by Colleen Last, MSN Celebrity & TV Editor

Sir Alan Sugar Speaks
And not surprisingly, The Apprentice boss doesn't mince his words – Sir Alan slams last year's candidates and tells MSN that this year’s bunch are tougher and more competitive...
Apprentice host Sir Alan Sugar
On agreeing to return for series 3 of The Apprentice:
“I came on record last year saying that I was somewhat disappointed by the calibre of candidates in the second series. Part and parcel of me agreeing to do a third series was that the calibre of the candidates needed to be looked at very carefully before we became 'Big Brother on wheels'.”
On this year’s candidates:
“There is a very high calibre of people in this series. We came up with a new system for choosing people and that’s why we’ve got a great bunch this time. There’s a good mixture. Obviously we need some characters for the TV – a bunch of boring academics wouldn’t make good television.”
A selection Apprentice series 3 candidates
On firing the wrong person:
“There have been dilemmas – not knowing who should go. In the early stages it’s tough, when you see the complete programme afterwards you think, ‘Had I seen this I wouldn’t have fired them’. Particularly last year, the poor fellow in the first show, Ben, he went too early. Looking back at the footage, he had legs.”
On first impressions:
“I try not to make decisions based on first impressions. But it’s hard, sometimes it’s not till you actually watch it back and see what goes on and see how some people are stitched up by others. Fortunately in this process we have 12 weeks for people to show their true colours. It is a 12-week job interview.”
On choosing Michelle Dewberry over Ruth Badger in last year’s final:
“There are a lot of regrets about last year, maybe turning up was the biggest regret! I’m in an awkward situation in having to bite my tongue, that’s the best thing I can say at this moment.”
A selection Apprentice series 3 candidates
On previous winners’ achievements:
“Tim Campbell (series 1 winner) is a wonderful fellow, a role model and a great champ. Last year I wasn’t particularly impressed with the candidates. I always have the problem of wondering if they are here for the right reason and as you’ve seen, some of them try to capitalise on the fact that they’ve been on the television. The power of the television is massive. People from all walks of life are taken out of a normal job, and then suddenly they see themselves splashed on screen, they see the amount of attention that is paid to them – sometimes they go in the wrong direction.”
On being better than the American version of The Apprentice, which features Donald Trump:
“When you’re on a winner, you stick to the winner. You polish it and enhance it and try to make it more interesting to the public. Keep it simple; don’t fall to the temptation of changing things just for the sake of changing things. I’ve watched the American series and they’ve made the fatal error of trying to change things just for the sake of it and it backfired. What you’re going to see here is tougher tasks, better people and a very clear picture for the viewer. We’ve polished a great product.”
The Apprentice airs on BBC1 on Wednesdays at 9pm.