He's fired - and this time it's kosher

By Craig Silver, May 30, 2008

The nice Jewish boy of The Apprentice on BBC1 finally lost his chance of a six-figure salary with Sir Alan Sugar’s Amstrad company this week when he was sacked.

But the self-styled natural-born salesman, who repeatedly avoided dismissal by narrow margins, is still quids in: he has sold his story to a national newspaper.

Michael Sophocles, 24, refused to give the JC an interview after his dismissal for an embarrassing series of gaffes in which he tried to sell rental time in a Ferrari.

Having failed to find a taker in a quiet street behind Harrods, he parked it next to scruffy market stalls in Portobello Road, and even resorted to chasing his one hopeful down the street.     

He referred our inquiry to the programme’s PR firm, Taylor Herring. A spokesman joked that Mr Sophocles had signed a “two-figure” deal for his story. 

The former Highgate schoolboy will have a lot to talk about. His gaffes became highlights of the show as he attempted to kosher a chicken by getting it blessed by a halal butcher and directed a TV advert without mentioning the product.

He excused the chicken fiasco by claiming he was “only half-Jewish”, despite having a Jewish mother.

His dismissal came as no surprise to former contestant Ruth Badger, who later told him on the BBC2 sister series The Apprentice — You’re Fired: “I thought you maybe should have gone three weeks ago, but your begging technique in the boardroom proved to be a big strength.”

Mr Sophocles reflected on some “horrific” moments in the competition. He admitted: “It was 100 per cent right that I went this week. But I think Sir Alan saw something in me that was similar to him at my age and that can only be a good thing.”

Another former Jewish Apprentice contestant, Sam Judah, reflected: “His head seemed well and truly down and it looked like the competition has taken its toll. Michael has finally run out of his nine lives.”

Last updated: 10:28am, May 30 2008