The Apprentice: farewell, then, Ian Stringer

In an episode that stands as a one-hour illustration of why family businesses don’t always work, last night pub manager’s son Ian Stringer got the “you’re fired” treatment from Sir Alan Sugar on The Apprentice.

Selected by Sir Alan as project manager to organise a themed food night at the Duke of Hamilton pub, Ian failed the piss-up in a brewery test with flying colours.

Ian’s team may have thumped the girls on revenue, but having spent loads of Sir Alan’s dosh on “marketing” (erm, printing laminated, 1971-style Italian menus) and food, the Renaissance team saw their profits go south.

Ian saved his best work for blame-shifting in Sir Alan’s boardroom. Bank manager (not a great advert for fiscal rectitude right now) Kevin Shaw bore the brunt of Stringer’s finger-pointing. With a degree in food hygiene, Kevin looks like an inflated hamster with a Worzels accent. That should have made him a decent appointment as head chef.

To be fair, Kevin seemed to battle manfully in the kitchen producing tasteless bolognaise and, impressively, pizza. But his stock-ordering let the team down; hence the countless trips to the supermarket to stock up on food.

But Sir Alan was having none of Ian’s efforts to blame it all on Kevin, and Mr Slicked Hair got the heave-ho. Personally, I don’t rate Kevin’s chances of lasting much longer, though. As for Simon, the salt-of-the-earth lad who defended himself as a “grafter”, he may have a few weeks left (SIr Alan clearly quite likes him). Is he a likely winner? No way.

So who’s looking good after week three? Okay, we’re biased, but self-proclaimed entrepreneur Raef Bjayou rose statesmanlike above last night’s debacle and seems to be settling in nicely. But sassy Irish saleswoman Jennifer Maguire looks like she could go all the way, too. Hang in there, Raef, we’re with you.

More on The ApprenticeA close shave for Raef BjayouRaef lives onSir Alan Sugar: “they call me a wanker and then they lose ?1bn”Alan Sugar’s new entrepreneur apprenticeSir Alan Sugar: women employers are more ruthless than menRaef Bjayou, The Apprentice and the blogs

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