The Apprentice’s Latest Casualty: My Firing Was “Unjustifiable”

The latest victim of Lord Sugar’s dreaded finger of doom spoke to loaded.

Elliot Van Emden from The Apprentice.
Elliot Van Emden From The Apprentice.

Elliot van Emden, the Apprentice candidate who arrived on the show with the tag of super-soft “Tory boy” has admitted a lack of killer instinct may have led to him getting the elbow.

Van Emden spent less than a year working as an intern for former Prime-Minister-turned-national-hate-figure David Cameron, with the Daily Mail even suggesting the lawyer was too “soft” for the world of politics.

And he became the third casualty of the series after the boy’s team – Graphene: the worst team name in Apprentice history – led by new addition and Michael Caine glasses-twin Michaela Wain, fell woefully short in a task all about robots. The challenge was simple enough: design a prototype robot to sell to major retailers along with a smaller toy robot product. Alright, maybe it was a bit trickier than most.

The challenge was simple enough: design a prototype robot to sell to major retailers along with a smaller toy robot product. Alright, maybe it was a bit trickier than most.

But while the boys managed to bag their desired toy to sell to the retailers ahed of the girls of Vitality spread, their prototype robot was a disaster from the off. “It went wrong at the very beginning choosing the over 60s market,” Elliot told loaded. “The girls chose the youth market and that held much more appeal.”

After one half of the boys team settled on a yoga-loving robot for OAPs called Jeffrii, the other half of the team took it upon themselves to rename it Siimon and then spent hours arguing over what should feature on the board that was supposed to go alongside their pitch.

Vitality weren’t much better, but they at least decided to settle on a youth market and didn enough in the pitch to earn some big sales.

The Apprentice.
The Apprentice

With time running out to put their pitch board together, Graphene settled on a terrible, difficult to read colour scheme for a board that was half empty and riddled with spelling errors – it looked like something cooked up by a new graduate heading off to their first big interview.

“We also produced the worst board for a pitch in Apprentice history. You couldn’t read it, the spelling was bad and the logo wasn’t great,” Elliot admits. “We spent a bit of time talking about the name change. Charles and I wrote down exactly everything that should have gone on the board. You saw me tell Michaela that we were running out of time.”

Unfortunately, viewers also saw Elliot do little to actually fix the problem. They also saw him and the rest of the gang flounder in the pitches. Mainly because their robot was crap. “In the pitch, the actual robot itself didn’t have the right mix of functions and that was down to Harrison,” he admits.

Teammate Harrison was only too happy to throw Elliot under the bus for this particular task, claiming he didn’t contribute much in the way of anything to their work but Elliot thinks the opposite is true. “The problem wasn’t the name change, it was that the robot was already programmed to say Jeffrii which was wasn’t great – I blame Harrison for that.”

Harrison evidently should have assumed his ideas would be labelled crap – they have been for much of the series so far. “He saw me as a threat and decided to take his shot in the boardroom,” Elliot told us, putting a positive spin on what amounted to workplace bullying.

Brought back alongside Harrison and Michaela, there was only ever likely to be one outcome, though Elliot has no regrets about his softly-softly approach. “I’m quite considered in what I say, I’m not afraid of articulating my viewpoint but I’m not going to talk for the sake of talking,” he said.

Given The Apprentice’s propensity for enlisting loudmouths as candidates, that may have been his first mistake. 

“But I was up against two very big characters. Lord Sugar felt I had contributed less to the task. It was unjustifiable. I was on the team that chose the small robot but didn’t get to sell it and then I was on the team selling the big robot but never got a chance to choose its functions.”

Elliot isn’t about to give up though – he’s moving forward with the plan for the business he planned to set up with Lord Sugar and has big plans for the future. loaded wishes him the best of luck.

The Apprentice continues next week

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.