10 Of The Apprentice's Most Savage Interviews That Still Make Our Toes Curl

Who could forget Elizabeth McKenna's run-in with Linda Plant, or Solomon Akhtar's early exit from his chat with Claude Littner?
The Apprentice interview moments
The Apprentice interview moments

After 10 weeks of disastrous tasks, farcical errors and boardroom showdowns, we’ve somehow made it to the interview stage of this year’s The Apprentice.

Any fan of the oft-ridiculous BBC reality competition knows that the penultimate episode of the series often turns out to be the defining one, as the candidates’ proposed business plans are scrutinised in forensic detail by a panel of Lord Sugar’s most fearsome associates.

But for those worried that the four remaining candidates might have an easier ride this year given that Claude Littner has been absent from the rest of the series, we bring good news – he’s back!

While he was forced to hand over his role as an aide to Tim Campbell this year, it has been confirmed Claude will be giving the five remaining candidates his trademark grilling.

Ahead of the much-anticipated episode, we’re reliving some of the most savage interview moments on the show, guaranteed to still make your toes curl...

Claude loses it with Solomon (2014)

Solomon Akhtar didn’t really get much of an interview with Claude Littner when he appeared on The Apprentice in 2014 given he was ordered to leave within seconds of arriving in the room.

Claude hit the roof over his business plan, which he tore apart for containing pages of pictures of sail boats, branding it “a bloody disgrace”.

“What do you think you’re coming here for? Are you taking the piss?” he asked, before ordering Solomon to leave.

Perhaps even better though was Claude having to tell Solomon that he was trying to exit the room the wrong way. Mortifying.

Jordan is branded “a parasite” (2013)

On the topic of terminated interviews, 2013 candidate Jordan Poulton was labelled “a parasite” and thrown out of the room during a session with Claude.

He tore Jordan to shreds when it emerged that his business idea had been settled on a handshake with his partner, but not made official on paper, meaning he was asking Lord Sugar to invest in a business that he didn’t actually own.

“You’ve got no right to be here, because you are feeding on somebody else’s idea, somebody else’s business. You are a parasite,” Claude told him. “Frankly, I think this interview is terminated.”

Jordan later told HuffPost he thought Claude’s language was “unprofessional”, adding: “If you’re going to use that kind of language about someone, you owe them the right to defend themselves, and I wasn’t given that right.”

He also said that the fact he had not “solidified with my business partner contractually” left his proposition “open to misinterpretation”.

Elizabeth goes head-to-head with Linda (2017)

Elizabeth McKenna cemented herself as one of the most memorable Apprentice contestants ever when she appeared on the show in 2017, gifting us a multitude of camp one-liners.

Perhaps her stand-out moment, however, came during the interview round where she went head-to-head with Linda Plant.

The fiery exchange saw Linda accuse the florist of being “exceptionally aggressive” and “arrogant”, before asking her: “Do I look simple to you?”

Our favourite part? Linda saying: “I looked at your website and your flowers don’t look that special to me,” before a defiant Elizabeth responded: “Well I thank you for that.”

Jade is well and truly caught out (2012)

In her business plan, 2012 candidate Jade Nash listed a number of website domains she claimed to have already purchased to help with her proposed telemarketing business.

This claim came under scrutiny from Mike Soutar, who proved that she certainly did not own one of the URLs, having actually purchased it himself prior to the interview.

Jade’s face was a picture when he informed her of this fact, and having been caught out, she offered to buy the domain off of him.

Daniel’s numbers fail to add up (2018)

Similarly, Daniel Elahi from the 2018 series was found to have lied about his numbers on his Amazon page, which claimed he had sold over one million of his hangover curing sticks globally.

Given he told Mike Soutar during his interview that he’d sold around 47,000 units, Mike tried to establish quite how the “one million” figure ended up on his online shop.

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

Richard agrees with Linda’s “bullshit” assessment (2015)

Linda Plant called bullshit when 2015 candidate Richard Woods claimed his proposed business was going to make £3 million by year three, despite his previous business having only made £17,000 in the previous year.

While Richard disputed Linda’s claim on the figures, he then admitted his business plan contained “a lot of waffle”.

“I feel that you are the type of guy that thinks he can write a lot of bullshit and no-one will see the truth underneath,” Linda suggested.

“I think I’m agreeing with you,” Richard said as he got up to leave the room, before admitting to the camera that “pretentious crap” often comes out of his mouth.

Ricky gets a roasting (2012)

Ricky Martin (not that one) may have emerged as the winner of the 2012 series of The Apprentice, but that did not come before one especially tough interview with Claude.

He branded him “an arrogant fool” after reading that Ricky wanted to “teach an old dog new tricks” – the “old dog” in question being Ricky’s prospective business partner Lord Sugar.

Yasmina makes a “gross” error (2009)

If you’ve watched The Apprentice and indeed Dragons’ Den enough over the years, you’ll know that for the candidates, being able to tell the difference between gross, net and turnover is absolutely essential.

Unfortunately, Yasmina Siadatan came a little unstuck when Claude grilled her about her company’s finances back in 2009, as she floundered her way through the figures. She was also stunned when Claude pulled out her company accounts to quote from, asking where he’d sourced them, despite them being a publicly available document.

Still, it all worked out OK in the end as Yasmina actually ended up winning the series and a coveted job with Lord Sugar.

Joanna doesn’t do her homework (2010)

As the old adage goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail – and that was something 2010 candidate Joanna Riley learned the hard way during her interview with Alan Watts.

Despite competing for a job with Lord Sugar – as was the prize at the time – Joanna hadn’t done quite enough brushing up on his business empire, coming unstuck when Alan quizzed her about her potential new employer’s companies.

Pamela’s products fail to arrive (2019)

Pamela Laird on The Apprentice
Pamela Laird on The Apprentice

Pamela Laird of the 2019 series was left with egg on her face and pen on her hand during her interview with Mike Soutar.

The beauty brand owner’s website had promised delivery for products in the UK would arrive in around four days, but unbeknown to her, Mike had decided to test that himself.

Unfortunately for Pamela, Mike’s order appeared to have gone missing and had not arrived 11 days after his purchase.

Thinking on her feet, Pamela promised to chase the matter up, writing his order number down on her hand to follow up later.


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