Derbyshire’s self-confessed Del Boy James Hill insists he has done Chesterfield proud after his eight-week run on The Apprentice.
James was told “you’re fired” by multi-millionaire businessman Lord Alan Sugar in last night’s episode of the hit BBC show.
Speaking to the Derbyshire Times this afternoon, the Havana Whites owner said: “It’s been a life-changing experience and I’m very happy with myself.
“Obviously I’m disappointed I didn’t win but I’m so grateful to have been part of such a brilliant thing.
“I’d like to think I’ve put Chesterfield on the map and done everyone proud.”
Over the last two months, James has raised plenty of smiles with his cheeky chappy persona and amassed a legion of fans.
He said: “The support has been overwhelming and I’d like to say a massive thank you to every single person who’s backed me.”
Some of the other budding entrepreneurs on the show accused James of being “aggressive” and Lord Sugar himself branded the 26-year-old a “clown”.
But James, the son of Chesterfield businessman Jason Hill, said: “I was myself from day one and throughout the show.
“I like to have a laugh and a joke – I have a very bubbly personality.
“What you see with me is what you get.”
Before reluctantly firing him, Lord Sugar insisted James “will go somewhere”.
The episode saw James and the eight other budding entrepreneurs head for the countryside to sell a selection of products to visitors of the Royal Bath and West agricultural show.
Team Summit, led by James, made £25,000 less than Team Tanacity – spelling his downfall.
Lord Sugar said: “James, I see some sparks of entrepreneurialism, although you’re a little bit immature. You have got a lot to learn.
“I find it very hard to demoralise somebody with such fighting spirit – but James, what I want to say to you is this: culture that bit of good stuff about you, then you will go somewhere. But it is with regret that I’m going to have to say, James, you’re fired.”
James said: “Deep down I don’t think Lord Sugar wanted me to go – he could see my potential.”
James said his most memorable moment on The Apprentice was when he visited New York.
The candidates were tasked by Lord Sugar to launch a soft drinks brand in the Big Apple.
They had to design a bottle, create a tasty drink, develop a TV and digital campaign and finally pitch the product for an audience of the biggest names in the world of fizzy pop and fruit juices.
James and his team produced an “energy drink with bite” called Big Dawg – a name thought up by the funnyman.
He said: “I’ll never forget visiting New York – what a fantastic experience.”
Another classic James moment came when the contestants had to create their own video channel for YouTube.
Dressed in a red apron and chef’s hat, James co-hosted a humorous cookery show called Dare to Dine, which included plenty of cringeworthy culinary jokes and speed-eating contests.
Referring to the video, acerbic Lord Sugar said: “James, you say you have no qualifications.
“Well, you’ve got one – you come across as a grade A pillock.”
“I did it all for the team, Lord Sugar,” replied James.
So what next for James?
He said: “I’m just sitting back at the moment to refresh myself and I’ll see what opportunities come up.”