LONDON, 30th April 2013: Award-winning and critically acclaimed series The Apprentice returns on Tuesday 7th May 2013 at 9pm on BBC One for a ninth season, as Lord Sugar and his advisors put 16 new candidates through the toughest business test going.
Viewers will be treated to a double dose of boardroom drama as the second episode airs on Wednesday 8th May, with the series then continuing on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One.
16 determined candidates will compete to stay out of the firing line for 12 weeks in a bid to win Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment. They must demonstrate business sense, creativity and leadership in order to impress Lord Sugar, Nick and Karren, but only one applicant will triumph and become Lord Sugar’s next business partner.
This year, the candidates will reveal their business ideas right from the start of the process, not only creating an additional level of competition between the applicants but also challenging them to prove they have the skills to succeed in the business they are pitching to Lord Sugar. Will those planning a catering business come out top in a food task? Or those pushing a sales–based business succeed in shaking hands on the best deal?
This year’s budding business partners come from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds, from catering, leisure and recruitment to property, medicine and academia.
East End boy and entrepreneur, Lord Sugar started from modest beginnings to build a global business empire worth millions.
He says: “This process is not about a job, it is about me ploughing £250,000 into a business. This is an unbelievable opportunity. For me to choose you, you’ve got to be brilliant.”
Lord Sugar is once again joined by his trusted advisors Karren Brady and Nick Hewer, who are on hand to observe the candidates throughout the process and report back on the successes and failures within each task.
As Lord Sugar greets the candidates in the boardroom for the first time, he explains what he expects from them in order for them to succeed from week to week:
“As you can see, I’ve got a pile of CVs here – it’s full of the usual BS. You know, ‘I’ll give 110%, I’m the greatest entrepreneur since sliced bread, failure’s not an option, I think outside the box, inside the bleeding box.’ All those usual clichés. I’m sick and tired of all that rubbish to be perfectly honest with you, because I believe actions speak louder than words. And it’s going to be actions that I’m going to judge you on. Now the aim of this process is to get your business plans in front of me. The tasks are there to test you and take you through every facet in business.”
The first task kicks off at midnight with Lord Sugar asking the candidates to sell a shipping container load of goods to London’s trade in just one day. From novelty items to household necessities, each team must find suitable buyers for their different product lines and the team that makes the most money from the day’s sales will be declared the winner. Split into boys vs. girls, which team will avoid a trip to the Losers’ Cafe in their first week? It’s a super-sized straight-forward selling task but Lord Sugar throws in a surprise twist right at the beginning, proving that the candidates can never be certain what to expect from the multi-millionaire tycoon.
The candidates will be put through their paces every week by a range of challenging tasks from creating and branding their own flavoured beer and selling caravans, to putting together a corporate away-day for some very big clients. At the end of each day they will go home to their luxury town house in Central London, enjoying a taste of the high-end lifestyle that a successful business can make a reality.
But, as always, it ends in the boardroom. After each task, the losing team will return to face Lord Sugar and battle it out to keep their place in the process, before one candidate will hear the infamous words ‘You’re Fired’.
The ever-popular companion show ‘The Apprentice: You’re Fired!’ will also return to air immediately after the main series on BBC Two. Host Dara O Briain will reflect on the fired candidate’s time on the show, asking for their insight on their best and worst moments, as they are interrogated by a panel of business experts and celebrity fans.
The official Apprentice website – bbc.co.uk/apprentice – will host candidate biographies and information about the series alongside preview clips of upcoming episodes. Also hosted on the site, The Apprentice super-fan, TV and radio presenter Matt Edmondson will catch up with each fired candidate for a weekly high pressure post-exit interview with a difference in Matt Edmondson’s Awkward Conversations. This year, YouTube superstars The Brett Domino Trio will join forces with Radio 1’s Dan and Phil for a one-off video introducing the new candidates in three minutes of catchy, original pop music, featuring excerpts from the candidates’ audition tapes.
