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The final five contestants (Daniel, far right) line up to be interviewed by Lord Sugar’s trusted advisors

As part of his contract with The Apprentice, 27-year-old Daniel Lassman was forced to keep his mouth firmly shut  about the programme… until tonight, when he finally succumbed to Lord Sugar’s deadly ‘You’re fired!’ finger, writes Suzanne Baum.

A difficult challenge for Lassman – the 18th contestant to leave the TV show  – who came across as highly outspoken and opinionated throughout the programme.

However, now he has been fired by Lord Sugar, the Essex- born quiz manager is able to speak out about his experience on the show and explain how it was down to his “strength of character” that enabled him to cope.

“Being on the show and living it on a daily basis was like living through hell,” Lassman told Jewish News today. “I’m glad I went on the TV series but, looking back, every day was horrendous.

“It was tough as I felt I was having to prove myself all the time and it absolutely wore me down.”

Having gone through numerous auditions to ensure he was mentally strong enough to appear in the programme, Lassman found “inner strength” he didn’t realise he had to endure the difficult 11 weeks.

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Daniel gets a grilling from Claude Littner, one of Lord Sugar’s sidekicks.

“I am naturally a very strong-minded person and went in to the process determined not to make any friends as I knew I’d be fighting at times against them, so there was no point in being mates with any of the other candidates.

“I just isolated myself and went in to the house with an ‘I hate them all’ attitude, which I kept up throughout the show.”

However, Lassman, who described each task as a “learning process”, admitted he comfort ate to cope.

“In the house, my diet went out the window and I turned to food to help me deal with the stress I felt,” he said.

“I constantly found the other contestants were turning on me and I was determined I wouldn’t let them get on my nerves.

“It’s all about playing mind games and I believe I played the biggest and the best mind game, which got me as far as it did.”

The reason Lassman believes he was saved in the boardroom so many times was because “Lord Sugar had a soft spot for me”.

He said: “I gave him so many chances to fire me, yet he saw something in me he liked.”

When not being filmed, Lassman assures me every day was “just constant work. We had no time to socialise, didn’t get to see our families once and had absolutely no free time.”

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You’re Fired! Daniel learns his fate

Although he has enjoyed his new-found fame, Lassman – who refused the show’s offer of counselling following the show – is concentrating on his future.

“I may have lost out becoming Lord Sugar’s business partner, but the show has opened up numerous doors for me,” he acknowleges.

Although he refuses to dish the dirt on any of the contestants, Lassman is doubtful he will stay in touch with them, joking: “I doubt any of them will bother sending me a Chanukah card.”

Finally, I ask him what really happens at the end of the programme when the contestant is fired and is then filmed getting into a taxi.

“Exactly that,” he said.

“I got fired and then a taxi came to take me back to my Essex home. It was surreal.”

• The final of The Apprentice is on Sunday at 8pm on BBC One