Did Sir Alan Sugar show uncharacteristic indecision by choosing Alex, Lee, Claire and Helene to all fight out the final of The Apprentice?

The millionaire businessman departed from the norm of selecting two candidates for The Apprentice final by only firing Lucinda Ledgerwood after the interview process – and allowing the other four into the final.

Was it a masterstroke, or did Sir Alan blanch at the possibility of dumping the wrong apprentice? Or possibly he thought four candidates might make an even more explosive final?

Earlier, the five apprentices faced interviews by four of Sir Alan’s colleagues, which produced bewildering results.

Helene Speight swore continuously, but appealed to them as a battler; Lee McQueen’s lie about his education history was exposed; Alex Wotherspoon struggled to find anything interesting to say about himself; Claire Young impressed the most, but her big mouth was roundly criticised; Lucinda, however, was told by one interviewer that she was ‘unemployable’.

Birmingham City FC managing director Karren Brady said of Claire: “If you don’t give her a job, I will!” Possibly though there won’t be any openings at the recently demoted Premier League football club.

Alex dobbed in Lucinda in the boardroom by revealing in a personal conversation that she’d told him she wasn’t sure she was right for the job, or even wanted it.

Sir Alan said of Lee’s dodgy CV: “Big mistake, puts into doubt everything else you’ve achieved in this process.”

Ultimately though, he turned on posh Lucinda: “You’re a very clever lady, but can you channel it? You’re a little bit too zany for me – you’re fired!

Then Sir Alan dropped the bombshell: “Claire, I don’t know if I could put up with you, keep up with you. You don’t listen, that’s your biggest problem. Fortunately, for you I’m going to let you stay. I’m going to let you all stay.

“All four of you are in the final.”