You can catch up with all The Apprentice action on the official Apprentice Twitter (@bbcapprentice) and Facebook (facebook.com/BBCApprentice)
The Apprentice is a Boundless production for BBC One. Cate Hall is the Executive Producer; Francesca Maudslay is the Series Editor and Jo Wallace is the Executive Producer for the BBC.
After the first episode on Tuesday 7th May, The Apprentice will air on BBC One on Wednesdays at 9pm, from 8th May.
MEET THE GIRLS
Occupation: Dance and Entertainment Entrepreneur
Lives: Leeds, UK
A classically trained dancer, one of Francesca’s first jobs was teaching baby ballet at her local dance studios. She is now is the founder and director of a dance studio, a professional dance agency and a lookalike agency. She describes herself as determined, driven and fun, and quotes Debbie Moore and Arlene Phillips as the business figures she is most inspired by, for their creativity and vision. She cites being a hard-worker as her greatest strength, though admits she can be a ‘control freak’ at times.
She says: “I’m prepared to fight to the death to become Lord Sugar’s business partner.”
Occupation: Literacy and Education Company Director
Lives: Milton Keynes, UK
Married mother-of-three Jaz began her career as a teacher and is passionate about children’s education and learning. She believes her strengths to be her tenacity and determination, while her weakness is that she has no time for those that don’t share her business vision. Her interests include stand-up comedy and lifestyle photography.
She says: “I’m half machine. I can process things at a speed that is out of this world!”
Lives: London, UK
Born in Northern Ireland, Leah now lives in London and is kept busy by her work as a practising doctor. She is passionate about medicine and health and says her friends would describe her as caring, kind and professional, though she can be too ambitious.
She says: “I’m very hard working and feel I can bring youth, vibrancy, enthusiasm and a touch of class to any business I’m part of.”
Occupation: Retail Entrepreneur
Lives: St Albans, UK
Mother-of-one Luisa describes herself as confident, logical and outspoken and cites her greatest business achievement to be the ability to create new jobs through the success of her businesses. She lists her favourite business brands as Christian Louboutin and Virgin Atlantic for their strong brand identities. Her first job was as a Saturday girl in an estate agent and she now owns her own cupcake shop, baking website and electronics business.
She says: “I have the energy of a Duracell bunny, sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit, and a brain like Einstein.”
Occupation: Recruitment Manager
Lives: Rickmansworth, UK
Natalie’s first job was as a pub waitress and says her dad is her business inspiration, as he built his success from nothing through his strong work ethic. Her passions include fashion and money and she is also a trained jazz singer and qualified make-up artist. She says her friends would describe her as headstrong, determined and caring, though one of her most annoying habits can be interrupting people.
She says: “When it comes to business, I am the complete package and when it comes to sales, I’m the best.”
Occupation: Medical Rep
Lives: Wigan, UK
Rebecca would describe herself as authentic, generous and adventurous, though says she can be very impatient. Now working in medical sales, her first job was in a Post Office shop. She lists Alex Polizzi and Mary Portas as business figures that inspire her because they are willing to take on any challenge.
She says: “I’m a pretty tough person. I don’t let people walk all over me in life or in business. And if somebody crosses me, it’s game over.”
Lives: Bristol, UK
Malaysian-born Sophie says her greatest strengths are creativity and the ability to ‘think outside the box’, but her weakness is mental arithmetic. She first worked as a catering company waitress and at the age of 19, began running her own restaurant whilst still studying as a student. She is passionate about food and describes herself as innovative and intelligent.
She says: “I don’t have a multi-million pound business but what I do have is the raw talent, the drive and the competitive streak.”
Occupation: Entrepreneur and Make-Up Brand Owner
Lives: London, UK
Uzma describes herself as confident, creative and spiritual, though says she can lack patience. She has set up a non-profit organisation to help women reach out to one another in times of need and lists being nominated for an Asian Women of Achievement Awards as one of her greatest business achievements. She says the brand she is most inspired by is MAC, because they have created a product that most women think they can’t live without.
