There was shock in The Apprentice boardroom tonight after candidate Scott Saunders quit the process.
Saving Lord Sugar the bother of firing him, Scott declared:
“I’d just like to quickly say, thank you for the opportunity, but I would like to exit the process at this point.”
It was an unexpected move given Scott was actually on the winning team, quite literally getting off Scot-free for a poor performance on this week’s property-themed task. He even missed out on the speed boat treat…
While it was certainly an unusual move, Scott’s not the first to leave the boardroom without hearing those fateful ‘You’re fired’ words.
In fact, it was during 2005’s first series that Lord Sugar first had to holster his firing finger of doom. Then candidate Adele Lock opted to leave in the fourth week of the competition.
“I’m not in the right place here. It will come as no surprise to you Sir Alan that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing,” Adele said after getting a fair bit of criticism for her performance on that week’s selling task. “I’ve never been so undermined and demeaned in all my life to do some of these things.”
“I have got personal, emotional problems that are happening in my life. I’m sorry, this isn’t for me, I am going to leave today.”
“It’s an easy way out,” Lord Sugar told her before revealing she would have been fired whether she’d stepped down or not. Unlike this year’s series, he didn’t fire anyone else, telling the rest of the candidates they were lucky with the day’s result.
It was then in 2007’s third series that there was another – and perhaps the most memorable – boardroom bunker: Katie Hopkins.
Hopkins had made it all the way through to week eleven and sat opposite Lord Sugar as one of the final three candidates. But deciding enough was enough, Hopkins told the boss she wanted to get her own plans straight.
“I think it’s more important to get my plans in place first. Therefore I suggest I stand down,” Hopkins said, with Lord Sugar insisting she was a candidate who couldn’t give him the commitment he needed.
“When I quit it was ‘Well actually I’ve got a better job already thanks’,” Hopkins joked to RadioTimes.com, the process then offering the winner a job with Sugar rather than a business investment.
“I like this idea that I fired Lord Sugar.”
During 2009’s series five, candidate Adam Freeman made the earliest exit, quitting the show before it started. It’s said he couldn’t be replaced in time for filming and so the show ran with fifteen rather than the expected sixteen candidates. Sugar told the rest of them that Adam had “bottled it”.
The Apprentice continues Wednesdays at 9:00pm on BBC1