Axed Apprentice candidate Richard Woods believes Claude Littner’s role as Lord Sugar’s aide disadvantaged him in the interview round as he had a skewed view of him as ‘manipulative’.
In the episode, Claude called Richard ‘slippery’, ‘political’ and guilty of having an ‘agenda’, but Richard said that’s because he had only seen that side of him on tasks.
The Apprentice’s Richard Woods (BBC)
He said: “Karren (Brady) followed me on the shampoo task and we did the best campaign that had ever happened. Karren followed me on the property task where we sold more than ever has been sold before, £4.2 million.
“Then Claude followed me on task eight where Selina (Waterman-Smith) was project manager of the kids’ party and I basically had to manipulate her into stopping spending money, shout at Vana because she was being useless in the kitchen, and ultimately we won the day because Richard was stingey.
“I had to be totally political and backhanded to make sure we won, but all Claude sees is manipulative Richard.
Richard ran the kitchen with an iron-fist on the children’s party planning task (Boundless/BBC)
“I’m trying to tell him I’m brilliant, and he’s like, ‘No, you’re not’.”
But the 31-year-old is willing to let bygones be bygones with his tough interrogator now he’s left the process, joking: “Claude, can we hug it out?”
Viewers watched in morbid fascination as another interviewer put the screws on Richard, where Linda Plant repeatedly called his business plan ‘bulls***’.
New adviser Linda Plant tries her best to out-do Margaret Mountford (Boundless/BBC)
“I thought I might be able to have a little flirt with Linda, but I wasn’t able to get a single word in edgeways, she slapped me about, turned me around and sent me out. It felt like I’d just been told off by the headmaster,” he revealed.
Richard then had to swallow Lord Sugar’s decision to pick Vana Koutsomitis as a finalist over him.
“I genuinely think that I had the business plan to beat Joseph (Valente) as Vana’s was quite complicated. I thought Lord Sugar was going to go for it. I could smell the final, I really could, it was so close, so close, but I cocked it up. I didn’t perform in those interviews and boardroom,” he admitted.
Claude Littner was not impressed with Richard (BBC)
“The type of person that I am, being one of the best is not enough for me. I want to be the best,” he confessed.
Even after exiting the competition his rivalry with candidate Charleine Wain was still burning bright.
“Can I point out that I went out in the final three stage, and she went out at the final five stage,” he said.
Richard couldn’t charm Charleine or this cheese shop owner (Boundless/BBC)
He explained: “I expected to clash with someone in the process. Charleine was basically the perfect example of someone I would ruck with. Someone that was as competitive as me, as fiery as me, as manipulative. Basically she’s the female version of me, but Welsh, and that’s my worst nightmare, competing against yourself.”
Richard’s determination to win led him to hide the severity of three mini strokes he had in the months before the process from show bosses.
He was signed off by a doctor for the show and received support from producers during filming, but has since had 21 injections in his left eye to save his vision.
The final five Apprentice candidates: just Vana and Joseph remain (Boundless/BBC)
“I don’t like showing weakness and I don’t like the idea of what happened to me being why I didn’t get on the show, of defining me,” he said of his reason behind not telling the show.
“Unfortunately it’s come out now, which is annoying.”
Richard now his money on Vana to win as she fights it out against Joseph for the £250,000 investment in The Apprentice final on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.