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The Apprentice Returns to BBC ONE.

The ‘Job Interview From Hell’ Just Got Tougher!

the-apprentice-class-of-2009BBC ONE’s multi award-winning business entertainment series The Apprentice returns, at 9pm on Wednesday 25th March 2009, for a fifth run as a new line-up of corporate contenders do battle for boardroom supremacy.

The new intake of aspiring tycoons will face the biggest challenge of their careers to date – embarking on a ‘job interview from hell’ with multi-millionaire, Sir Alan Sugar.

The CV’s of the candidates reveal; a city stockbroker, an award-winning restaurant owner, a qualified lawyer, an aristocrat, a 21-year-old entrepreneur, an ex-professional footballer and a chess champion.  The high-flying line up also includes two international candidates who hope to eclipse their British counterparts; a New Yorker who has performed Mozart in Carnegie Hall and a Tanzanian beauty queen.

As Britain experiences its toughest economic conditions in decades, for this year’s prospects it really is ‘crunch’ time.

the-apprenticeAided once again by his no-nonsense advisers Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford, Sir Alan will be sifting the wheat from the chaff in a series of gripping boardroom showdowns in what promises to be the most tense and unpredictable series yet.

This year’s tasks will include running an upmarket catering service, re-branding an iconic British seaside resort and inventing a new piece of gym equipment.

With the applicants already thriving in their respective careers and desperate for a chance to reach the top of Sir Alan’s empire, rivalry is fierce as the 15 challengers pursue a six-figure salary on offer from one of the world’s most respected business moguls.

sir-alanSir Alan makes his intentions clear to this year’s competitors; “I’m going to find out if you’re the real deal or just a bunch of empty designer suits and dresses.”

Although the candidates will live in a luxurious London penthouse with sweeping views of the capital, the weeks ahead will be anything but glamorous as they roll up their tailored sleeves and embark upon 12 weeks of hard graft with only one emerging victorious.

The Apprentice: You’re Fired! will also be making a welcome return immediately after the main show, at 10pm on BBC TWO and is hosted again by Adrian Chiles.  Each week the fired candidate is interrogated by business experts and a studio audience of viewers.

The Apprentice is a TalkbackThames production for BBC ONE.

The Candidiates

anita-shah1Anita Shah
Age: 35
Career: Business Strategist
Qualifications: LLB in Law & Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice

Cricket fanatic, Anita, is a qualified lawyer and self-confessed perfectionist.  Anita, who led a team to win at the Visa Business School in 2008, hopes to one day complete a chick-lit novel and launch a new business providing emotional, psychological and spiritual therapy.   She is inspired by James Caan for believing that you can be successful by investing in relationships and being nice to people rather than being ruthless or devious, Anita considers herself to be a humanitarian with a Bridget Jones alter-ego.

She says: “My CV is strong. I am articulate. I can deal with questions and make impactful statements. Many lawyers can’t. People want to chat with me.”

debra-barrDebra Barr
Age: 24
Career: Senior Sales Consultant
Qualifications: BA in English Literature

Outspoken sales-woman Debra, was awarded ‘mouth of the year’ at her office Christmas party and confesses to being a bit ‘tenacious’.  Buckinghamshire-born Debra considers herself to be a direct and driven sales-woman with a passion for business… and a love of horses. She has had to fight illiteracy in her youth having struggled through her primary school years, when aged ten, she had the reading age of a six-year-old.  Embodying her belief in overcoming objections, Debra went on to study English Literature at university.  Inspired by Bill Gates and Richard Branson she is a go-getter who would rather ask for forgiveness than permission.

She says: “When I set my sights on something I have to make sure I get it. I am very cautious and only let the people that I can trust see the softer side of me.”

kate-walshKate Walsh
Age: 27
Career: Licensing Development Manager
Qualifications: BSc in Psychology and Management

Born in Staffordshire, Kate is confident and resilient with what she describes as an ability to develop and sustain business relationships at all levels. The indie music fan lists cooking, snowboarding and gym workouts as passions she pursues with relentless enthusiasm.  Although she regrets not applying to Oxbridge, Kate who admires the ballsy approach to business of Sex & The City’s Samantha, continues to be a highly motivated and ambitious professional with an educated opinion on most issues.

