The Apprentice 2013: Jason Leech in the firing line after bungled matchmaking challenge

 

Jason Leech was fired from The Apprentice after he failed to win the heart of Lord Sugar over a bungled matchmaking challenge.

Viewers saw the Oxford graduate become the first contestant ever to abandon his role as a project manager in the show.

And Leech was shown no love by Lord Sugar at the end of a task to design a dating website, which saw him step down as team leader after a coup by Luisa Zissman on the first day.

He found himself in the boardroom with Zissman and Francesca MacDuff-Varley after their site Friendship & Flowers, aimed at over-50s, failed to impress against the rival team's site for young professionals, Cufflinks, run by Jordan Poulton.

Leech said: "If we'd carried on with me as PM the following day I think Luisa would have bitten off half of me by breakfast and Neil (Clough) would've finished me off for lunch. I wouldn't have been there by the afternoon."

Despite Lord Sugar pointing out Leech was the first Apprentice team leader ever to give up his role, the fired candidate said he would not mind if he was remembered for that.

He said: "I don't see why it should bother me. I took that decision carefully and I took it for the right reasons. If your team loses then you're quite clearly for the chop.

"After the day that Luisa and I had had, it was quite clear that we couldn't have another repeat of that the following day. Neil had become somewhat aggressive and he was certainly not about to follow my lead. He was mutinous."

Leech said the experience had sobered him compared to previous tasks: "You see me really with a cloud over me. I think I only made one joke in the whole programme. This was 'serious Jason' - I knew at the back of my mind that this would not go down well and was almost certainly my last week. But I think you have to be noble about these things."

But he insisted he had no hard feelings towards Zissman, who forced her way into the PM role after an argument about how long Leech took to choose the colours for their company logo.

He said: "She's incredible to be around, she's great to have a laugh with, but to work with her again? Ho, ho, ho, I don't know about that after this week. If Luisa ever said to me, 'Jason I need your help, will you please help me' then I'd be there in a flash. That's not something I would do for many people."

Leech hoped his pal Poulton would win the series but saw Myles Mordaunt as a serious contender for Lord Sugar's business investment, saying: "If I had £250,000 in my pocket doing nothing, I'd put it in Myles', here and now."

PA

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