Did The Apprentice slip a pinch of fakery into its mocktail challenge?

Did The Apprentice slip a pinch of fakery into its mocktail challenge? Expert who appeared in programme was ‘invited to change her mind by programme-makers’

Team Infinity, project-managed by cocktail bar owner Sophie Wilding, was humiliated in Lord Sugar’s boardroom after failing to buy enough stock to make, market and sell their peach and spiced non-alcoholic pale ale

For rivals on The Apprentice, the challenge is simple – impress Lord Sugar. Or at least that is how it is portrayed in the hit BBC show.

However, it seems that the sharp-elbowed wannabe tycoons competing for the peer’s financial backing also need to win over the programme’s producers, who have the power to portray them in a positive or negative light.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that an expert who appeared in last week’s programme was allegedly invited to change her mind by programme-makers.

One source claimed the suggested manipulation amounted to ‘fakery’.

The episode saw two teams compete to produce the best non-alcoholic beverage.

Team Infinity, project-managed by cocktail bar owner Sophie Wilding, was humiliated in Lord Sugar’s boardroom after failing to buy enough stock to make, market and sell their peach and spiced non-alcoholic pale ale.

But sources have told The Mail on Sunday that an expert who had initially been filmed placing their order with Team Infinity – which also included Navid Sole and Stephanie Affleck – was later persuaded to back out.

Viewers did not see the alleged U-turn.

Following a boardroom grilling, Lord Sugar fired Navid Sole.

There is no suggestion that the peer is aware of how producers are said to edit the show. It is understood that the hospitality expert was also asked by producers to re-record feedback that she had given about a contestant from Team Infinity, but to attribute it to another of the competitors.

A witness said: ‘It was pretty obvious that they already knew who they wanted to win. The whole process is manipulated in favour of the “chosen ones”.

Sources have told The Mail on Sunday that an expert who had initially been filmed placing their order with Team Infinity – which also included Navid Sole and Stephanie Affleck – was later persuaded to back out.

‘Once filming had finished, one of the producers said to one of the experts, “That was all really good, but could you say it again but this time to another contestant?” It felt very uncomfortable and manipulated.’

The onlooker added: ‘It appears to be very much about making explosive television, but the business side of things is seemingly not taken seriously. It’s quite disappointing.’

Another source claimed that the contestants are urged by the production team to ‘fight it out with each other’ and told that heated arguments rather than calm collaboration will enhance their chance of winning.

The latest series of The Apprentice is the most popular since 2011, attracting about five million viewers.

A spokesman for the programme ‘categorically’ denied that producers influenced ‘the outcome of the tasks’, insisting that ‘the experts’ decisions and opinions are their own’. 

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