The Apprentice fired candidate Lewis Ellis interview: 'I wouldn't have accepted anything less than final five' – The Independent, Independent

The Apprentice fired candidate Lewis Ellis interview: 'I wouldn't have accepted anything less than final five' – The Independent, Independent


The latestApprenticecandidate to be fired byLord Sugarhas been revealed – and he’s just proud to have got this far.


For the latest episode, the final five candidates took part in the dreaded interviews with four of the business tycoon’s most trusted advisers, including right-hand man Claude Littner.


Things did not end too well for – – year-old marketing man Lewis Ellis, though, who was sent home alongsidePamela Lairdand Lottie Lion – who has beenbanned from press interviews– after their business plans was put under scrutiny.



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Following his firing, we spoke with Lewis about who he’s backing for the win, his Twitter feud with Lord Sugar, and why he was there for purely professional reasons.




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You were so close to the final, but yet so far.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I know, yeah. It’s a shame.


Why do you think Lord Sugar fired you?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

From the start, I knew it was a high risk strategy going in there – I had a completely new product with no tested sales. He wants to invest in a business and mine was not at a point you would invest in it. But you know what? I thought it was worth giving it everything to try and see what would happen.


He told you to keep in touch – that must have been nice to hear.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I know and so far, we keep in touch on Twitter.


You had a war of words last month over your tattoos.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Yeah, we had fisticuffs, did we?


What was that about?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I get his point of view. I appreciate he’s from a different generation. I never thought about Lord Sugar when I was getting my tattoos done, but I now will in future. I might get his face next time. There’s no reason I couldn’t include somethingApprentice– based in my next tattoo and I might do that actually. It’s part of my life story now and it would be hilarious.


When you were sat in the boardroom at the end, did you think you were going to get through to the final?                                                                                                                                                                                                      

The final five is what I wanted. I was in it to win it, but I wouldn’t have accepted anything less than final five. This was about my business plan and whether the one I had was investable. I was actually really happy with where I got to.


Taking part in the dreaded interview episode is a badge of honor. Was it as horrific as it looks on television?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

We know what it entails – we go into the process knowing that if you get to that point, you’re going to get battered at the interview stage. All you can do is try to remain optimistic, try to memorize your research and preparation and go in there feeling that it’s not going to be that bad. It was hard, it was very tough. I came down at one point in the day and laid down by the window and refused to talk to anyone. But it’s part and parcel. Do you know what was good about it? I love taking challenges and doing things that nobody else will have the opportunity to do. The more difficult it is, the more I enjoy it, because I know I’ve gone through something a lot of people could never. Looking back, I’m happy I got to that point to experience it.


Did you get the feeling that Lord Sugar was a fan of yours during the process?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Unfortunately, we don’t get to spend much time with him. We get pretty much just an extended version of what you guys see on TV, but we never knew whether he liked us or not. All you can do is do your very best. He couldn’t have disliked me, though, because of where I got to. I did make a lot of mistakes – I failed quite a few tasks – but I think it was my work ethic that got me to this point.


You almost got sent home in the very first episode, but you instantaneously improved in the following weeks. Did that experience snap you into action?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I think for me it was more like a teething period. I didn’t know what to expect. The first task was hard. I was a project manager in the bottom three, which is the weakest position to be in; Everyone generally gets fired when they’re in that spot. I knew that before I went into the show, but I put myself forward because I’m an idiot. But that’s testament to who I am as a person. If you go back through this process, and any of the opportunities where they asked who wants to go first, I go first. I’ve always done that and you know what? Screw it – I’ll never stop putting myself forward first.


What happened with that dreadful bottle of perfume you created in last week’s episode?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Look, it’s one of those things, isn’t it? I had a very large workload and did not expect to have so much on my plate. You guys see what’s on the show, but behind the scenes, the timings on each thing for that bottle – you only have a very finite time. It was really difficult. I was sweating, the room was degrees and Claude [Littner] was watching me. It was just horrendous. All I can say is I tried my hardest, so I’ll never be sad about that. If I’d half-a *** d it or messed it up and not tried, then I’d feel sad. But I actually feel like I tried my very best and, because of that, I’m not sad about it. I just accept that it was the best result. I love the fact that everyone goes, “Lewis has got a marketing masters.” It doesn’t mean I can market every single product ever. I can understand the consumer market and I can generally find the right channels to target people through. In this case, it was the branding side that was messed up.


Yeah, there were a lot of big assumptions made about your marketing masters degree, weren’t there?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I love when people criticize me on it, because I just think it’s very easy to criticize the players when you’re stood on the sidelines – and it makes them feel better about their lives. But realistically, they should put themselves out there and make a fool of themselves and risk it all, because that’s when you get far in life.


There was a lot of controversy this year, but you seemed to stay out of it. Was that a conscious decision?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Yeah, I didn’t go in for that. I went into that process because I decided I’m going to start my business today instead of in five years time. I was there to work – that was my game plan: work, support the project manager and win the task. That was all I cared about when I was there. Going on the show to get on TV, going on for entertainment value – I didn’t care about that aspect. I just wanted to win Lord Sugar’s investment and get the opportunity to work with a guy who’s achieved so much.


Who are you backing for the win?                                                                                                                                                                                                     

I’m hoping for a double win. Both the candidates are fantastic girls and they’re doing it for the right reasons. It goes back to their morals, their ethics and their motivations behind it. They come from very little and are trying to do it for their kids and their future. So I want a double win. Both girls deserve it.


What’s next for your?                                                                                                                     

My travel business has been started. I’m a director now – I don’t want to be, but I am one – and I’m hoping to run the first tour next summer. It’s just insane to me, because six months ago, this was my five to ten year plan. Through the process, I just thought, “F *** it, I’ve not got all the time in the world. Why not now? If not now, then when? And if not me, then who?” So I found a business partner and the business is underway. I don’t think I can point out the countries on a map, but I don’t think that matters. I’ve just launchedthe website, so people can read a little bit about what this is. It won’t have any tours on there yet, but what people can do is they can register and find out when the first one goes live. I hope people get behind it. I hope people want to see someone can come from f *** all and achieve that dream and just see it’s possible. That’s important to me – that’s why I’m doing this.


The Apprenticefinal will be broadcast next Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One


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