LONDON, Tuesday 28th September 2010: BBC ONE’s multi award-winning and critically-acclaimed business entertainment series The Apprentice returns for a sixth run on Wednesday 6th October, as a new line-up of corporate contender’s face Lord Sugar as they battle for boardroom supremacy.
From all corners of the country, 16 aspiring tycoons have come to London to face the biggest challenge of their careers to date – embarking on a 12-task, job interview from hell with multi-millionaire tycoon, Lord Sugar. Selected for their entrepreneurial flair and burning passion for business – Lord Sugar has spotted something in all of them, but only one can succeed in becoming The Apprentice.
The candidates’ CVs reveal: an investment banker, a surgeon, an ex-Marine Commando, a cleaner, an unemployed graduate and two candidates who fell victim to the recession. The diverse line up also includes an international candidate who hopes to eclipse her British counterparts, a candidate who once sung in front of President Bush Snr and a current ‘Ironman’ contender. All of them think they have what it takes, but can they prove themselves when the pressure is on?
As Britain begins to recover from the toughest economic conditions in decades, for this year’s prospects it really is ‘crunch’ time as they face a series of gruelling tasks designed to push their skills to the limit. They are risking it all by leaving what they know behind and venturing into unfamiliar territory as they fight to become The Apprentice.
Failure is not an option and mistakes will not be tolerated as Lord Sugar wastes no time in telling them who is boss and laying down the rules:
“I’ve read all your CVs and on paper you all look very good. But then again so does fish and chips… I need someone who is dynamic and ambitious and is not scared to take a risk. I’m not interested in any Steady Eddies or Cautious Carols. I’m looking for someone who is exceptional.”
Aided once again by no-nonsense adviser Nick Hewer, Lord Sugar will also be joined by top businesswoman and Vice Chairman of West Ham, Karren Brady. Karren knows first-hand the scrutiny the candidates will be under having taken part – and subsequently won – Comic Relief Does The Apprentice in 2007. Both Nick and Karren will be keeping a close eye on the proceedings and helping Lord Sugar to sort the wheat from the chaff to find his next Apprentice.
Episode one follows the candidates as they set about making and selling sausages on the streets of London under the strict scrutiny of Nick and Karren who act as Lord Sugar’s eyes and ears throughout the process. Whether they opt for gourmet creations or cut-price, bargain bangers, only one factor will be considered in the first boardroom showdown – profit.
Series six will see egos collide and tempers soar as the cut-throat competition gets tougher with every task. The budding apprentices will open a fashion boutique, run a bakery, flog crisps in Germany, design and market a new cleaning product, treat unsuspecting tourists to open top bus tours around the capital, and invent a new beach product in a string of merciless missions with no second chances.
With this year’s applicants desperate for a chance to reach the top of Lord Sugar’s empire, rivalry is fierce as the 16 challengers vie for a shot at Britain’s most sought after apprenticeship with a six-figure salary, on offer from one of the world’s most respected business moguls.
Lord Sugar holds no punches as he makes his intentions clear to this year’s competitors:
“It’s sink or swim, and you’ve probably picked up by now that I don’t do life jackets.”
Although the candidates will live in a luxurious London house and be given a taste of the high-flying life they dream of, the weeks ahead will be anything but glamorous as they roll up their tailored sleeves and embark upon weeks of hard graft with only one of them emerging victorious.
For these elite professionals it is make or break time in the most daunting challenge they will ever face. With gripping boardroom showdowns and ambitious candidates, this series promises to be the most tense and unpredictable yet.
One job. 16 candidates. Lord Sugar’s search for his Apprentice is about to begin…
Ultimate fan show, The Apprentice: You’re Fired! will also be making a welcome return to BBC Two immediately after the main show with new host Dara O’Briain taking the chair. Each week the fired candidate is interrogated by business experts, celebrity fans of the show and a studio audience of viewers.
The BBC Apprentice website – www.bbc.co.uk/apprentice – will feature clips from each episode and exclusive footage of each of the 16 candidates, filmed during the selection process. After each programme viewers will be able to watch ‘Fast Forward’ a humorous, bite-sized take on the episode. The Apprentice will also be on twitter: www.twitter.com/bbcapprentice.