She says: “If I believe in something, I will go to the end to make sure it’s done.”
MEET THE BOYS
Occupation: Company Director
Lives: Cardiff, UK
Alex says his greatest strengths lie in design and calculations and he describes himself as passionate, hardworking and determined. He began his working life as a housekeeper in a hotel and started his first company at 19. He is inspired in business by brands such as Tom Ford and figures such as James Caan, and enjoys playing the guitar and sport shooting in his spare time.
He says: “I’m an old head on young shoulders. I believe that I’m the new breed of businessman that this process requires.”
Occupation: Historian and Property Entrepreneur
Lives: London, UK
Born in Athens, Jason says he has never been ‘formally employed’, instead remaining self-employed and a student throughout his career to date. His hobbies include gardening and croquet and he lists his passions as knowledge and language. He cites himself as a devotee of Question Time and says that the brands he has the most respect for are John Lewis/Waitrose and American Express, as they stand for quality and high-standard customer service.
He says: “Some people might come to this process with a game plan. I just feel my effortless superiority will take me all the way.”
Occupation: Business Analyst
Lives: London, UK
Jordan says his first experience in business was at the age of six, selling his family’s litter of kittens in the playground. He describes himself as optimistic, charismatic and calm under pressure, though he thinks he can also be unforgiving and finds it difficult to ask for help. He enjoys going to technology events and recording his own podcasts and is passionate about encouraging young people to start their own businesses.
He says: “I’ve worked in third world countries and first world countries. I know what it’s like to struggle to feed kids and I know what it’s like to fly in a private jet.”
Occupation: Health Drink Entrepreneur and Health & Safety Manager
Lives: Liverpool, UK
Kurt says his friends would describe him as intelligent, argumentative and ambitious. His first job was washing dishes as a kitchen porter and he says his greatest business achievement to date is running his own smoothie business after suffering many knock-backs and rejections.
He says: “I’m an alpha male; I always get my own way and know how to make people do what I want.”
Occupation: Marketing Company Co-Founder
Lives: Monaco, Monaco
Myles has lived in Monaco for the past 10 years and says that people would describe him as passionate, charming and determined, but he can be too much of a perfectionist. He was a professional racing driving for a short period of time and he now works in luxury brand marketing. He says the business figures that most inspire him are Bernie Ecclestone and Richard Branson, for their vision and commercial power.
He says: “I’m business perfection personified.”
Occupation: Regional Manager – Soccer Centres
Lives: Altrincham, UK
Neil says he would be described as focussed, determined and driven by those that know him well, though his weaknesses include being overly competitive and very opinionated. He is a Manchester United supporter and plays football regularly in an amateur league, having played semi-professionally in the past. One of his first jobs was in telesales, which he cites as the role that kicked off his career.
He says: “I’m here to win. If that means being tough and making tough decisions, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Occupation: Mexican Food Entrepreneur
Lives: Birmingham, UK
Tim lists his passions in life as food, travel, business and money, and the achievement he is most proud of is launching a business while still studying in his final year at university. He describes himself as happy-go-lucky, energetic and with a ‘never give up’ attitude, though admits he can lack focus. Moving up from his first job on a paper round to starting a leaflet distribution service before founding his catering company, Tim now wants to use business as a vehicle to bring new culinary experiences to people.
He says: “I’m definitely a team player. I’m not a lone ranger in any sense of the word.”
Occupation: CEO of Property Investment Company
Lives: London, UK
Zeeshaan, who grew up in Pakistan, believes his greatest strengths are that he is an eternal optimist, street-smart and well-connected. He says his weaknesses would include bossiness and that he can’t do something if his heart isn’t in it. Starting his career as a part-time waiter, he believes his greatest business achievement is still yet to come.
He says: “I’m a ‘Great’ of my generation. I’m an innovator and leader in business. I take inspiration from Napoleon; I am here to conquer.”
