Jim Eastwood is among the final seven candidates of The Apprentice after finding himself on the winning side of Lord Sugar’s boardroom for a welcome change.
After a close call with the firing squad last week, Jim was relieved to be on the winning team in a task which saw him sent to Paris to sell British products.
Fellow candidate Leon Doyle was shown the door after admitting his attempts to sell a teapot lamp to the French were doomed from the start.
Viewers saw him axed from the BBC1 show after his team performed disastrously in their latest task — with sales only a twentieth of their rivals.
Jim Eastwood’s team, project managed by Susan Ma, clocked up sales which left their rivals trailing in the wake. While the Cookstown businessman made a better attempt at impressing Lord Sugar this week, there’s no doubt his team’s success was down to a sales pitch by Helen Louise Milligan.
Fast food marketing entrepreneur Doyle confessed he did not fully believe in the novelty lamp he was selling — even though he was one of the driving forces in choosing the product.
He and French-speaking Melody Hossaini persuaded project manager Tom Pellereau they should opt for the teapot-shaped lamp.
Doyle said: “I definitely wouldn't want one.”
Doyle said he felt team-mate Natasha Scribbins should have been sacked in his place after failing to sell anything.
Lord Sugar had arranged a meeting with catalogue firm La Redoute to allow the two teams of contestants to pitch their wares.
Scribbins agreed to make the pitch after losing a game of ‘scissors, paper, stone’. And she managed to insult the company with a poor offer, having little idea about the huge firm.
Doyle said: “It was a selling task really, after you've chosen the product. So I thought maybe I've got a chance here.
“Natasha didn't sell anything and played a paper, rock, scissors game to find out who should pitch for the meeting worth millions, which maybe was somewhat unprofessional.”
Although he managed to make some sales, Doyle was fired for taking too much of a supporting role in the task, using the excuse that he did not speak French.
He said: “The regret is that I took a back seat and didn't grab the phone out of her hand and make more appointments myself.
“It was easier for us to get the appointments because Melody spoke French.
“But then realising that you can pick up the phone and speak to anyone in English anyway, it was an oversight of mine and it was too late to do anything about it.”
Doyle added: “However, I still managed to make some sales in Francais.”
The young entrepreneur, who began the show so confident he suggested the boys name their team Leon-trepreneur, insisted that being fired had not damaged his self belief.
“Leon-trepreneur is still confident. I didn't get it blown out of me.’’
Doyle said he would still love to go into business with Lord Sugar.
“It would have been absolutely incredible, life changing, but I guess someone beat me to it,” he said. Of the original 16 candidates vying for a £100,00 job, just seven are left.
By Claire Harrison
Was it just me or did anyone else get confused last night and think they were watching ‘Allo ’Allo! instead of The Apprentice?
If Jim Eastwood misses out on becoming Lord Sugar’s next business partner, he could always carve out a career in sending up the French.
Asked if he could parlez Francais, the Cookstown man had a look of pride on his face as he replied “un petit pois”.
Impressive — until a subtitle gleefully translated un petit pois as a garden pea. (Perhaps he meant a little bit of petit peu?)
What Jim lacked in lingo, he made up with a hammed-up French accent straight from the Rene Artois cafe.
All he was missing was a string of onions, a beret and a pencil moustache to give a good twirl.
He pitched a “phenomenal populaire” car seat to potential buyers using a strange hybrid of French and Tyrone tones, asking with a straightface if they could “sell this petit item?”
The answer was a resounding ‘oui!’ and Jim’s team romped to victory thanks to Helen’s euro-spinning pitch.
Another reprieve for Jim but Helen is surely now the winner-in-waiting.
Lord Sugar’s righthand man Nick Hewer on Jim
What a handful! I don’t find him as charming as he thinks he is and I wish he’d stop talking about his Irish charm because I’m finding it spooky.
I was in Belfast the other day and everyone is convinced he’s going to win it — apparently he and his wife are the Posh and Becks of Cookstown, Co Tyrone.
The incident, in an earlier episode, with Leon in the boardroom (when Leon changed his mind about bringing Jim back) showed me that he is a manipulative character. I find him a bit creepy, but he has some tremendous qualities and is a contender. He is articulate, quick on his feet and very self-confident — Ulster breeds a strong type of chap — but I would say accidents happen...
As told to Radio Times