The Apprentice is a talkbackTHAMES production for BBC ONE. Michele Kurland is Executive Producer, Mark Saben is Series Editor. Jo Wallace is the Executive Editor for the BBC.
The Apprentice will air on BBC One, BBC HD, the BBC’s high definition channel and the new BBC One HD channel which is due to launch later this year.
MEET THE GIRLS
Age: 25 Occupation: Cleaning Company Owner Lives: Leicester
Leicestershire born Joanna rose from humble beginnings to corporate success with her Midlands based cleaning company after setting up the business at the age of 22. Joanna, whose first job was as a hotel waitress, later moved into telecommunications at a call centre where she called every Leicester-based business in the Yellow Pages until she eventually decided to become her own boss. She describes herself as ‘honest, direct and funny’ and is inspired by her twin sons.
She says: “Don’t complicate business. Keep it simple and get on with the people you’re working with – it’s common sense.”
Age: 31 Occupation: Marketing Director Lives: Birmingham
Hailing from Southampton, Joy is a keen traveller having spent extended time abroad in Israel, Peru and New York before returning to the UK after falling victim to the recession in 2008. She started her working life cleaning dishes in her parent’s pub before joining a supermarket at the age of 16.
She says: “Be careful who you tread on as you go up as it’s likely you’ll need them on the way down.”
Age: 22 Occupation: Business Development Manager Lives: Warwickshire
Laura, a trained violinist and keen astronomer, originally dreamed of being a pilot before finding her niche and single-handily bringing in over £500,000 of sales in her first year as a management consultant. She calls Anita Roddick one of her biggest business inspirations and has lived and worked as far afield as Boston and the Phillipines developing new business ideas.
She says: “A lot of people can talk the talk, it’s very easy to fluff up what you’ve done but my results are hard-proven.”
Age: 24 Occupation: Investment Banker Lives: Birmingham
Fashion and food aficionado Liz describes herself as “ambitious, energetic and loyal.” Young and experienced in investment banking, she has recently ventured into property development and project management. A self confessed health fanatic, Liz visits the gym three times a week and lists badminton, tennis and running as key interests.
She says: “I’d liken myself to Lamborghini, fast, exciting, stylish and successful.”
Age: 27 Occupation: Food Business Manager Lives: London
Londoner Melissa started her working life as a hairdresser before successfully venturing into food business management, where she single-handedly increased Tesco’s share of the Kosher food market to 75%. She is inspired by the entrepreneurial prowess of Richard Branson and Kimora Lee Simmons and describes herself as “analytical, effervescent and intelligent.”
She says: “If you get in my way, I’ll mow you down.”
Age: 29 Occupation: Senior Marketing Manager Lives: London
Born and raised in Peru, Paloma has lived an international life with stints in North America, Australia, New Zealand and now, the UK. A self-confessed “no-nonsense” candidate, Paloma started working life frying donuts in Donut King before launching her first company at the age of 21 straight out of university. She eventually moved into the telecommunications industry and since then she has continued to cultivate her passion for business development.
She says: “I’m a hyper-achiever. Everything I do is always a success.”
Age: 26 Occupation: Recruitment Consultant Lives: Nottingham
Born and raised in Nottingham, Sandeesh describes herself as “ambitious and opinionated” and believes that repeat business is the key to success. She admires the Tosphop brand and their ability to remain on trend and would love to have been the brain behind digital giants Facebook and Google. Sandeesh started her working life as a sales assistant for Toys R Us and as a recruitment consultant managed to break a company revenue record.
She says: “Don’t go for the quick win. Look after your customers and clients.”
Age: 30 Occupation: Head of Business Management Lives: London
Mother-of-two Stella identifies “resilience” as her greatest strength and has managed to forge a flourishing business career as the only female in the management on the trading floor of a Japanese investment bank, despite leaving school with no qualifications. She describes Bill Gates and Steve Jobs as “phenomenal” inspirations and defines herself as “passionate, funny and energetic.”
She says: “I’m like a dog with a bone, I can’t let go. If I want something, I get it.”
