I was stabbed in the back by bitchiest Apprentices yet, says first-fired Cahal

Claire Murphy

THE FIRST businessman fired by Bill Cullen believes he was set up to be the fall guy by his Apprentice teammates and reveals there is yet more back-stabbing to come in the series.

Cahal Heapes (32) said that the female contestants will be at each others' throats in the coming shows.

"The girls got away with murder," he said. "They were under no pressure but the cattiness will develop over the next few weeks.

"Things will definitely heat up in the boardroom," he added.

But although he said producers made it look as if there was a relationship developing between hopefuls Michelle Massey and Ciaran Walsh, there was no romance in the house this year.

"When we got into the house firstly, the guys kept talking about Michelle [Massey]," he said.

"The girls had all been talking about how good-looking she is, because she has the body all the girls want.

"And the guys were talking about how handsome Will [McCreevy] is. He's what guys think girls would definitely buy into," he added.

"But there was no romance in the house. To the best of my knowledge there was no kiss between Michelle and Ciaran."

The salesman led the all-female team in a challenge to sell vouchers for the Carlton Hotel Group but failed miserably to obtain the confidence of his teammates or Bill Cullen.

But Cahal, originally from Ballydehob, Cork, said that he didn't have a chance in what is lining up to be the bitchiest group so far.

"I absolutely believe that they met behind my back and decided," he said.

"The more I look at it, the more I'm convinced that the decision had been made by one or two people ahead of the show that I should be project manager on the first task."

When Bill Cullen announced that he would switch the male and female leaders, Cahal thought that he had caught a break.

"I wasn't sure if I was being lynched by the guys," he said. "I knew I had been set up by them to be project manager and I thought this could be my saving grace because the girls have never lost a task."

And Cahal revealed that the eight men and women were left alone in a hotel for four days before filming began.

They were given strict instructions by producers that they should not be seen together and that they must keep a low profile.

However, they defied orders and went out drinking in the city centre together.

"We'd one really good night out in Flannery's and Coppers," he said. "We did Jagerbomb rounds, around 15 in total. It absolutely ruined the show."

Cahal lashed out at the TV3 production, which gives the winner the opportunity for a €100,000 contract to work with Bill Cullen, and has since returned to his job in perfume distribution with Kenneth Greene.

"It became clear pretty quickly in the boardroom that the show is not a business programme, it is a TV programme," he said.

"Bill would ask the questions three times until he got the answer that he or the cameras wanted and that he was being deliberately provocative in the way he asked the questions."