Lord Sugar said goodbye to another Apprentice on Wednesday night – it was Michael Copp who was waved out of the boardroom.
He told the beleaguered salesman, "I have to use an instinctive gut feeling about the candidates in front of me, and who I think can hack it... and on that basis, Michael, you're fired."
The team Phoenix, a mix of boys and girls after a personnel swap-around, had previously squabbled between themselves as to where problems lay with their task of concocting a condiment - whether it was in the production end, with Ricky Martin at its helm, or Michael Coop, in charge of one of the sales teams.
Project manager Katie eventually settled to bring both these sub-managers back in with her.
While Lord Sugar and his comrades kept open minds about whether production or sales were the problem, Ricky (production) fought his corner strongly, saying it had never been made clear how much sauce he was meant to create.
Michael did his best, saying he would have done better if he'd been selling in Westfield, but admitted "I'm not the best salesman, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth..." an evident appeal to Lord Sugar's own London roots, which he wasn't having any of.
Katie, who had previously boasted "men can be manipulated", sat meekly in the middle while this was going on around her, until Lord Sugar remembered this was the third time she had been left sitting in the final three, and told her he didn't want to see her there again.
Nick Hewer was the only one vaguely batting for Michael, with the faint praise, "he does do the odd good thing," but Lord Sugar commented that he was just out of his depth.
Michael had barely featured at the design stage of the week’s task, that of creating a catchy condiment, but was in charge of trading the Belissimo ketchup his team had concocted.
His nerves were apparent when he attempted to negotiate the selling price, and ended up getting the sale – for four pence less per unit than the minimum price his team had agreed. Matters weren’t helped by prospective customers all noticing that the correct spelling of the Italian word for "very beautiful" required an extra ‘L’ – sadly absent from the label.
Colleagues, including the assertive Azhar, ended up taking over for the second round of selling, and Copp admitted he was feeling increasingly sidelined. And when he attempted to speak to manager Katie about the sad state of sales, the phone was unceremoniously taken off him by a disgruntled colleague – an unfortunate omen of things to come.
Meet this year's contestants in the slideshow below...
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