MEET THE BOYS
Age: 26 Occupation: Head of Communications (Unemployed) Lives: Manchester
Alex Epstein spent much of his childhood dreaming up new products and credits himself with originally conceiving the bendy-bus. Describing himself as “unconventional”, Alex was a prefect in school and was awarded 10 A* at GCSE. Sacked from his first job making ice-cream at Haagen Dazs, Alex later found his forte in corporate communications and fell victim to the recession before he applied for The Apprentice. He once sang the American National Anthem with his fellow school pupils to President Bush Snr at a charity dinner.
He Says: “Be different. When everyone is zigging, you should zag.”
Age: 24 Occupation: Investment Banker Lives: Surrey
An avid rugby player and scuba diver, Chris Bates has previously worked for leading investment bank JP Morgan after graduating with 1st class honours from Nottingham University. His past jobs have included working in an off-license and a pub and he considers his intelligence to be his biggest strength. Chris names Gordon Ramsey as one of his greatest business icons and would love to head up a pharmaceutical company that finds a cure for worldwide illnesses.
He Says: “Business is ultimately about getting the basics spot on. If you get the simple things right you will succeed.”
Age: 28 Occupation: Mortgage Broker Lives: Cheshire
Ex-Royal Marine Commando Christopher Farrell served his country for ten years, enlisting at the age of 16 and going on to serve in areas of conflict including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan before moving into a new role as a mortgage broker. A keen golfer, Chris is also committed to health and fitness and describes himself as “focused and driven”.
He Says: “I was a sniper in the Royal Marines and I take that killer instinct across into business.”
Age: 34 Occupation: Sales Director Lives: Oxfordshire
Father-of-two Dan Harris is a former Triathalon competitor and Ironman enthusiast. Dan has completed three marathons as well as climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and he once held the world record for the fastest ascent and descent of Mount Kenya. His first business idea came as a university student where he launched a nightclub promotions company and he later worked as a recruitment consultant before moving into the IT sector. Dan, who lives with his two children and fiancée, once played a German soldier as an extra in hit movie Saving Private Ryan.
He says: “In business there’s no place for shirkers and no place for passengers. I insist that people who work for me deliver.”
Age: 28 Occupation: Overseas Property Developer Lives: London
One of four children, former estate agent Jamie Lester is a big fan of dogs, cars and skiing. Hugely into property development, he owned two properties by the age of 23 and started his own company at 24, turning over £1,000,000 in 2 and-a-half years. He describes himself as “honest and trustworthy”.
He says: “I’m very motivated and entrepreneurial – you need to go out there and get your hands dirty.”
Age: 22 Occupation: Unemployed Graduate Lives: London
Born in Swindon, recent graduate Raleigh is the son of a farmer and a nurse and spent his gap year living in Shanghai, China. A professional tennis coach, Raleigh studied Economics and Politics at Exeter University and once elicited a donation of £1,000,000 when working in the university’s fund raising department. He refers to John Cadbury as a business inspiration and describes himself as “enthusiastic, friendly and ambitious.”
He says: “I’m ruthless, even in Monopoly.”
Age: 27 Occupation: Surgeon & Business Owner Lives: London
Born in Leeds, Shibby Robati got his first job working as a paper boy at the age of 17 and went on to become a fully qualified surgeon. He has since turned his hand to business development and says that his biggest strength is in knowing his weaknesses. A voice impersonator and self-confessed comedian, Shibby successfully made £150,000 turnover and over £90,000 profit in the first year of setting up two businesses.
He says: “My first word wasn’t mummy. It was money”
Age: 21 Occupation: Telecoms Entrepreneur Lives: Isle of Man
Born in Plymouth, The Apprentice’s youngest ever candidate Stuart Baggs is a lover of fast cars and technology. His first venture into business came when he started selling yo’yo’s in the school playground and he later went on to launch his own telecommunications company at the age of 18. A keen adrenalin junkie with hobbies including abseiling, powerboat racing and rock-climbing, Stuart also describes himself as having “no sense of political correctness.”
He says: “’I’m Stuart Baggs ‘The Brand’ – I’ve got a certain type of charisma.”
