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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June 2008, 10:52 GMT 11:52 UK
Sir Alan: Maybe I was wrong to fire Raef
After 11 weeks, there can be only one winner of The Apprentice. It's between Lee, Claire, Helene and Alex. The final sees the four face one of their toughest tasks - designing and manufacturing a new men's fragrance. The showdown splits the four into two competing teams with help from the rest of the original 16 candidates.

Sir Alan Sugar


Were you happy with the final four of Lee, Claire, Alex and Helene in the final of this year's Apprentice?

I'm human like anybody else, believe it or not. I can sometimes make mistakes. Throughout the course of the process I think that maybe Michael should have gone earlier and maybe Raef should have stayed a bit longer.

Were you wrong to fire Raef?

When Raef went perhaps the right person to have gone should have been Michael. And then who knows what would have happened. Because when they went forward onto the car task Raef may have excelled in that suave and debonair way. You can imagine, he would have been well in his comfort zone there.

He's a very nice bloke, let me tell you that. I've spoken to him off camera lots of times. This is a very, very nice fellow. The fact of the matter is, you can see he's a very nice fellow because there's no trash about him in the newspapers, he's got no skeletons about him, he's a real clean cut chappy.

What did you see in Michael? Why didn't you fire him earlier in the series?

I don't know really. I sit and reflect myself. I'm thinking to myself, 'What was it?' Let me say this. The guy seemed to have survived a few times that he shouldn't. This is what a lot of people think. On one of the occasions he survived simply because, irrespective of whether he'd cocked up the task big time, certain colleagues were gunning for him.

I don't like it when somebody is trying to do my job. I don't like it when two or three individuals all decide they're going to gang up on somebody and think that they're going to dictate who the next person to go is. I can see through that.

Have you been happy with this series of The Apprentice?

I think it's like anything in life that you do. You get better at it the more you do it. It's no different producing television programmes than it is producing, say, computers. Once you've produced one then you know the mistakes you've made and the things that have gone wrong.

I also think that there are some unsung heroes in The Apprentice and that is the production team. One of the reason why it's successful is because people on the production team are the same people. It's been a struggle to keep the team together but keeping the team together means you don't have to go through a whole new learning curve of what not to do.

Do your assistants Nick and Margaret like the fame connected with being on The Apprentice?

Nick loves it. He says he doesn't. He goes, 'Oh, I can't take all this stuff. Oh, I can't take people recognising me'. He loves it. He loves every minute of it.
Sir Alan Sugar with Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer
Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer help Sir Alan decide who to fire

He's at every bash, every do he's invited to. Margaret to a lesser extent. She is a trained legal professional. I suppose a bit of it is a bit alien to her. She's had some very nice write-ups in the serious newspapers, the Guardian, all these clever people read and some of these other serious newspapers that you never find in the chip shop. They've kind of shined through as heroes this year. I'm pleased for that. We're like a trio now, like the Three Amigos really.

Do you like swearing on TV?

I made a deliberate decision not to use foul language on the programme four or five years ago. There are some minor expletives that I might come out with from time to time. But I personally don't think it's the thing to do.

Do you know the judges on Dragons' Den?

We're all mates at Dragons' Den. The only thing is, I feel a bit sorry for them sometimes that when we're at these award ceremonies we keep kicking their a*** all the time. They don't seem to get an award.

I'm actually hoping that the BBC will let me do a cameo role on there one day and come on the Dragons' Den because I've got a fantastic business idea for 'em which they will not be able to turn down, they won't be able to refuse.

It's as simple as this. If they give me 5m they can have 25% of my business which is replica TV awards. I can see Theo on the door out there flogging these awards on the way out - as replicas. I reckon that would be a very good business.

Sir Alan Sugar was talking to Newsbeat and Chris Moyles breakfast newsreader Dominic Byrne



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