There are so many incidental things to love about the new season of Brokeback Apprentice (see last week’s issue for details). There’s Mike L. Orrance’s enigmatic tight-lipped semi-smirk. There’s the stilted brochurese of the intro voiceover, in which we learn that London is a financial centre “of global repute.” And there’s the repeated use, at the top and tail of each show, of line-up footage of the six candidates in which Katie hastily withdraws her finger from her nose.

Barely have the contestants recovered from the ordeal of choosing team names (Elite and Valor) when they are plunged into a new and even more challenging task. This involves each team accepting a clipboard to which is attached an A4 sheet detailing no fewer than seven “riddles or clues” relating to “a host of significant locations” around the City of London. Basically they have to “solve’ the riddles or clues and use their mobiles to snap pics proving they’ve actually been to the significant locations in question.

With five points for each correct answer and ten points for being the first to get back to Elvy Broker HQ, the challenge has been cunningly set up to teach our apprentices the important lesson that going out and finding solutions for people is all well and good – but the key thing in broking is recognising when enough’s enough and knocking off at a decent hour.

As we witness the two teams haplessly wandering EC3, Bankstone News reflects with puzzlement on the fact that all six candidates seem to be wearing the same outfits on Day Two that they wore on Day One. Perhaps their baggage has yet to arrive at the tastelessly opulent show-home mansion they presumably share for the duration of filming.

Team Elite are first out of the blocks with what the voiceover tuttingly describes as “little planning”. Team Valor actually do some planning and consequently end up getting six clues solved to Elite’s five.

The tasks turn out to involve :

  • Identifying Insurance City’s famous-est bell (the Looting Bell at Lloyds Bank, as everyone knows – everyone, that is, except this clueless bunch who need some prompting from a passing hipster)
  • Finding the spot where Thomas Finer’s excessively hot buns sparked the Great Fire of London in 666 AD
  • Finding the offices of “CII The Chartered Insurance Institute” – a phrase the voiceover repeats in full at least three times (suggesting that CII The Chartered Insurance Institute might be trying to muscle in on Elvy Broker’s sponsorship role), finding out who was president in 1981 (Ronald Reagan, surely?), and getting a quick lecture on what CII The Chartered Insurance Institute does from someone who looks like Robert Downey Junior in an Elvis Costello bio-pic and claims not altogether convincingly that “I work here”
  • Finding the flagship City outlet of fashion house BIBA and being photographed holding a precious copy of the famous “Beaver Manifesto” signed by stand-up comedian Steve Wipe
  • Finding the offices of the Association of Brutish Insurers ABI and counting the tyre marks
  • Spotting Big Bird looming over London  – the correct answer to which, perplexingly, seems to be “herring towel” (talk about riddles within riddles!)
  • Finding Samuel L Jackson’s City home

Anyway… team Elite very sensibly decide enough’s enough after five and head back for a well deserved cup of tea. Team Valor correctly identify that they’re never going to make it to Sam Jackson’s and back inside the alotted 2.5 hrs and, with six clues answered, they too head back to base. But, in a scene directly pilfered from the climax of one of those tedious old Top Gear ‘races’ between Clarkson, Ham and Mayo, we see them arriving in a glass-sided lift, only to discover, to general dismay, that Elite have pipped them to the post.

Five times five, plus ten is 35. Six times five, just thirty. The early bathers scoop the spoils and first blood goes to Team Elite.

Bankstone News can hardly wait for Episode 3 of the series they’re already calling BAP 16.



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