About The Apprentice
BAFTA Award-winning business series, The Apprentice, has previously had eight successful series as well as three series of the Young Apprentice.
As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards including a BAFTA in 2006 for Best Feature. It has also walked away with top TV gongs including accolades at the BPG TV Awards, Televisual Bulldog Awards, National Reality Television Awards and TV Choice Awards as well as nominations at the National Television Awards, BAFTA Craft Awards and BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards. The show has also received a Press Guild Award for series 6 and a TV Choice Award for Best Reality Show for series 7. In 2012, Young Apprentice won a BAFTA in the Reality & Constructed Factual category.
Last year, The Apprentice transmitted on BBC One over a 12 week period, with nearly seven million viewers tuning in to watch the final episode in which Ricky Martin became Lord Sugar’s new business partner.
It’s a one-of-a-kind interview process that is one of the toughest and most intense in the business and, with this year’s candidates as determined as ever to become Lord Sugar’s business partner, series 9 promises to be the most unpredictable yet.
The Apprentice series eight saw heavy-hitting wrestler Ricky Martin throw down in the boardroom and come away with Lord Sugar’s investment.
Series seven introduced the nation to Jedi Jim and his boardroom mind tricks, as well as being the first series to feature a business partnership with Lord Sugar as the winner’s prize, rather than a job offer.
Series six saw candidate Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs take metaphors to a new level revealing that he was not ‘a one trick pony’ but was, in fact, ‘a field of ponies’.
In series five, for the first time ever, The Apprentice saw one candidate pull out before the first task had even started.
Other highlights of past series include Lorraine Tighe’s ‘premonitions’, the romance between Kate Walsh and Philip ‘Pantsman’ Taylor, the brash defences of Claire Young and the boardroom bluffing of Jenny Celerier.
The memorable catchphrases from some of the candidates have put smiles on the faces of millions of viewers, including Melody Hossaini’s “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon”; Edward Hunter’s “Roll with the punches”; and Ricky Martin’s “I truly am the reflection of perfection”.
The business theatrics of Michael Sophocles and his kosher meat gaffe has made him one of the standout characters of the previous eight series, while the floundering failures of school teacher Noorul Choudhury had the nation screaming at the TV as he escaped the firing line on many occasions. Sandwich-seller Rocky Andrews failing in the catering task, Lee McQueen’s pterodactyl impression and, not forgetting, Raef Bjayou’s ability to “speak to prince or pauper” have all had the nation glued to their screens for the past eight years.
There have been two Comic Relief specials and one Sport Relief special of The Apprentice, all featuring stellar celebrity line ups. The Apprentice has spawned a number of columns and blogs in the national press and has been spoofed by comedians including French & Saunders, Charlie Brooker, Harry Hill and Dead Ringers.
In 2007, the BBC Two show Kombat Opera spoofed The Apprentice with Kombat Opera Presents…The Applicants. In 2009 renowned YouTube artist Cassette Boy created Cassette Boy vs The Apprentice, which has attracted over 4.7 million hits on YouTube to date.
About Lord Sugar
After leaving school in Hackney aged 16, Sugar started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £50. In 1968, he founded Amstrad, and now, over 40 years later, he has an estimated worth of £730 million, and was ranked 85th in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.
A former Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Sugar sold his Amstrad empire to Sky in July 2007. Sugar’s other companies include AMSCREEN, which offers digital screen media advertising networks, AMSAIR, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world, AMSPROP, a property investment firm and VIGLEN, a manufacturer specialising in computers, networks and solutions.
In 2000, Sugar was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.
Having previously sat on the Business Council for Britain and fronted a campaign promoting the benefits of apprenticeships, in 2009 he was named as Enterprise Champion and appointed to the House of Lords as Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney.
In 2010, Lord Sugar released his autobiography, ‘What You See Is What You Get’ and in 2011 he released ‘The Way I See It’.
Lord Sugar is a philanthropist who donates to a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care.
