The Apprentice's Lewis Ellis SLAMS BBC's 'contestant welfare' and likens life in the house to PRISON

The Apprentice candidate Lewis Ellis has slammed the hit BBC show for not looking out for the welfare of its contestants.

Lewis was fired by Lord Sugar on Wednesday’s episode of The Apprentice, missing out on a spot in Sunday’s final.

The Digital Marketing Project Manager, 28, has now claimed that living in the contestant’s mansion was ‘like a prison’ and even says his hair fell out due to stress.   

Tough: The Apprentice candidate Lewis Ellis has slammed the hit BBC show for not looking out for the welfare of its contestants

Tough: The Apprentice candidate Lewis Ellis has slammed the hit BBC show for not looking out for the welfare of its contestants

‘If the BBC want to ensure they don’t end up with a reality show tragedy they need to improve contestant welfare and support,’ he said in an interview following his firing.

Lewis pointed to the deaths of reality show stars such as ITV2 Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis who was found dead in a park near his London home in March.

Thalassitis’ death sparked calls for improved aftercare for people who take part in reality TV shows. 

‘Lord Sugar says the Apprentice is different to Jeremy Kyle and Love Island yet these are the shows where people have been abused and have killed themselves,’ Lewis insisted. 

You're fired: Lewis was fired by Lord Sugar on Wednesday's episode of The Apprentice, missing out on a spot in Sunday's final

You’re fired: Lewis was fired by Lord Sugar on Wednesday’s episode of The Apprentice, missing out on a spot in Sunday’s final

The Apprentice star went onto discuss life in the North London mansion where the contestants all live for the duration of filming. 

‘Life in the house is like a big prison and three to four hours’ sleep is normal,’ claimed Lewis. ‘Afterwards you are offered an appointment with a counsellor but that’s it. 

Banned items include phones, iPads, laptops – and even diaries – as wannabes are totally cut off from the outside world.  ‘You couldn’t go out, you could only occasionally watch TV. There was no real warning what it would be like in the house,’ he continued. 

‘Day to day life was miserable. On task day you’d be up at 3 or 4 in the morning and not get back until 11pm. Getting four hours sleep was normal.’

Hard process: The Digital Marketing Project Manager, 28, has now claimed that living in the contestant's mansion was 'like a prison' and even says his hair fell out due to stress

Hard process: The Digital Marketing Project Manager, 28, has now claimed that living in the contestant’s mansion was ‘like a prison’ and even says his hair fell out due to stress

An Apprentice spokesperson told MailOnline: 'The candidates are all briefed about the process of the show before they start filming. The in-house producers' role is to both provide support during filming as well as ensuring the candidates all follow the rules of the competition for fair participation throughout.' 

Regarding the early starts, they added: ‘Some tasks require early starts, applicants to the show are advised of this before they agree to take part. 

‘Candidates have time off from filming each week and every year we provide gym facilities within the house. 

‘Candidates were also taken to the gym for exercise sessions by the producers. We provide all the candidate's food while they are in the house and cater for a wide range of individual food preferences.' 

Tragic: 'If the BBC want to ensure they don't end up with a reality show tragedy they need to improve contestant welfare and support,' Lewis said, pointing to the deaths of reality show stars such as ITV2 Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis (pictured)

Tragic: ‘If the BBC want to ensure they don’t end up with a reality show tragedy they need to improve contestant welfare and support,’ Lewis said, pointing to the deaths of reality show stars such as ITV2 Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis (pictured)

Lewis also said: ‘We were allowed one phone call home a week – for five minutes. If you had kids you were allowed 10 minutes. But a member of the production team would sit next to you. Prisoners get longer to talk to their loved ones.’

‘You are babysat 24/7 and followed to the toilet. Live-in producers would walk into the bathroom when you were getting ready. They would sleep outside your bedroom door. You get treated like a child’. 

The Apprentice spokesperson hit back with: ‘ 'There are strict rules about contact with the outside world to avoid cheating and everyone has to be treated in the same way as it is a competition. 

