Proving that I tend to be rather behind the curve with TV gossip, I finally picked up today on the fact that Apprentice candidate Howard Ebison happens to bat on the same team as myself. A somewhat inaccurate report in one of the Sunday red tops claimed Howard was the first-ever openly gay man on the Apprentice – which he isn’t. Previous candidates Lohit Kalburgi (Series 3) and Nicholas de Lacy Brown (Series 4) were both out and proud moxes, although as Nicholas was fired in the first week of his series after selling lobsters for five quid (not to mention wibbling on at the former chair of Tottenham Hotspur that he found it hard to relate to people who like football), it might be best to draw a veil over him and his ill-advised facial hair. And before any of the boys of course, there was The Badger, back in Series 2.
Back to Howard though, and after leading his team to victory in last week’s car cleaning task (despite being consistently undermined by passive-aggressive whinger Philip), he found himself hauled back in the boardroom last night by losing project manager Rocky after the boys suffered a catastrophic defeat thanks to a corporate catering event in which the team wore sports gear (and later togas, exposing some very spotty backs) and served bizarre canapes with a vague “Olympic” theme. Despite being criticised for not using his experience as a pub manager to put the brakes on the food costs, Howard scraped through after Sralan decided that Rocky had made too many errors as team leader (including bringing back him and James, who proceeded to spew forth a mighty torrent of word vomit and subsequently disclosed releasing a small torrent of something else).
Howard himself is emerging as one of the more likeable candidates this series – admittedly not difficult in the Apprentice, where demonstrating the mere vestige of a soul tends to put you at a spiritual advantage to everyone else. Plus he’s in a happy, long-term relationship – doubtless a source of enormous frustration to the more prurient sections of the media, who were only too pleased to drool their righteous saliva all over the details of Ruth Badger’s personal life. I hope he progresses a lot further in the competition, without resorting to any dirty tactics, whilst creating a positive role model for young LGBT people who want to succeed in a business world that still seems to be dominated by machismo and aggression.