Spectacle selling Gavin Winstanley became the third person to taste Lord Sugar’s wrath tonight, after he was fired from the show following his team’s failure to locate products for the Savoy hotel. OTB spoke to him to ask about friction with Vincent (or ‘Billy Bullshitter’), dry cleaners specialising in top hats, if he yet knows what a Cloche really is and whether he fancied Karren Brady..
Hi there Gavin. How you doing?
Not too bad, thank you.
You must be disappointed to have lost by £8?
Yeah, I was gutted. It was actually £7.51, which is very difficult to take
There were a lot of big ego’s in your team this week. Do you think people undermined your position as project manager?
No because there was nothing to do but call up suppliers and ask whether or not they have items in stock. The task had nothing to do with egos. People will probably say that we should’ve left the hotel earlier to locate items but you can’t leave if you have nowhere to go. After two hours, we still didn’t have a destination to go to or any suppliers, but people, like Vincent, starting saying ‘we need to leave’. I said to him ‘where do you want to go to then?’ That was the end of the conversation, as we had nowhere to go, but he wanted to leave so we did, which just led to us circling London with no destination.
Could you have improved what you did in your approach to the task?
At the beginning, we were given a copy of yellow pages. In Liverpool we only get one. I didn’t realise London had 25 million Yellow Pages. I would have thought someone in the group would have realised that we were all looking at completely different ends of London when trying to source suppliers in the first place.
So you don’t think you could have controlled the group better then?
There’s wasn’t really anything to control, all we had to do was go out and find people who had these items. There was only one person, Vincent, saying we needed to go out. If you watch the episode you’ll realise that at no point does anyone give me any negative feedback. No one suggested going here or there, because nobody had a clue of a better way of doing things.
Tom said in the boardroom that you appeared to give up at points throughout the day. Do you agree with this statement?
Not at all, throughout the whole day we kept going, and I actually closed a deal for the team very late on with 20 minutes to spare, buying tea much cheaper than what the other team paid for it. Tom is one of these people who’d say something like that in the boardroom but throughout the day he won’t dare bring it up because he doesn’t really give any feedback.
I noticed some friction between you and Vincent, particularly in the boardroom.
Vincent was just sticking up for himself, he wanted to stay in the process and I can’t blame him. He’s right to defend himself and I’ve got no problem with that. We did have friction because it appeared that Zoë wasn’t going to be questioned (by Lord Sugar) although she didn’t actually do anything on the task- she didn’t close any deals, or make any phone calls. Once I’d realised she was safe, I had to turn onto Vincent, and that’s what happened really.
I don’t know if you know, but he was labelled as ‘Billy Bullshit’ by fellow contestant Ellie this week. Do you think this is an appropriate title for him?
No, I think he just has a certain way of doing things. He’s an ultimately confident guy, which sometimes gets the best of him, and he wants to do absolutely everything because he’s so sure of himself. Ellie is right though, she was working with him that day, and if she labelled him ‘Billy Bullshit’ then I believe her. Her feedback in the boardroom was one of the reasons I brought Vincent back.
What was going through your mind when you went into the dry cleaners to buy a top hat?
I went to the dry cleaners to ask them if they knew anywhere that sold the product. Obviously, the way it appeared, it looked to some people like I went into a dry cleaners asking if they sold top hats. Being an educated person, I know you don’t go into a dry cleaners thinking they do anything but dry cleaning, but as they were called Top Hat dry cleaners, for all I knew they could have had a prop in the window, because of the name, or they could have cleaned top hats, or know somewhere that sold them. By that point we still had no idea where to buy one, and none of the other candidates said we shouldn’t go in, so we gave it a punt.
What do you think of the format of the show this time? Do you think the prize of money to set up your own business is better than a job with Lord Sugar?
That’s the only reason I went for it this year, I wouldn’t have been involved in the process at all if it was just about going to work for Alan Sugar. I don’t want to work for anyone, I have my own business selling glasses online and this is what I wanted to bring Alan Sugar into, helping me to grow my business faster than it is currently going.
So you wanted Alan to get into the specs trade?
Yeah, I was just going to stick with what I know and he was very interested in the idea. He was just going to invest £250,000 into my business and bring it to a national level. We already send glasses internationally but we just have to raise our profile here in the UK.
Staying on the theme of Lord Sugar, how was it being in the boardroom?
I was alright with him and enjoyed it. On the occasions we were going back and forth with Alan Sugar I really enjoyed it, especially some of the jokes that he cracks every now and then – he’s a really funny guy. There’s a lot of tension in there, but he’s just a normal fella that you could probably just get chatting to in the pub about the football.
Have you learned anything from the experience then? Is there anything you’re going to take away from it?
I think the biggest thing is that I’ve learned what you can achieve in a day. By 9am you’d have a business set up that wasn’t there the previous day. That’s what we did, making our juice and selling it. And I know what a cloche is now, that’s a very important thing to know.
Ha! Agreed – it’s always good to know what a cloche is! Does anyone in the group stand out for you?
I think the likes of Helen will do really well, I didn’t work with her but she’s was around the house and she’s very intelligent and organised. Ellie in my eyes should also do well, but I’m not sure if she will. She’s very straight talking and down to earth, and they’re the sort of values that I like.
How was it working with business mogul Karen Brady?
I personally tried to stay out her and Nick’s way, I wasn’t there to schmooze them and ask them what they had for their tea. I didn’t want to get on a personal level with them, I just wanted to let them get on with their job, and didn’t get much interaction to be honest. The only time I spoke to them was in the boardroom, where if they’d ask me a question I’d answer it. But I didn’t approach them to try and impress beforehand
So did any of the guys in the group fancy her?
Ok, well thanks very much for you time. I wish you all the luck for the future.