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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 04:27 GMT 05:27 UK
"You're fired!"
BBC Series "The Apprentice"
Alan Sugar, his two advisers and some of the apprentices
Fourteen candidates set out to win a job, a six figure salary, and the title of Sir Alan Sugar's apprentice.

And if you've been following the BBC Two programme for the past couple of months then you'll have seen the original group reduced to just four.

Last night, two more fell victim to strong criticism from Sir Alan before being told: "You're fired!"

  • This morning on Breakfast we spoke to the rejected pair about the programme and their long and public job interview

  • Paul Torrisi and James Max were our guests in the studio after they were fired from Wednesday's programme

    Throughout the 12 week series (it concludes on Wednesday) the budding entrepreneurs were split into teams and given a business, sales or marketing task.

    Tasks

    Watched over by Sir Alan's beady eyed advisers Nick Hewer and lawyer Margaret Mountford, they were asked to design advertising campaigns, sell produce at a farmers' market and design a toy the two teams among other gruelling tasks.

    Each week, the two teams were hauled before Sir Alan and his 'board' and the team that sold the most, or saved the most money were declared winners and given a surprise treat fit for a young company executive.

    The losing team were then given a detailed 'de brief' before one of them was fired by Sir Alan in his inimitable and blunt way.

    Wealth

    Whatever you may think of Sir Alan's style, his business and personal wealth has grown steadily and is thought to be around the 700m mark.

    Sir Alan's business ventures have included his company Amstrad and ownership of Tottenham Hotspur football club.

    Although no longer chairman, he is a significant shareholder.

    Catchphrase

    The Apprentice started life on NBC in the United States, but the series has gripped the two countries and made the expression "You're fired" into something of a catchphrase.

    In the BBC version, the potential businessmen and woman lived together in a house on the banks of the River Thames.

    The complex nature of the tasks, the stress placed on the teams and the inevitable clashes of personality, tears and arguments have caught the imagination of the viewers.

    Sir Alan, not known for mincing his words often added to the humiliation by picking over the losing team's faults and identifying the weaknesses of his victim often forced to sit in agony while he delivered his verdict and the now famous catchphrase.

  • Thursday May 5: Saira Khan

    Thursday's Breakfast spoke to the eventual runner-up, Saira Khan. We asked her how she felt about losing to London Underground manager Tim Campbell.



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