The Apprentice: Gruelling interview week sees three of five candidates torn to shreds
It was interview week and of the five remaining candidates, three were torn to shreds in the interview room and sent packing by Lord Sugar.
Joseph Valente, Richard Woods, Gary Poulton, Charleine Wain, and Vana Koutsomitis had just 24 hours to brush up on their business plans before they faced a grilling from Lord Sugar's terrifying advisors - Claude Littner, Claudine Collins, Mike Soutar and new addition Linda Plant.
The following day they were taken to the Leadenhall Building in the Square Mile for the interviews, which were characteristically brutal.
Gary's 'virtual party' idea left everyone scratching their heads as did Richard's business plan description. Richard was also caught out repeating a diagram posted on his social media in his business plan.
Mike questioned Richard's CV, “So from a chat around a breakfast table, you’re the number one marketing agency?” while Claude commented on his business plan, "It's like a bad 1980s marketing book, all this mumo-jumbo."
Richard, however, thought things went well. “11 out of 10. Nailed it" he told the other candidates after he emerged from his thrashing.
However, after he faced the formidable Linda, who tore his business plan to shreds, he declared, "I want my mum!".
Linda was particularly tough on all candidates. She tackled Charleine about leaving the boardroom last week in tears.
“How are you going to behave running a multimillion pound organisation? Are you going to cry?” she asked.
After Charleine's encounter with Linda, she told the others, “You wait until you’re in that room, you’ll be sweating from every single finger.”
After they had run the gauntlet of the interviews it was boardroom time and Lord Sugar immediately fired the two weakest links.
“Charleine, I do admire your drive, your inspiration and your hard work and efforts and it’s very hard for me at this stage to kind of suppress that enthusiasm," he began.
"But, I don’t believe that I can go into business with you at this time. I think you should take advice from Claude and pursue those additional branches down there. So it is with regret Charleine that…You’re Fired."
He continued, "Gary, you take great pride in being a corporate fellow. But I think your business plan is flawed, I don’t understand it at all. I can’t go into business with you…You’re Fired.”
Lord Sugar then asked the final three to step outside before making his final decision on who to axed from the process.
“Vana, I worry this £250,000 is like a spit in the ocean really, in order for this to be successful," he said.
"Joseph, my concern is to whether you are mature enough yet, whether you’re here too early for me. But you’re a business that I can understand and I also understand that you’re very, very determined and so I’m going to tell you right now, Joseph, that you are going to be in the final."
It was between Richard and Vana for the final spot, and Vana came up trumps.
"Richard, you’ve done extremely well in the process, so you’ve obviously got something there," said Lord Sugar.
"Vana in order for your business plan to work, it has got to be so drop dead brilliant that it’s going to capture the imagination of users at a very early stage. I’m a gambler. Richard, you’ve been a very, very good candidate here, but I’ve decided that I’m going to take a gamble by allowing Vana into the final. So Richard…You’re Fired.”
The final airs on BBC One on Sunday, December 20.