Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Sugar fires favourite Apprentice

Neil Clough failed to make the final of The Apprentice

The climax of The Apprentice will be a battle of cakes against collagen after hopefuls Luisa Zissman and Leah Totton were put through to make it an all-girl finale.

Luisa, a 25-year-old cake shop owner, and Leah, a 24-year-old doctor, will compete to win a £250,000 investment and the chance to be Lord Sugar's business partner. Luisa is proposing a branded baking ingredients website, while Leah - who currently works in A&E - wants to launch her own non-surgical cosmetic treatments clinic, offering lunchtime injections of Botox and facial fillers.

The blonde doctor admitted she has no business experience but confessed to Lord Sugar's team of advisors: "I really need the money."

In the latest episode viewers saw soccer-centre manager Neil Clough miss out on a place in the final, despite Lord Sugar admitting he was his favourite candidate.

The 32-year-old was told his estate agency website idea was not a viable business, but refused to back down. Sugar told him: "If this was all about me giving someone a job, I'd give you a job tomorrow. But coming into business with me, I'm afraid not my friend."

Neil admitted: "I'm absolutely gutted. My biggest regret is I was given a chance to put in a Plan B and I didn't, and I absolutely do regret that. Whether or not that end goal of winning took over, I don't know. I'm so competitive, that's why I think I'm so gutted now. I wanted it so much and it's difficult to take.

"For Lord Sugar to say, 'You're the right man, you've just got the wrong plan', I could see he was sort of willing me to be the person that goes into business with him. But my business plan wasn't right for him, I did make a couple of mistakes with it. I do respect his decision."

In one of the tasks Neil gave a motivational speech to a group of businessman, in which he opened up about how his father's death from cancer, when Neil was 18, had motivated him to succeed.

He confessed: "I think that is one of my biggest drivers, to make him proud of me. And as I got further along on The Apprentice, it was like 'If I win it I will make him proud of me.' And I think the difficult thing for me to take is I've fallen short of the final hurdle."

:: The Apprentice Final will air on Wednesday July 17 at 8pm on BBC One and BBC One HD.

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