She says: “My CV speaks for itself. I’ve always excelled academically and I have really achieved within a corporate environment across sales, marketing and a number of different aspects of business.”

kimberley-daviesKimberly Davis
Age: 33
Career: Marketing Consultant
Qualifications: BA in Music Management

Born in The Bronx, New-Yorker Kimberly is an accomplished musician and business owner who believes that no dream is too big.   Kimberly’s entrepreneurial spirit blossomed at an early age when, aged five, she started her own lemonade and ice tea stand.  She has since gone on to launch highly successful marketing and development businesses.  With an impressive musical history, Kimberley has performed Mozart at Carnegie Hall, danced onstage at Disney World, played flute in Disneyland’s Electric Light Parade, and toured the US East Coast playing violin with the Essex County Chamber Orchestra. A strong believer in Karma, Kimberley insists she has no poker face and lists Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Apple as her most inspiring brands.

She says: “I bring honesty and integrity to the table, I don’t lie, cheat or backstab. I am not the stereotypical New Yorker and it’s a stereotype I’ve faced.”

lorraine-tigheLorraine Tighe
Age: 36
Career:  National Accounts Manager
Qualifications: NHC in Business Studies

Mother-of-two, Lorraine was born in London and left school at 16.  Since then she has gone on to be the top sales person in every company she has ever worked for and admires Victoria Beckham for being equally resourceful when doubted for having ‘not much talent’. The talkative Lorraine who admits to having very little education has endured character-building obstacles and sums up her attitude to business as the ability to drive a dead horse to the winning line.

She says: “I’ve fought against all the odds. I’m a single mum with no education and I’ve had a very hard time. It is tough, but to have the confidence I have I should be very proud of myself.”

mona-lewisMona Lewis
Age: 28
Career: Senior Financial Manager
Qualifications: A Levels

Born in Karachi, former Tanzanian beauty-queen and stubborn mother-of-one Mona would love to have been the brains behind Tesco.  She sees herself as shrewd and honest in business and believes that personal emotions should never interfere with decision making. Describing herself as an open-minded decision maker, Mona chose to apply for The Apprentice based on her desire to step out of her comfort zone and change the lives of herself and her son.

She says: “I knew I would be selected, not to sound big-headed… I’ve succeeded in the companies I’ve worked for because I work hard and I’m honest.”

paula-jonesPaula Jones
Age:  29
Career: Human Resource Consultant
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management

Fashion conscious Paula is an academic with a love for interior design.   Born and raised in Walsall,  Paula, a self-confessed scatter brain, admits to liking being liked and shying from conflict, finding that as a result she is often left with issues unresolved.  At the age of 18, as an army cadet, she represented the county at shooting.

She says: “I am the girl with a plan. I have great wit and strength of character, and I am resilient to the core.”

yasmina-siadatanYasmina Siadatan
Age: 27
Career: Restaurateur
Qualifications: BSc Economic History with Population Studies

Highly ambitious restaurant owner Yasmina was born in Hull and spent time living in Los Angeles and Iran before settling in London. Yasmina, who first experienced the world of business in her dad’s restaurant, describes herself as dominating yet adaptable and believes that business is about spotting a gap in the market and filling it better than anyone else can. She admires Richard Branson’s attitude to personal-service and would love to have been the brains behind Microsoft where the right idea at the right time led to riches.

