Although we saw signs that a boardroom massacre was imminent, it didn’t make this week’s Apprentice triple-firing any less brutal. For only the third time in the show’s history, Lord Alan Sugar turned his firing finger on three candidates, with Anisa Topan, Andrew Brady and team leader Charles Burns all eliminated from the competition.
The disastrous doggy daycare challenge saw team Vitality bogged down in a poop-scooping contract and failing to wash up any profits from their pooch spa. After criticising Andrew’s “immaturity” in the boardroom, Sugar promptly fired the project engineer, closely followed by Anisa and finally “Mr Hindsight” Charles.
- How some simple stats could help you win The Apprentice
- The Apprentice’s Courtney Wood: why Elizabeth should be prime minister
- The Apprentice’s Sajan Shah on that “total disaster” of a car advert – and what he really thinks of Elizabeth
But did the candidates think they deserved to go? And what business plans would they have pitched to Lord Sugar if they had got through to the final five? We caught up with the fired trio to find out…
Although Brady was blasted by Sugar for swearing in front of a client during the poop-scooping negotiation, he says this wasn’t what actually happened. “I did swear, but not at the time [the editors] showed. They had the sound but they didn’t have the visual of me doing it,” he explained. “The client couldn’t hear it because I whispered it, but they put [the audio] up.” (check out that full story here).
However, although claiming he was unfairly portrayed and admitting he wasn’t going to win the competition, Brady still enjoyed the process – perhaps a bit too much: “It was like a holiday and I treated it as such! Rightly or wrongly, it felt like being back at Uni!”
And had Brady got through to the final five he planned to continue a life of leisure with his business proposal. “My plan, Brady’s Bars, was a mobile bar and intimate party hosting business,” he explained. “We would go into people’s houses and put on a cocktail masterclass and have a team of people taking the responsibility off of the host themselves.”
Because who wouldn’t want Brady and Sugar to take over their house party?
Although saying it was right that she was eliminated this week, the PR firm owner feels like she could definitely have made it into the final five if the competition had taken a slightly different turn: “If Sugar would have made me project manager, like he did with Joanna, I would have gone out and conquered. I would have won that task and won others over.”
But without that leg-up from Sugar, Anisa was continually snubbed for PM and soon the process became tiring. “I was ill a few years ago, I had adrenal fatigue and coeliac disease. My body had already been through burnout and the process was incredibly hard on me: we have to get up, get ready in 20 minutes, do the task, get to the house really late, have dinner and go to sleep. And then do the same the next day!”
And rather than the disastrous doggy daycare task, there’s another challenge that haunts Anisa. “I’ll be recovering from Bruges for years!” she said. “I could feel everyone’s unsatisfaction on that tour. Everyone was miserable and tired, there were no facts and I couldn’t read my handwriting. All I could do was laugh because it was so cringey. I had to laugh or I would have cried!”
When it came to Charles, everyone had one question: Why is this guy still in the competition? After all, before this week’s task, Charles was on the losing team five out of seven times and he was brought into the final boardroom twice. The possible answer: his business plan. Although they’re presented in full during the show’s interview stage, the candidates submit a small summary at the start of the process. Did Charles have a plan that caught Sugar’s eye?
Possibly. His idea: a jeweller finance firm. “I’d seen in my family business and in other independent jewellers that cash flow is a major problem. The luxury watch market is booming at the moment and I was looking for a way to finance retailers to have this stock,” explained Charles. “Retailers want to look for somebody they can trust to make that purchase.”
So why did he get fired? Lord Sugar claimed that Charles did too much delegating and not enough doing this week – a criticism he doesn’t agree with. At all. “People like Richard Branson delegate – he’s not going to get involved in every side of his business,” Charles said. “And at the start of the process, Lord Sugar says ‘you’ll be running this business’ while still taking a share – that’s delegating.”
And yes, we did ask him about that infamous Bruges task. Despite Anisa saying they were “100% lost!”, Charles says he knew exactly where he was: “I wasn’t lost! We were at a doorway to the hospital and I asked Anisa which was the right entrance – I was sure which one it was. But she told me it was a Picasso gallery. And all I did, as anyone else would have done, is walk around the building to find another door. It’s incredibly convenient Anisa has forgotten these details!” Ouch!
The Apprentice is on 9pm Wednesdays, BBC1