Why did Reece leave The Apprentice? His surprise exit explained

Reece Donnelly has reportedly been axed from the show

Reece Donnelly in The Apprentice boardroom
(Image credit: BBC)

Reece Donnelly disappeared from The Apprentice with little explanation, leaving viewers asking the question 'why did Reece leave The Apprentice?'

The Apprentice is well underway, with a group of budding entrepreneurs battling for the approval of Lord Sugar and the chance to win a six-figure salary job as his apprentice. 

Now that The Apprentice 2023 candidates are settled into The Apprentice house, viewers have a better idea of who could go all the way and who will be leaving the show. But a recent episode left fans in shock after it was revealed that candidate Reece Donnelly had dropped out.

Why did Reece leave The Apprentice?

Reece Donnelly was reportedly axed from The Apprentice for drinking alcohol on a flight to Dubai. A source told MailOnline, "Producers were unimpressed when he had several alcoholic drinks on the flight even though he was told not to."

In the episode, the candidates had been tasked with a corporate away day for a high-end client in Dubai. By the time the flight had landed, Reece was reportedly so drunk that he was unable to take part in the show and had to be sent home.

A source told the Sun, "The Apprentice has never had anything quite like this happen before. It’s the first one someone has been shown the door in the contest by someone other than Lord Sugar.

"But producers take health and safety extremely seriously and have a duty of care to all the candidates. Having him take part in a task when he was unfit to do so was something they simply couldn’t contemplate."

Reece's exit came as a shock to viewers after he was seen heading to the airport with the other candidates, only to not appear on the show later on.

At the end of the show, Lord Sugar said, "As you know Reece wasn’t able to take part in the task and has subsequently left the process."

Viewers were later told that Reece had to leave the series for "health reasons".

What has Reece said?

Reece maintains that he left the show for health reasons, telling the Sun: "I was unable to complete the task in Dubai for health reasons and therefore I could not continue on The Apprentice.

"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the show and I’m looking forward to watching my fellow candidates in the rest of the series.

"My goal of being on The Apprentice was to showcase that Scotland has amazing businesses and entrepreneurs, I really hope I’ve done that.

"I’m so grateful for my time with Lord Sugar and the team."

What have the BBC said?

A spokesperson for The Apprentice has said: "Reece was unable to continue in the process, this was discussed and agreed between Reece and programme-makers."

They have not commented on reports that Reece was asked to leave due to drinking on the flight to Dubai.

What is Reece doing now?

Reece is now back at his job as director of the Theatre School of Scotland, in Glasgow. He will not be re-joining the show.

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.