She says: “Business is about a simple formula. Make more than you spend. That’s what I do, I keep business simple and it works, I’m good at it.”

ben-clarkeBen Clarke
Age: 22
Career: Trainee Stockbroker
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Economics & Business

Belfast born and bred Ben, is the rebellious stockbroker who considers himself to be ruthless and money-obsessed.  The  Gavin Henson lookalike is inspired by the Playboy brand and cites Hugh Heffner as one of his most admired business figures.  Rugby playing Ben admits to being ‘cocky’ but insists that he takes business very seriously.  He is a young professional with what he describes as a raw hunger to make as much money as possible.

He says: “To me making money is better than sex.”

howard-ebisonHoward Ebison
Age: 24
Career: Retail Business Manager
Qualifications: CIMA Part-qualified accountant, BSc (Hons) Maths and Business Studies

Born in Surrey, Howard is an enthusiastic businessman who thrives in managerial positions.  Howard, an award winning dancer, self-trained musician and area manager to 10 pubs, believes that people enjoy working for him.  Howard whose teenage jobs included a paper round (he got sacked from) and a fish and chip shop shift he despised, now describes himself as family-orientated yet equally ambitious within his career.   He hopes to one day set up his own consultancy specialising in customer service.

He says: “I am a credible businessman who wants to go far. I’m incredibly ambitious. If I don’t go down this route I shall go far down another route.”

james-mcquillanJames McQuillan
Age: 32
Career: Senior Commercial Manager
Qualifications: MA Hons in Economics

Family man James describes himself as a ‘schmoozer’ who people feel comfortable around.  Football referee, sports fanatic and former child chess champion James is inspired by people with passion and cites the likes of Al Pacino and JK Rowling as his inspirational figures.  James who claims to suffer from ‘foot in mouth syndrome’ has worked as a labourer, trolley collector and a nightclub doorman before finding his niche in commercial management.  He describes himself as likeable and selfless and would love to have been the brains behind The A-Team.

He says: “I’m astute and shrewd and smart… maybe blunt at times.”

majid-nagraMajid Nagra
Age: 28
Career: Business Development Manager
Qualifications: BSc Computer Science

Reformed rebel Maj sees himself as loyal with the belief that business is the backbone to the world.  Born in Coventry, Maj who describes his attitude as ‘never say die’ was expelled from school for wayward behaviour but having changed his life around now works with youth centres and charities while running his own car hire business.  Describing himself as funny and talkative, Maj says he never shies away from the spotlight.

He says: “I think that business is the backbone to this world, without companies buying and selling there wouldn’t be any economy”

noorul-choudhuryNoorul Choudhury
Age: 33
Career: Science Teacher
Qualifications: GTTP, CIM

Science teacher Noorul hopes to eventually become a property development millionaire.  Fashion-obsessed, he believes that Argos should be banned from selling jewellery and aims to one day start up a men’s tailoring business.  Describing himself as a straight-talking leader, he loves being kept on his feet and confesses to always putting work first.  He believes that business is a cut throat, ‘dog eat dog’ game that you must play to win.

He says: “I have always been ambitious and driven and I’ve got the capabilities to deliver. I am not all talk… I can manage a team of people, total strangers even, because I am feisty and have an attitude”

philip-taylorPhillip Taylor
Age: 29
Career: Estate Agent
Qualifications: NEBS Certificate in Management

Born and raised in County Durham, Phillip who describes himself as ‘confident and charming’ believes he can deal with people on any level.  As a self confessed control-freak he is passionate about all projects he involves himself in and considers himself to be a nice guy who people can relate to.  He believes that you should make friends but make money while doing it.

He says: “Business is the new Rock N Roll and I’m Elvis Presley”

rocky-andrewsRocky Andrews
Age: 21
Career: Sandwich Chain Owner
Qualifications: N/A

Rocky is this year’s youngest candidate and already earns more than the salary on offer from Sir Alan.  He left school at 16 to pursue a career in football with Middlesbrough but was soon diagnosed with arthritis making it impossible to continue.  Rocky since decided to start up a sandwich business at the age of 17 which now includes 15 lucrative shops across the North East of England.

He says: “For me business is about hard-work, attention to detail, being willing to make mistakes and learning from these mistakes”


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