Former The Apprentice adviser Nick Hewer has revealed some backstage info about The Apprentice – suggesting that the show's producers pressure Lord Sugar on who he fires each week.
The Countdown presenter said that he would often suggest people should be fired, only for people behind-the-scenes to intervene with a different verdict.
Nick recalled: “I say to him, ‘Oh, by the way Alan, the blonde: he or she is as thick as a fridge door, and I urge you with every fibre of your being, get rid of them, because they’re going to let you down”.
“And the producers will say, ‘Do you think you could find it in your heart to not get rid of the blonde just yet?’"
However, Hewer suggested that it was ultimately Sugar who made the final decision. “[Lord Sugar] will say ‘the blonde will go when the blonde deserves to go’," commented the TV star.
Hewer also revealed why contestants who get fired always leave the building wearing a scarf and coat.
In an interview with The Sun Newspaper, Nick, who worked with Lord Sugar on the BBC show for 10 years before leaving in 2014, explained that the “exit shots” are filmed in advance.
And that means they need to cover up what they are wearing so the shot can be used later on.
“It’s a question of time,” the 72-year-old said. “They have a series of things to do…They also have the the ‘exit shots’, they’re called.
“They always wear the coat and scarf, so you don’t know what they’re wearing underneath.”
Insisting that he is still a massive fan on the show, the presenter and public relations expert also suggested that the fate of candidates is influenced by the way they look.
He said: “There was a time when all the young ladies who came on wore black pencil skirts and very high heels, with their hair done up in a chignon.
“You’ve got to be able to differentiate the candidates.
“I suspect that the producers go for different looks or people that can be differentiated visually.”
Nevertheless, he assured viewers that Lord Sugar insists on axing contestants when he feels it is their time to go.
Nick continued: “You might say, ‘Are these the brightest people with the best prospects?’, and I would say ‘No, not necessarily’.
“If you really got the brightest kids the danger is that no-one would understand what they’re doing.
“It’s all about the viewers. If you don’t deliver the numbers, you’re out. Which is why it’s been running now for twelve years.”
Sugar is now flanked by Karren Brady and Claude Littner in the Apprentice boardroom, as they narrow down the selection of entrepreneurial hopefuls eager to win the billionaire’s backing.
Speaking about the process the candidates must go through to take part, Nick told the newspaper: “And then on the day, you’re picked, with a couple of spares in case someone runs home to mummy, as they do occasionally, and they’re put up in sixteen hotels.
“They get to the studio, which is in Hanger Lane, they’re searched by the army: they take their phones, credit cards, the boys have their eyeliner removed, and they go into what is effectively a cauldron for up to 12 weeks.
“It’s absolute murder in there.”
Lord Sugar has responded angrily to the Nick Hewer interview, claiming that The Sun have "stitched up" his former co-star.