonsense Dan was spouting. He's in good company... I couldn't believe his ears either. Maybe a dark horse, but I think too nondescript. Out mid-season again.
Chris "Investment banker is not always rhyming slang" Bates. The secret lovechild of Jamie Oliver and Ronan Keating and one of three, yes count 'em three, investment bankers in this year's show. It's mildly encouraging to see that some of the city bozos have got their come-uppance - why else would they sign up to the show? - as we enter double dip recession. He's a bit posh, but I think he has a little edge to him. My 2nd favourite of the boys (not that this is difficult among this bunch).
And finally Jamie "Mi casa es su casa" Lester. Okay so he looks like a Milwall soccer thug in a suit, but that's probably no bad thing as far as Alan is concerned. However, he was pretty much reasoned and professional - didn't you just love the way he took Stuart The Brand to task for acting like a hyperactive toddler after way WAY too much Sunny Delite? By far and away the best of the guys. Final three for absolutely definitely cast-iron sure.
I'll get round to the ladies tomorrow. Stay tuned, pop pickers.
Okay, time for the fairer sex to be scrutinized. This is going to be much more tricky, because with just a couple of notable exceptions, the ladies seemed demure, retiring and nigh on invisible - it's time for gut-feel. Never judge a book by its cover was hardly a Brentwood catchphrase.
Speaking of which, did anyone else hear Alan's radio interview last week, set up for him to plug the new series *and* his new book, called "What you see is what you get". Good title, though hardly one to be applied to your average Amstrad product in hindsight... "A mug's eyeful" might have been better. Anyhow, the shock revelation was that Alan confirmed that he'd been asked to appear on Strictly Come Dancing - his comment unsurprisingly being "What a bloody load of old nonsense." What a complete tragedy - we'd all have given several years of our lives just to see Alan doing the Chigwell cha cha in sequinned shirt slashed to the waist.
Now Nick "The Silver Fox" Hewer on Strictly... that's a marriage made in heaven. I'm sure Nick could rapidly polish up his undoubtedly substantial lounge lizard skills and trip the light fantastic with the best of them - plus in his elegantly stealthy way, the man's a serious player... I know, I've seen him in action. Smoother than a baby's bottom coated in Teflon. I can definitely see him inveigling his way into the arms and charms of some lithe young professional dancer half his age... the red tops would have a field day. We should all lobby the BBC for next year. Seriously. Come on Thomas, you're ideally placed to sort out an online campaign with your legion of lonely businesswomen followers on TwitterCademyFaceSpace... we want to see the "Hewer for Strictly" petition.
Anyhow, enough of the musing... back to the girls and the easy ones first.
Melissa "Peroxide Nightmare" Cohen. Oh dear. The obvious pantomime villain of the piece so she'll be kept in for a good long while as the other one (together with Stuart the Brand) as the ones we love to hate. Opinionated, pushy, patronising and generally vile. She'll force her way into the camera foreground on every opportunity. With a surname like that, she may well be of the faith (or as Dave P would say, she's no schicksa, she's a Red Sea pedestrian) but that's not going to save her. The axe will fall in the second half.
Joy "Oh shit! Jo is back" Stefanicki. It's not just me, is it? She does look scarily like mad Jo Cameron from Series 2. Anyhow, you just *know* she's going to be insane. Not axe-wielding psycho insane like Melissa above, but far more new-age, fair trade, crystal-waving, back-to-back whale-song on the IPod, navel-gazing, ear candling, lentil cooking and above all barking mad. Not in a million years is she going to make the final three, so it'll be back to her vegan wigwam in whatever tree-hugging commune she lives in (yes yes, I know she's from Birmingham, but I bet she could find one).
Laura "Fragile - handle with care" Moore. An absolute dead ringer for an 80s actress called Shirley Cheriton (Angels & Eastenders - and no, don't ask me how I know.. just google images), except brunette. She's only 22, and I'm getting this feeling of petulance and emotional fragility from her. A trained violinist apparently, I think she's going to be equally highly strung. Expect something to snap before long.
Paloma "Not Picasso but" Vivanco. Pretty much invisible in the first episode but just on a hunch, I'm expecting this one to have a short fuse and foresee tantrums ahead. I think she'll throw her toys out of the pram once too often and alienate others, so based on the most flimsy of evidence; I'm going to say not one to go too far.
Sandeesh "Thundercats" Samra. How can anyone possibly have that amount of hair? She's the antithesis of Tony Massey. Another near invisible girl in episode one, but reading her brief biography on The Apprentice website, it states that she "believes that keeping the customer happy is the key to success". A business truism, maybe, but not one that's going to mesh well with Alan. Had it been "hustling the customer into thinking he's happy" or "doing the absolute bare minimum necessary to ensure the customer doesn't get atomically pissed off", she'd have been a much more natural fit. I see this one as being rather too nice and idealistic to last long.
Liz "Too pretty by far to be related to Mike" Locke. Sorry, Mike. Not even in my most twisted fantasies can I picture this year's eye-candy in Union Jack socks on the back of a Kawasaki, so there's clearly no shared DNA there. Mind you, did you see shameless Uncle Nick schmoozing his way into her and Stella's (see below) good books by saying he was impressed with their figures? Told you, he's a sly one and I bet he'd like to share some DNA with this Louise Redknapp lookalike. At 24, she's the right age to be an apprentice, providing her corporate investment banking background isn't too "city boy" big business for Alan. I think she's going to do well, providing she's prepared to get her hands dirty. Final three material.
Stella "Investment banker number three" English. Another good candidate, I think. Hard to choose between her and Liz above. Liz has got youth on her side, but Alan's going to like Stella's whole "left school without a single GCSE" claim to fame - he always does appreciate that sort of schtick. OK it's not quite boiling beetroot in Brick Lane from the age of 8, but it's the next best thing. More liable to roll up her sleeves and dive in, so another contender for sure, but an apprentice at 30? I'm unsure.
Joanna "In with a chance" Riley. Offered herself up for team leader in the face of abject sloppy shoulders from the rest of the girls, so hats off to her for that. Actually did a pretty fair job as well - not the strongest personality, maybe but definitely pleasant and seems to have common sense. If her apparent general air of niceness doesn't prove to be her Achilles heel, this one's one to watch - I can see her making the final three.
So, I'm down to a final five (not that it'll ever go this way - got to keep some hate figures in for ratings purposes). However, Hennell's 2010 Top Tips for the best of the bunch are:-
Jamie Lester - Evens favouriteLiz Locke - 6/4Joanna Riley - 5/2Stella English - 3/1Chris Bates - 5/125/1 the rest of the field.
Get your 50p's in now, but at your own risk. Be warned, I'm on a roll, having called a Yasmeena/Kate final with a Yasmeena win last year.