Lord Sugar fired a candidate in The Apprentice before they even made it to the boardroom showdown in a first for the show on Wednesday night – and then booted out a second hopeful.

Marketing manager and aspiring luxury fashion retailer Robert Goodwin was told ‘you’re fired’ before his project manager Scott McCulloch even had the chance to bring him back into the boardroom to fight for his place in the show.

Robert Goodwin

Robert Goodwin (BBC/Boundless)

And after that sacking Scott too was brought back to justify his own position, with Lord Sugar sending him packing.

He led the men’s team in a task to create an item of wearable technology, but they lost when they failed to pick up any orders, while the women’s team – led by marketing officer and fashion retailer Nurun Ahmed – managed 250 orders for their solar-panelled jacket.

Scott McCulloch

Scott McCulloch (BBC/Boundless)

Robert had refused to take on being project manager for the task, even though he had been asked to step up at the beginning of the episode by Lord Sugar.

And the no-nonsense show boss was determined Robert should take the rap early on, even before dragging a trio from the losing team into the boardroom to face his wrath as usual.

Lord Sugar said: “I get the funny feeling we’re going to get finger pointing at one particular individual, Robert, for not taking up the project manager’s position and it would be an easy way out for everybody to be saying Robert this and Robert that.

“So I’m going to make that much easier for everyone – Robert, I don’t like people who bottle out. So Robert – you’re fired.”

The boys' team

The boys’ team (BBC)

Robert admitted: “When Lord Sugar was saying, ‘I’m going to make it easy for you,’ I kind of thought, ‘Yes! I’m going to get away with it and I’m going to be sent back to the house’.”

The usually brightly-dressed 25-year-old went on: “Wearable technology doesn’t interest me, I don’t know much about it. If it was luxury fashion, I would have gone 100% in. I did try and hide and stay low, even with what I wore – I wore a grey suit, which I wouldn’t normally wear, to try to stay low.”

Katie Bulmer-Cooke enjoying the girls' treat
Katie Bulmer-Cooke enjoying the girls’ treat (BBC/Boundless)

He said: “Being there and having Lord Sugar talk to you and telling you to shut up is an incredible experience.”

Lord Sugar went on to make it a double elimination after the boardroom battle proper by giving the boys’ project manager the chop too.

Scott said: “Apprentice candidates are a very rare bunch so when you’ve got all of those egos flying around a room it can be difficult to manage. I was a typical Apprentice viewer, I sat at home thinking I could do that, but it’s a very different thing being there.”