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Apprentice fans accuse the BBC of rigging Katie's walkout

Luffy | Thursday, June 07, 2007 | 0 comments
The BBC's reality show The Apprentice was embroiled in controversy today over allegations that the surprise resignation of one of the contestants was fixed.

Katie Hopkins, the power-dressing villainess in the series, was told she was through to next week's final, apparently only to quit a few moments later.

Today conspiracy theorists on the internet accused the BBC of rigging the programme and demanded that the full tapes be handed over under Freedom of Information laws.
Katie is faced with a tough decision from Sir Alan

They are suspicious that Ms Hopkins, 31, capitulated quite so readily under probing from Sir Alan Sugar, the millionaire businessman who each series hands out a £100,000 job to the winner. Ms Hopkins's decision to quit leaves Kristina Grimes, the favourite, and Simon Ambrose to battle it out in next week's final.

One internet blogger said today: "The Katie walk-out didn't convince me at all. It was horribly staged and edited.”

Another wrote: "There was something fishy going on with the editing there, unless 'SurAlan' [Sir Alan] is a closet medium and just knew Katie would change her mind."
But Sir Alan is not expecting Katie's answer when she turns down his offer

Several dissatisfied viewers suggested Ms Hopkins pulled out at a later stage, forcing scenes to be re-shot. One blogger wrote: "There was clever editing because Katie's cheeks were different shades of red each time the camera cut to her."

Paul Callaghan, a contestant who had a brief affair with Ms Hopkins said: "They can take up to 12 hours to shoot the boardroom scene. Loads of it is redone. You're often taken outside and told what to say before going back in."

It has been suggested Ms Hopkins, who earns £90,000 a year as a brands consultant, is more interested in fame than a job. It is understood she is offering to sell her story for £30,000 and has already hired the PR agency that looks after Robbie Williams.

Sir Alan said of Ms Hopkins: "It's clear she was there to win and show how clever she was but not for the actual job. I had doubts about her a few times in the past weeks."

The BBC was unavailable for comment.
Alpha female: Katie turned down a place on the show's final

As the no-nonsense host of The Apprentice, Sir Alan Sugar is used to telling wannabe tycoons they're fired. But this time it was his turn to be rejected.

Self-confessed "Alpha Female" Katie, said she was quitting because she did not want to uproot her two young children.

Afterwards reports say the unpopular contestant who has had affairs with three married men said: "This is one of the first times in my life probably that I've ever said no to a man."

Fellow contestants Simon Ambrose and Kristina Grimes will now battle it out for a £100,000 job with Sir Alan.

In a pre-recorded interview with radio station Heart FM Katie said of the final two contestants: "I'd like to smash a glass ceiling over Kristina. It's got to be Simon that wins."

In the show she bragged about her "ruthless streak" and when asked: "Have you ever lied or cheated to get what you want?" She replied: "Yes, to get someone else's husband because I wanted him."

Katie was photographed last week allegedly romping in a field with a married colleague, Mark Cross - although some said the photos were not as "snatched" as they appeared.

In the show Sir Alan had already fired Lohit Kalburgi and had to choose two candidates from Simon, Kristina, Katie and Tre.

He told Katie: "There are three other people in this room and it would really, really annoy me if you took this opportunity away from them."

She initially promised to move from her home in Exeter to London and Sir Alan said: "Katie, I don't want to lose my faith in mankind. You're in the final, you're staying. Just remember the things you've promised me."
Moment of passion: But was Katie really caught off guard?

The businessman is left reeling and his search for the Apprentice continues

But minutes later, after Sir Alan had fired Tre, he noticed Katie's glum expression. He told her: "You don't look like a lady who's just been told you've entered the final. Everyone would appreciate it if you spoke up."

The 31-year-old mother of two shocked him by saying: "I'm making a decision without having the courtesy to speak to the people who care for my children. It's a risk, it's a discourtesy to my parents."

A furious Sir Alan snapped back: "I haven't got time to wait for you to make a phone call."

After a dramatic pause, Katie said: "I don't want to make a fool of you or me. I think it's more important to get the courtesy to have my plans in place, so I'll have to stand down."

Her shock decision means next week's final will be a head-to-head between Simon, 27, a Cambridge graduate and Internet entrepreneur from London, and Kristina, 36, a single mother and pharmaceutical manager originally from Wicklow, Ireland.

The winner will be revealed on BBC1 next Wednesday.
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