Apprentice quitter Scott Saunders has admitted he felt Karren Brady was “harsh” during this week’s boardroom session and that he made up his mind to leave while sat in front of her and the boss, Lord Sugar.
“I hadn’t actually come to the decision of quitting at all until I went into the boardroom,” Scott, 27, told RadioTimes.com, after he chose to leave despite being on this week’s winning team following a property sales-themed task.
“I actually decided while Lord Sugar was talking to the other team about their performance, that’s when I made my decision.”
“The funny thing is, I don’t think it was a snap decision,” said Scott, dismissing suggestions that it was a rash move. “The process of the boardroom is quite long, I sat there and decided certain aspects of it. I wasn’t as passionate as I had been in previous tasks as well. I knew I wasn’t really feeling the process so much either. I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time. There’s people there that deserve the opportunity. If I wasn’t fully committed then it’s not fair.”
Scott said show bosses did try and convince him to stay but he said there was no going back.
“Especially with Lord Sugar. It wouldn’t have been right. If I wasn’t completely involved in the process, I wasn’t going to be in the future.”
Brady was notably critical, openly comparing Scott’s efforts on the sub-team to those of team leader Richard and teammate Vana, something Scott said felt unfair.
“She was harsh sometimes. She did also bring up things that were true. It was quite a lot of bursts quite quickly, about parts of my performance – which is fair – but at the same time if it was myself, I would probably have given that feedback back in a different way, in a different manner.”
“You can’t be perfect at everything,” Scott continued. “Business especially is about learning and making mistakes to get better. That’s what I did. I think I’d proven up until that point that I was strong in all of them. So, you can’t just pick out faults you need to look at the good parts, which sometimes didn’t get mentioned.”
Among her criticisms, Brady brought up Scott’s inability to correctly show someone round a flat – muddling up the location of the dishwasher with the wardrobe and the like. But Scott said the comments were “unexpected” and that she wasn’t actually watching him at that point in the day.
“I think she went in quite hard,” he said of Brady’s boardroom feedback. “She wasn’t even there for my bit. You have production staff who relay information.”
But perhaps it was for the best, as Scott admitted that having her around is difficult.
“When Karren’s around, you do kind of up the ante, which sometimes comes out worse because you’re under a bit more pressure. She’s very good at adding pressure.”
As for what his fellow candidates think, Scott isn’t interested.
“I didn’t really care what they thought, whether they were shocked or not.”
And as for watching Lord Sugar, Brady and Claude Littner discuss his departure, Scott said he’s not ruffled by their conclusion he was floundering anyway.
“Everyone’s got an opinion on things. I could say stuff about loads of other people. But it’s just opinions. I’m not mad about it at all. It’s what they thought and I don’t really care. I have no regrets at all. I’m happy with my decision.”
Scott now joins a small club of people who’ve opted to fire themselves from the process, but says he didn’t do it purely to be noticed, or remembered.
“I think I would have been remembered. I think I was one of the strongest candidates there. I did the best I could do and that’s why I got to that stage in the first place. Up until now I’ve been a popular candidate and people were rooting for me to win.”
As for how he feels about being associated with famous boardroom bunker Katie Hopkins – who had some kind words to say about him – it’s not something Scott’s too pleased about.
“I don’t think I’d like to be associated in any way with Katie Hopkins,” he said of the series three candidate who turned down the chance to be in the final. “I think me and Katie Hopkins are two completely different people. I don’t even really like talking about her. I don’t know what she does apart from really bad things. I didn’t even know Katie Hopkins quit. I found out afterwards.”
On whether he should have stuck it out as long as she did, and quit when nearer the final, Scott said: “Nah, it’s not my style. I’m not there to p**s people off. There could have been someone there that deserved it more so I’m not going to take somebody else’s opportunity. These guys here are my friends and I wish them the best as well.”
Now going solo, Scott has launched the business he intended to pitch to Lord Sugar, Payroll Supermarket, which enables you to compare compliant services in the Umbrella, Contractor Accounting, Insurance and Money Exchange Industries.
“I want it to be big anyway, but now it’s a case of, I want to make more money than Karren Brady in five years. Then I’m going after Lord Sugar’s amount – try and get there before he did.”
The Apprentice continues Wednesdays at 9:00pm on BBC1