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16 best The Apprentice moments as series 16 interviews air

From boardroom roastings to ridiculous pitches, here's some of the most memorable moments from The Apprentice, including the best interviews.

Baroness Brady, Lord Alan Sugar, Claude Littner
BBC
Published: Thursday, 17th March 2022 at 5:50 pm

It's time for The Apprentice interviews on season 16, and already it's looking pretty tense...

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In a first-look clip, Claude Littner was left unimpressed as Kathryn answered back in her interview, and with no holds barred Linda Plant returning, we know it's about to be an eventful evening.

Each year, the interviews are one of the most popular and memorable parts of the show.

As we prepare for the semi-final, which will see Brittany Carter, Harpreet Kaur, Kathryn Louise Burn and Stephanie Affleck in the hot seat, read on for some of our favourite interviews and moments from the show after the past 16 years.

Best Apprentice interviews

Solomon Akhtar roasted by Claude Littner in his 'final five' interview

Arguably one of the most memorable moments The Apprentice has gifted its viewers in recent years, Solomon Akhtar's 'final five' interview with Alan Sugar's aide Claude Littner from season 10 is an absolute rollercoaster of glowing praise and savage scolding.

The clip begins with Littner telling Akhtar that his CV "filled [him] with pleasure", lulling the contestant into a false sense of security with his multiple green ticks and encouraging remarks. However, the mood abruptly changes when Littner turns his attention to Akhtar's logo-filled proposal – which he calls "a bloody disgrace" and kicks him out of the meeting. Unsurprisingly, he didn't make it to the next round.

Linda Plant calls “bulls**t” and Richard Woods agrees

In 2015, Linda Plant dubbed Richard Woods' business plan "bulls**t', as he claimed his company was going to make £3 million by year three, despite his previous business having only made £17,000 in the previous year.

Instead of defending himself, Woods admitted the plan contained a lot of "waffle".

“I feel that you are the type of guy that thinks he can write a lot of bulls**t and no-one will see the truth underneath," Linda said, to which Woods responded: "I think I’m agreeing with you."

It's safe to say he didn't win!

Liar, liar pants on fire

Another interview we still think about today is Daniel Elahi's back in 2018. During the conversation with Mike Soutar, Elahi was asked how many of his hangover-curing sticks he'd sold in the last year, to which he responded: "About 47,000."

Soutar then showed Elahi his business page on Amazon, which claimed he had sold over one million pieces and asked how that figure ended up on the website.

Elahi was reluctant to admit he was responsible for writing the statement, at first saying he “could have” written it, before saying it was “90 per cent likely”, and then finally revealing that yes he actually did write it.

But what made this interview even funnier is when Elahi left the meeting room, he bragged to the other candidates about how "easy" it was.

Lewis Ellis attempts to go global

When it comes to presenting a business plan on The Apprentice, it's vital that you know what you're talking about as the interviewers can definitely see through the lies. And Mike Soutar wasn't letting anything get past him when he interviewed Lewis Ellis in 2019.

Lewis, who had a travel business idea, stated that he wanted to take his customers to a resort in Croatia, but when Mike asked him to point out where Croatia was on the map, he didn't have a clue.

"The point is... I've never seen that globe before. I've never looked at it on a globe." Interesting!

You can watch the moment below:

Ricky Martin gets grilled

Ricky Martin might have won the 2012 season, but that wasn't before Claude gave him a serious grilling as he said that he wanted to "teach an old dog new tricks" - the "old dog" being his soon-to-be business partner Lord Sugar.

Claude was far from impressed, calling Martin an "arrogant fool".

Elizabeth McKenna and Linda face off

Back in 2017, Elizabeth McKenna kept us all entertained with her catchy one-liners, and during the interview stage, she didn't hold back as Linda questioned her about her flower business.

During the heated exchange, Linda accused Elizabeth of being “exceptionally aggressive” and “arrogant”.

But the best part was when Linda told Liz that the flowers on her site didn't look that special, to which she simply responded: "Well I thank you for that.”

Pamela Laird's missing delivery

Pamela Laird was left pretty embarrassed in 2019 when her products didn't arrive in time for her interview with Mike Soutar.

The beauty brand owner’s website had stated that delivery for products in the UK would arrive in around four days, but little did she know that Mike had tested this out for himself.

During the chat, Mike revealed that he hadn't received the items and it had been 11 days since he placed his order.

To try and resolve the situation, Pamela decided to take down Mike's order number on her hand and "chase" it up. Not the best start, you could say!

