Page last updated at 22:07 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 23:07 UK

Fired Apprentice 'lost potential'


Ben Clarke reveals all

Apprentice hopeful Ben Clarke has become the latest contestant to be given the boot from the BBC One show.

The 22-year-old trainee stockbroker from Belfast was fired after his team lost a task selling baby accessories at a trade show in London's Earl's Court.

Clarke found himself in the boardroom with fellow contestants Debra Barr and James McQuillan, who was team manager.

Sir Alan Sugar said he initially saw a "bright light" of potential in Clarke, but the spark had "gone out".

For the task, contestants had to interview suppliers of baby equipment, select two products, and sell them on to a potential 10,000 customers at the show.

Team Ignite, headed by Lorraine Tighe, chose a padded toddler helmet and a travel pushchair, while McQuillan's team, Empire, selected a home birthing pool and an expensive hand-made rocking horse.

Ignite came out firmly on top with sales of more than £1,600, compared to Empire's £722.

Sandhurst claims

While trying to convince Sir Alan to keep him in the competition, former Gavin Henson lookalike Clarke once again brought up the fact that he had been offered an army scholarship to Sandhurst.

But an unimpressed Sir Alan dismissed the boast, saying: "Don't start banging on about bloody Sandhurst again.

"I was in the Jewish Lads' Brigade, Stamford Hill Division, trainee bugler, but it didn't make me sell computers when I got older."

In delivering his verdict, Sir Alan told Clarke: "You think quite a lot of yourself.

"You over-hype yourself a little bit but at certain stages in this process I was seeing some quite bright light at the end of a long tunnel, but I feel that the light at the end of the tunnel has gone out quite frankly."

In the infamous black cab ride home, a disappointed Clarke said he felt that he could have won the competition, saying: "I am still adamant that I am better than James, I am probably overall better than Debra as well."

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