For the show’s eighth challenge, the candidates were tasked with hosting a corporate away day onboard the Belmond British Pullman train.
Things didn’t work out too well for the show’s youngest ever candidate – 19-year-old luxury womenswear consultant Ryan-Mark Parsons – who was sent home after losing his first task as project manager.
Following Ryan-Mark’s firing, we spoke with the memorable contestant, who got very candid about his fellow competitors.
Why do you think Lord sugar fired you?
I don’t know, really. I thought I was bringing a lot to the table, although clearly he didn’t. I think also it’s because of my track record – that was the fourth time I was in the boardroom.
So, do you think it was fair your were sent home?
I don’t necessarily think it was fair, because I feel that Marianne doesn’t deserve to be in the process. As much as I do love Thomas, and I really think he’s a great friend, he also has probably the worst track record in the whole process – he’s been in the bottom three and lost seven of the eight tasks, which I think proves he’s not a successful businessperson.
Why do you think Lord Sugar is keeping people who have bad track records?
I think a lot of it is politics. When you’re dealing with the other candidates, it’s about relationships as well. You have to play a game to some extent. Thomas is very likeable, everyone loves him and that’s universal. Me, I’m a bit more divisive, so I had a lot more enemies in the house. There are definitely people that didn’t like me, but at the same time, there are people that loved me. For the people that didn’t like me, it was a very easy decision to bring me back to the boardroom and, of course, when they decided to do that, they put me at risk.
Who’s the deadweight in this year’s competition?
I think Marianne definitely deserves to leave – I think she’s a total waste of space and needs to go as soon as possible. Thomas – he’s really credible in business, but I feel he’s let himself down too many times based on his record. I mean, who else is left? I can’t really remember a lot of them, to be honest with you. The ones I remember are myself, Lottie and Thomas. Dean? I can’t even remember what he does in the process. He just fades away in every task. He’s like a paperclip.
A few former candidates have questioned your intentions of being on the show, arguing that you were there merely to be on television. What do you say to that?
I think Riyonn and Jemelin made comments about that, but I just think they’re being salty that they left before me, and they’re trying to make excuses as to why they were fired. They went because they were poor candidates and the fact that I’m getting more airtime just means people want to see me. I think what they say is ridiculous, because I have a lot of business acumen and had a business plan that I wrote out for the show. It was really comprehensive and I really wanted to show that to Lord Sugar and have a chance to discuss it in the interviews.
Was it your game plan to hold off being the project manager until late on in the series?
Yes. I definitely did have a game plan. I’m not going to deny it – it’s a competition. It’s not just some kind of la la land. I went in with a strategy and knew that the longer I leave off being project manager, the less time I would have in the firing line, because if you lose a task as the project manager, you’re automatically blamed. I thought I could try to hold off as much as I could to a point where I either have to be project manager, or I’m chosen – and in the end, Lord Sugar chose me for what I thought would be the perfect task. But with the clients and everything that happened, it was just a disaster.
You also lost by a tiny margin, which must have been frustrating.
I think it was a travesty to be honest with you. I watched Lottie’s team – they ran out of alcohol, the entertainment was dry, Dean was useless as usual, and then you have Lottie, who was running around unable to open the wine. I’d say it was worse – it was cataclysmic. Looking at my one, we had great entertainment, we had violinists, people were laughing and clapping, they were drunk and were enjoying themselves. On the basis of that alone, we should have won. The thing that annoyed me so much is that Thomas can negotiate, but he only managed to get £20 off the price for the violinists. He could have got way more than that, and that would have saved us.
A lot of criticism has been levied against Lottie this year. What’s your views on that situation?
I don’t really want to comment on everything that’s been going on with that whole scandal. I don’t know a lot about it, to be fair. The Apprentice is an entertainment show that incorporates business, and all of this negativity is just ruining the outlook. I just feel people need to focus on the fun element when they watch it every Wednesday, and leave it at that. All of this rubbish coming out is just a distraction
What were your highlights?
I loved a lot of the moments in the series. I was lucky enough to go to Africa and do the safari tour, and then I went to Finland to film the advert. The rollercoaster task was great. I was involved in a lot of the significant moments on the show, so I was pleased.
Do you have any regrets?
The only regret I guess I do have is in the last episode where I should have been a lot more adamant about not going ahead with the entertainment and asking about the intolerances and the allergies, because if I did ask those questions and thought about it more, we could have won. That’s the only thing.
Do you think being the youngest candidate in Apprentice history worked against you?
No, I don’t think so. I look young and fresh on the outside, but I’ve always said that I’m a 60-year-old on the inside; very old and traditional. I related a lot to some of the older candidates, apart from Marianne. Everyone else was fine.
Who do you think is going to make it to the final?
I think Scarlett will make it to the final; she just rises above everything. I didn’t really work with her throughout the whole process, so I don’t really know what she’s about. I worked with Carina on the rollercoaster task, though, and she’s so down to earth, really level headed, very diplomatic and I just feel that she would gel so well with Lord Sugar. I have every faith in her. She’s always contributing and likes to stay out of a lot of the drama, the arguments and the animosity.
Were there lots of fights, then?
I’ve never been an avid fan of The Apprentice, but I watched it last year and I felt that some of the candidates were a bit dry – a bit beige and bland. This year, there’s lots of spice, there’s lots of personality and egos, and I think it’s proved to be quite entertaining. It’s been quite interesting to be a part of it. I like arguing and debating, and the other candidates were up for it. I thought it was fab.
What prompted you to apply to the series and what’s next for you?
I always wanted to have my own business. I came from Harrods, so I’ve had this luxury experience and wanted to extend that. My business was about a luxury concierge app – about developing a concierge service on mobile devices. It needed a lot of investment, so now I’m going to stick to some of the premises of that business, but make it a bit more realistic with that investment.
I loved working on the programme, so I’ve been approached by different people for different opportunities, so I would never rule out doing more media work. I definitely want to focus on the business, but at the same time I’m utterly open to offers that come my way. Let’s see what happens.
The Apprentice continues every Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One