Best Apprentice moments

Sumo suits Ultimate Team-Building

The Apprentice was never short of ridiculous moments – case in point, Leah Totton's strange team-building day in season 9, which saw two of her teammates fight one another in sumo suits to teach a group of office workers about business conflict. The bewildered audience can hardly contain their laughter as eventual season winner Leah, who's dressed in what looks like a Peter Pan costume, stands awkwardly in front of the staged scuffle.

Susan Ma knows nothing about France

During season 7, Karren Brady wasn't very impressed with Susan Ma's stream of questions about French people. "Are the French eco-friendly?, "Do the French go camping?", "Are the French very fond of their children?", "Do a lot of people drive in France?" While it sounded as though she was reeling off her Google search history prior to jumping on the Eurostar, the skincare entrepreneur was actually trying to get to grips with her market audience, adding: "I honestly know nothing about the French and their culture."

Simon Ambrose's ill-placed trampoline leg

Internet entrepreneur Simon Ambrose may have eventually won The Apprentice's third season, but he didn't emerge victorious without enduring his fair share of embarrassment.

In one of the funniest moments the BBC series has ever seen, poor Simon is presenting for his team in a shopping channel challenge and decides to test out a £69.99 miniature trampoline, before demonstrating how easy it is to assemble by twisting its legs into place whilst holding the bouncer in a somewhat suggestive position. "What are you bloody doing!" exclaims a bemused Alan Sugar, who's watching from another room. I don't think any of us truly want to know...

Jason Leech escapes to the shopfront

Season 9 contestant Jason Leech and his eccentric sales techniques didn't impress his fellow teammates, who kept the historian/property entrepreneur in the back of the shop during a challenge that required them to sell produce.

However, much to his teammates' dismay, Leech continued to advance towards wary customers in the street, telling them to buy a "sad pack of potatoes" to "make them happy". Despite his odd approach to customer interaction, Leech made it all the way to the ninth task in the season.

Pantsman

Season 5 of The Apprentice truly gave us the song of a generation with Philip Taylor's Pantsman – the estate agent's superhero mascot for cereal. This angel-voiced contestant only needed one take to record the jingle for his group's advert, however, it didn't leave a (positive) lasting impression with Lord Sugar, who fired Phil two weeks later.

'Best seller' Scott Saunders makes a meal of a sales pitch

Season 11's Scott Saunders and Brett Butler-Smythe seemed as though they were on their way to smash their first apartment pitch at Printworks in Clapham, describing themselves as "two of the best-sellers" on the show. However, viewers quickly became aware that Scott had somewhat oversold his haggling abilities. In a scene that could have been taken straight from scripted sitcom Stath Lets Flats, Scott showed a potential buyer around the showroom, failing to differentiate between the washing machine and fridge freezer, before forgetting when the flats are due to be built.

Rachel Groves' bizarre pitch dance

Some of the funniest moments from The Apprentice came from its very first season, such as Rachel Groves' groovy sales pitch, which former aide Nick Hewer described as "one of the most horrible experiences [he's] ever had to endure".

The moment saw charity fundraiser Groves try to excite her audience by dancing around the room, kicking off her shoes and flinging her skirt about in one of the most cringeworthy scenes in Apprentice history. Somehow, she made it all the way to Week 6 before Lord Sugar showed her the door.

 Katie Hopkins' dramatic exit

It's easy to forget that controversial media personality Katie Hopkins got her start on The Apprentice in 2006, but what's unforgettable is her sudden exit during the show's semi-final. After Alan Sugar questioned her commitment following her unenthusiastic response to make it to the final three, the former Met Office employee decided to "stand down" and left the boardroom voluntarily.

The wolf jacket

This classic clip from The Apprentice's very first season saw Saira Khan and James Max sort through items they were tasked with selling on a TV shopping channel, however, it was one particular jumper that caught their attention – a unisex fleece with two wolves pictured on the front. The jumper left James Max howling with unstoppable laughter before trying it on for himself.

Solomon's obsession with Stevie the skeleton

Season 10's Solomon makes our list once again, with his handsy approach to Stevie the skeleton, a £260 model skeleton which Solomon attempted to haggle over. While his teammate Bianca Miller wasn't too impressed with his long, chatty negotiation, he did take home the bag of bones for a slightly discounted price and bought himself a new best friend.

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The Apprentice is on BBC One on Thursdays at 9pm. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Entertainment hub.

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