‘This is made clear to the candidates before they agree to take part. Additional contact with home is facilitated for candidates with children. 

‘We regularly facilitate extra contact with families for any candidate requesting it, so long as it does not interfere with the fairness of the competition.'  

Lewis alleged that crew members disrespected the candidates, claiming: ‘A number of candidates were unhappy with how they were spoken to. A driver taking people to a task started swearing and shouting at Dean – and scared the girls. HR had to come in and talk to him, but he was allowed to keep his job.’

The business owner went on to claim that his hair started falling out during filming. 

Lewis, who previously suffered alopecia when taking his Masters degree, said: ‘I noticed in week four I was losing my hair. I was getting a patch on the side of my head, then weeks later on the back of my head.’

An Apprentice spokesperson said: ‘Candidates are supported throughout filming with access to a private doctor should they have any medical issues.' 

Home: The Apprentice star has criticised the tough conditions imposed on the candidates while living in the North London mansion (pictured)

Home: The Apprentice star has criticised the tough conditions imposed on the candidates while living in the North London mansion (pictured)

Exhausted: 'Day to day life was miserable. On task day you'd be up at 3 or 4 in the morning and not get back until 11pm. Getting four hours sleep was normal,' Lewis said

Exhausted: ‘Day to day life was miserable. On task day you’d be up at 3 or 4 in the morning and not get back until 11pm. Getting four hours sleep was normal,’ Lewis said 

Stress: The business owner went on to claim that his hair started falling out during filming

Stress: The business owner went on to claim that his hair started falling out during filming

Lewis continued: ‘Make-up people were covering it up for me and I was using some of the girls’ make-up. I hoped I’d be able to keep the condition under control, go to the gym, sleep and eat the kind of food I normally do. But that wasn’t the case.

‘And the stress made it worse. Off-camera production people would ask you negative questions to try to prompt you to say things about other candidates.’ 

A spokesperson for The Apprentice said: ‘Every show is a fair and balanced representation of events. Candidates' views are their own.'

Lewis has also hit out at Lord Sugar following an online spat three weeks ago after scenes showing Lewis stripping to his swimming shorts on the Finland task were aired.

Lewis’ tattooed chest and arms prompted Lord Sugar to tweet about how ‘horrific’ he believed the marketing manager looked, causing a barrage of hate from trolls online. 

Trolled: Lewis has also hit out at Lord Sugar following an online spat three weeks ago after scenes showing Lewis stripping to his swimming shorts on the Finland task were aired

Trolled: Lewis has also hit out at Lord Sugar following an online spat three weeks ago after scenes showing Lewis stripping to his swimming shorts on the Finland task were aired 

Criticism: Lewis' tattooed chest and arms prompted Lord Sugar to tweet about how 'horrific' he believed the marketing manager looked, causing a barrage of hate from trolls online

Criticism: Lewis’ tattooed chest and arms prompted Lord Sugar to tweet about how ‘horrific’ he believed the marketing manager looked, causing a barrage of hate from trolls online 

Idol: 'It is very hypocritical - being trolled by a person in a position of power on the show is not something I signed up to,' Lewis said

Idol: ‘It is very hypocritical – being trolled by a person in a position of power on the show is not something I signed up to,’ Lewis said  

Hitting back: Lewis responded to Lord Sugar's tweet

Hitting back: Lewis responded to Lord Sugar’s tweet

‘Lord Sugar has defended the show, saying ‘We give the best support’ – yet he personally trolled me on Twitter Lewis said.

‘It is very hypocritical – being trolled by a person in a position of power on the show is not something I signed up to. He needs to understand millions of people idolise him. His words have an impact way beyond what he may imagine.’ 

Lewis, of Blackburn, Lancs added: ‘Before I went on the show I idolised him. But they say never meet your heroes. To have my idol publicly slate me and then get everyone else join in was shocking, sad and hard to deal with.’  

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