BAFTA Award-winning business series, The Apprentice, has previously had five successful series. Since first airing in 2005, The Apprentice regularly draws in over eight million viewers and last year over 10 million viewers tuned in to see Yasmina Siadatan become Lord Sugar’s fifth Apprentice
As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical-acclaim and won numerous awards including two BAFTA’s and a National Television Award
This year, Junior Apprentice transmitted on BBC One over a six week period, regularly attracting five million viewers. Over 28,000 16 and 17 year olds from across the UK applied for the chance to win a prize tailored to his or her individual career prospects, worth up to the value of £25,000
It’s the toughest job interview going that many find daunting, proved in series five, when, for the first time ever, The Apprentice saw candidate Adam Freeman pull out before the first task had even started. Other highlights of previous series include Lorraine Tighe’s ‘premonitions’, the romance between Kate Walsh and Philip ‘Pantsman Taylor’, brash defences of Claire Young and boardroom bluffing of Jenny Celerier. The business theatrics of Michael Sophocles and his kosher meat gaffe has made him one of the standout characters of all five series while the floundering failures of school teacher Noorul Choudhury who 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 Bajyou’s ability to “speak to prince or pauper” have all had the nation cowering behind their CVs for the past five years
The Apprentice has spawned a number of columns and blogs in the national press and has been spoofed by comedians including French & Saunders, Harry Hill and Dead Ringers. In 2007, the BBC Two show Kombat Opera spoofed The Apprentice with Kombat Opera Presents…The Applicants. Last year renowned YouTube artist Cassette Boy created Cassette Boy vs The Apprentice which has attracted over 1.7 million hits to date on YouTube alone
2009’s stellar line up for Comic Relief Does The Apprentice included Jonathan Ross, Patsy Palmer, Carol Vorderman, Ruby Wax, and Gok Wan. After the boys lost the toy design task, Sunday Night Project funny man, Alan Carr, was the unlucky candidate on the receiving end of the dreaded words, “You’re Fired!”. In 2007, the first celebrity special of The Apprentice aired as part of the Comic Relief night on BBC One. Comic Relief does The Apprentice featured a wealth of high profile celebrities including the likes of Cheryl Cole, Ross Kemp and Piers Morgan as they battled out to raise money and avoid the ultimate dent in their egos – being fired by Lord Sugar. In 2008 another celebrity special aired as part of Sport Relief on BBC One; Sport Relief does The Apprentice.
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.
Lord Sugar is a philanthropist who donates to a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care.
Former PR impresario Nick Hewer started off in public relations in the mid 1960s. Heading up his own PR company until its sale in 1997, Nick built an impressive corporate client list which, over more than 30 years, included many British and international companies and organisations, including the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, based in Chantilly, France and the wife of the ruler of Dubai, the late H H Sheikh Maktoum.
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 both 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 a vibrancy about him.”
Nick’s career has taken him all over the world; in his retirement he still pursues his lifelong passion of world travel. Not long ago he drove a 20 year-old Renault 4L solo from London to Mongolia for charity and last summer took 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 this British charity. He has worked for them in Romania, Rwanda and will visit Sierra Leone this summer. He has a home in France where he indulges his other passion, for old tractors.
Karren Brady began her career at LBC when she was 18 years old and swiftly moved onto Saatchi & Saatchi as junior Account Handler. She joined Sports Newspapers Ltd in 1988 and became Director within a year.
Karren is now known as the first woman of 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 position, and was the subject of an hour long documentary ‘Inside Story’ – The Real Life Manageress’ shown on BBC Karren has written four books; a factual account of her first season at Birmingham City, ‘Brady plays the Blues’ two novels, ‘United’ and ‘Trophy Wives’ and her latest book ‘Playing to Win’ is about successful women in business.
Karren is a columnist for The Sun newspaper; the UK’s biggest selling national daily newspaper. She is a judge of the Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards and the Sports Industry Awards. She is on the business Board of Scope, and the Ambassador for Birmingham Women’s Aid. She is a Board Director of Mothercare PLC, Channel 4 Television and Sport England. She is an honoree Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.
In March 2007 she was chosen as the Project Manager of the girls team on BBC One’s The Apprentice, for Comic Relief, where she lead her team to a resounding victory over the boys, raising over £750k for charity.
Now, following appearances as one of Lord Sugar’s interrogators, Karren has replaced Margaret Mountford as Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman.
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