Claude Littner returns to his role as chief interrogator as the final five candidates get the grilling of their life in this week’s The Apprentice.

Richard Woods, Vana Koutsomitis, Joseph Valente, Charleine Wain and Gary Poulton are given just 24 hours to perfect their business plans before they face questions from Lord Sugar’s crack team of advisers in the final interview stage of the process.

The Apprentice



The final five Apprentice candidates (Boundless/BBC)

 

One by one the remaining potential business partners must go under the spotlight before they’re whittled down to just two finalists.

With Claude, Mike Soutar, Claudine Collins and new face Linda Plant giving them the third degree, it isn’t long before accusations of delusion, bluffed CVs and nonsense business plans begin.

The Apprentice



Joseph and Claude get down to the nitty-gritty (Boundless/BBC)

 

A change of appearance for one candidate leaves Claude in shock, and while he aces a quiz on Lord Sugar’s book, the candidate fails to impress when he flirts with another interviewer.

Claude continues to show no mercy as one candidate foolishly pre-empts his questions and another’s naive dream of going global is brought crashing down to earth.

The Apprentice



New adviser Linda Plant tries her best to out-do Margaret Mountford (Boundless/BBC)

 

A quick call to one candidate’s referee uncovers an unaccounted-for 597 staff, when his claim he managed 600 people turns out to be a slight exaggeration.

Finally one candidate assumes the foetal position and calls for his mummy after a brutal bout makes him believe his verbose business plan has guaranteed a boardroom exit.

The Apprentice



Richard faces an uphill struggle over his mountaineering idioms Boundless/BBC)

 

After being debriefed on his colleagues’ findings, it’s up to Lord Sugar to pluck the potential money-makers from among the candidates’ shattered dreams.

For three candidates, it’s game over and goodbye to £250,000, but two remain to battle it out and hear the dream phrase: “You’re hired!”

The Apprentice screens on BBC One at 9pm.