About Nick Hewer
Former PR impresario Nick Hewer started off in public relations in the mid 1960s. Heading up his own PR company for over 30 years until its sale in 1997, Nick built an impressive corporate client list which included many British and international companies and organisations.
Nick first came across Lord Sugar when his PR company was chosen to represent Amstrad in 1983. Soon taking care of his profile across all business and personal dealings, Nick became a trusted ally and firm friend to the tycoon, playing an integral part in the management structure at Amstrad.
Friends throughout their careers, Lord Sugar laid on a dinner at The Dorchester for Nick and 100 guests to celebrate his official retirement. Says Nick: “Alan is a very generous friend. The best thing about working for him was there was always something going on – he has vibrancy about him.”
Nick’s career has taken him all over the world and he has a lifelong passion for world travel. He has driven a 20 year-old Renault 4L solo from London to Mongolia for charity and has taken part in the Children in Need trek from Istanbul to Almaty in Kazakhstan. As a patron of Hope and Homes for Children, Nick helps promote the British charity and has worked for them in Romania, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. He has a home in France where he indulges a passion for old tractors.
Nick’s much loved dry wit and legendary facial expressions have taken him through eight series of The Apprentice and have also seen him appear on comedy panel shows such as Would I Lie To You? and Have I Got News For You. In January 2012 he became the presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown and recently appeared in the documentary Nick Hewer: Countdown to Freetown, also on Channel 4, in which he embarked on a mission to tow an industrial saw and generator to the capital of Sierra Leone to present to a young carpenter.
About Karren Brady
Karren Brady began her career at Saatchi & Saatchi when she was 18 years old and swiftly moved onto London Broadcasting Company as a sales executive. She joined Sport Newspapers Ltd in 1988 and became Director within a year.
Karren is known as the first woman in football. She was Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club from 1993 to 2009 and during that time turned the Club’s fortunes around. She took over Birmingham City FC when it was in administration, and in her first year at the helm, the Club recorded a financial trading profit. In January 2010, Karren was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC.
Karren has attracted much media attention in her career, and was the subject of an hour long documentary Inside Story – The Real Life Manageress shown on BBC One. She has hosted her own TV show, and has also presented shows on ITV. Karren has written four books and her autobiography ‘Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels’ was released in March 2012.
Karren is a columnist for The Sun newspaper and also writes for the popular lifestyle magazine Woman & Home. She is a judge of the Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards and is an Ambassador for the Stroke Association, WellChild and Wellbeing of Women. Previously on the Board of Mothercare PLC, Channel 4 Television and Sport England, Karren currently holds the position of a non-Executive Director of Arcadia. She is an honoree Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing and in 2010 was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Birmingham.
In March 2006 she was chosen as the Project Manager of the girls team on BBC One’s The Apprentice, for Comic Relief, where she led her team to a resounding victory over the boys, raising over £750k for charity.
In 2010, following appearances as one of Lord Sugar’s interrogators in the final interview round of The Apprentice, Karren replaced Margaret Mountford as Lord Sugar’s aide on the series.
Karren has won various awards including Business Woman of the Year, Cosmopolitan Woman Of The Year, the Spirit of Everywoman Award, Britain’s Most Influential Woman Award as well as two National Reality TV Awards for her role in The Apprentice.
About Boundless (part of FremantleMedia UK)
Encompassing factual entertainment, factual features and specialist factual programming, including The Apprentice, Young Apprentice, You’re Fired, Escape To The Country, Great British Railway Journeys, Grand Designs and Four Rooms, Boundless is FremantleMedia UK’s factual label. FremantleMedia UK is the UK production arm of FremantleMedia, the global production and content business of the RTL Group, Europe’s largest television and radio company. FremantleMedia UK, comprises of a group of labels, Talkback, Retort, Boundless, Thames and Newman Street, which produce some of the UK’s most successful shows – the Group has aired over 450 hours of programming on terrestrial TV in the past 12 months alone.