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Apprentice Michael Copp interview: 'Even Lord Sugar can get it wrong'

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Bellissimo! Last night's Apprentice saw Team Sterling get in a jam as they floundered through a condiment challenge from Lord Sugar.

Michael Copp failed to cut the mustard and was given the boot by Sugar, but was it the right decision? Digital Spy caught up with Copp to discuss boardroom sweats, wrestler Ricky Martin and why Lord Sugar may have made a big mistake.

> Sugar fires 'Apprentice' who doesn't cut mustard in condiment task
>'The Apprentice': Did Lord Sugar fire the right candidate? - poll
> 'Apprentice' episode three review

Micahel Copp gets fired in The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



Where did it all go wrong for you, Michael?
"It was down to the division of the task. It was a combination of things: the manufacturing of the product, which made the product too expensive to sell to the trade."

Did Lord Sugar make the right decision?
"I don't think I should have been fired. It should have been either Ricky or Katy. I think the reason I was fired is because I didn't fight my corner well enough.

"Ricky put a good few spins on, sugarcoated his position but the obvious choice for me would have been Ricky because of the product manufacturing side of it. Maybe I was a little bit naive going into the boardroom thinking that Lord Sugar would pick up on that and the obvious failure of the task was down to the manufacturing. So it just goes to show even Lord Sugar can make the wrong business decisions. Even Lord Sugar can get it wrong. Because he definitely fired the wrong candidate in my eyes."

Did you make a mistake in the boardroom by talking about your tough upbringing?
"I think the point what I was trying to get across... I didn't get my point across well enough, I wasn't good in the boardroom.

"The point that I was trying to make was, at the end of the day, I'm someone who's already had loads of business. I started up a company myself, it's a successful business, we've got good contracts, we've got good products, we've got good service. My day-to-day running of a business is everything that a business owner does: from marketing to accounts to customer care to developing the business to new avenues. I was the whole package he was looking for and unfortunately I didn't get that across well enough in the boardroom which is part of the reason I think that's why I was fired."

Is Ricky a case of all spin and no substance?
"If you think about it he's a wrestler by night. In the wrestling industry you're acting, aren't you? So he's a very good actor, Ricky, and he knows how to sugarcoat up situations and put a spin on things. Whereas, to be honest with you, in real life, I'm not used to that.

"I don't have to sugarcoat things in real life when i'm doing business because, at the end of the day, I tell people what to do, my staff, and they do it and they do it well. I'm not used to that side of it where people try to put a spin on things that happened."

Misspelt sauce on The Apprentice S08E03

© BBC



Lord Sugar seemed to be against you from the get go. He suggested you were hot and sweaty in the boardroom in week one...
"I genuinely didn't know why I was perspiring in the boardroom. I was a little shocked myself, as was everyone else. The reason is that I was coming down with the flu, I had gastric flu while I was in there but I didn't know that at the time. The following day I wasn't well at all.

"But I didn't moan about it, I didn't mention it at all in the boardroom, I just thought, 'Right, OK, this is a fantastic opportunity, I just have to get my head down and get on with it'."

Was your illness why we didn't see much of you in week one and two?
"In the other two tasks I was heavily involved; unfortunately, on air, it didn't come across like that. It looked like I was sort of trying to hide but I can assure you that I was definitely involved heavily in the first two tasks.

"It was my idea to go with the bigger teddy bears, it was my idea to put the Union Jack on the T-shirt, and I was heavily involved in the designing of the EcoPress with Duane and Azhar. Unfortunately there's a lot of candidates there in the first few weeks and to try and fit that down into an hour show, some candidates get more airtime than others."

Let's talk Bellissimo... or should that be Belissimo?
"Obviously, didn't spot that spelling mistake! Stephen didn't spot that and nor did Katie so it was a bit of a group mistake. Had we known that going into that pitch with a high class retailer, I think we would have sold a few batches of sauce, which would have helped towards the task.

"But even if we had spelt it right and we'd sold the boxes to the high end retailer it would have let us down on stock if we'd sold too many. Even then it reverts back to the manufacturing side.

"We didn't produce enough, and we didn't produce at the right price. I think the other team produced their condiment at 70p a jar. Ours come out at about £1.30 or £1.20 a jar. When you're trying to sell a sauce, to a restaurant at over £2, they then have to make their margin. It makes it unrealistic for them to say, 'We'll take a couple of boxes'. We always knew that the trade side was going to be the harder shout, so Katie going over to Westfield to sell to the public was obviously tactical because she knew it would be easier."

The Apprentice continues on Wednesday nights at 9pm on BBC One.

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