Baroness Karren Brady has addressed the brutal interviews (Picture: BBC)
The notorious interview stage, in which Claude Littner returned alongside Linda Plant, Mike Soutar and Baroness Brady as Lord Sugar’s trusted advisors, saw an all-female final five for a second year in a row, as Marnie, Dani Donovan, Megan Hornby, Rochelle Anthony and Victoria Goulbourne reached the final hurdle.
However, the dreaded interviews proved to be more emotional than expected as both Dani and Victoria were reduced to tears during Baroness Brady’s interview with them.
Talking to Victoria about her business, it wasn’t long before she had to reach for the tissues over her numbers not adding up.
‘It’s a pretty big mistake,’ Baroness Brady pointed out, before Victoria burst into tears.
Not long later, Dani was the next to ask for the tissues, after telling Baroness Brady that she ‘didn’t think [she] would get this far’.
‘Don’t have faith in yourself?’ Baroness Brady questioned.
Dani was left tearful as she opened up about ‘holding herself back’ (Picture: BBC)
Victoria broke down in tears over her numbers (Picture: BBC)
‘To be perfectly honest, no, I just think I hold myself back a little back,’ a tearful Dani replied.
Viewers blasted Baroness Brady over the scenes, with one writing: ‘You’ve physically humiliated and made two women cry on the apprentice for what reason? Just to try and get some extra viewers? Shameful Karen. “set your sights high” so Karen can belittle them on national TV and make you cry.’
However, she’s now addressed the backlash, insisting she didn’t say ‘anything to her that was mean’.
The 54-year-old said: ‘The contestant got upset because I said to her that of all the candidates, I was the most disappointed in her business plan. That was the truth.
‘I didn’t say anything to her that was mean, I just said that out of everybody I was the most disappointed that her business plan was a letdown.
Marnie Swindells scored Lord Sugar’s investment (Picture: PA)
Even Lord Sugar addressed the interviews being ‘harsh’ (Picture: BBC/Fremantle Media/Ray Burmiston)
‘You know, when you forget to put the staff costs in, your stock costs, you get your rent costs wrong, it’s not a great way to start.
‘It is never deliberately set out to upset anybody, I would never want to do that.’
She continued to The Express: ‘Is [the show] easy all the time? No. Is business easy all the time? No, it isn’t. Do you have to have resilience to get through it? You absolutely do. I cannot tell you how hard it is to run your own business.’
Elsewhere during the interview episode, an iconic moment occurred that left viewers in stitches when Megan faced the wrath of Baroness Brady by calling her… Karren.
After facing a grilling over her business, Megan, ready to leave, said: ‘Thank you Karren.’
Baroness Brady quickly replied: ‘It’s Baroness Brady to you. My friends call me Karren.’
This comes after Lord Sugar vowed to make changes to the interviews stage, saying this year’s was ‘very harsh’.
‘I think we need to tone that down a bit. I found it hard to watch,’ he admitted.
He added to The Times: ‘Unfortunately when that was recorded, I wasn’t there.
‘Anyway, I’m not making any excuses. When I saw it in the end, I thought, “This is too harsh”, and we’re going to tone it down now.’
The Apprentice is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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‘I didn’t say anything to her that was mean.’