Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

The Apprentice pitches Luisa against Leah in all-female final

Derry doctor Totton makes it into all-female final of The Apprentice

Leah Totton (left) and Luisa Zissman, the two final candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice.
Leah Totton (left) and Luisa Zissman, the two final candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice.
Zoey Harkness, Leah Totton and Joanne Hamilton, pictured on their arrival for the Foyle and Londonderry College annual dinner in the City Hotel. Picture by Maurice Thompson.
Luisa Zissman has made the Apprentice semi-final
(left to right) Leah Totton, Francesca MacDuff and Luisa Zissman as they takes part in the latest task for the BBC1 programme, The Apprentice
Jason Leech and Luisa Zissman
Neil Clough, Leah Totton, Alex Mills in last night's programme
For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only. BBC undated handout photo of Leah Totton, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 30, 2013. See PA story SHOWBIZ Apprentice. Photo credit should read: Jim Marks/BBC/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.
Myles Mordaunt, Natalie Panayi, Leah Totton in The Apprentice.
Myles Mordaunt, Natalie Panayi and Leah Totton during the most recent episode of The Apprentice

From 16 candidates just two now remain and Leah Totton is one step away from winning a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar after securing a place in the final of The Apprentice.

The 24-year-old faces stiff competition from retail entrepreneur Luisa Zissman to become the tycoon's business partner, but is the hot favourite to win the BBC show.

Last night viewers saw fellow candidates Jordan Poulton, Francesca Macduff-Varley and Neil Clough given their marching orders from the boardroom after a gruelling interview process.

The final five were put through their paces by an elite team of business minds: tough-talking Claude Littner; publisher Mike Soutar; media mogul Claudine Collins, and Lord Sugar's trusted confidante Margaret Mountford, who's originally from Holywood, Co Down.

In the end Leah and Luisa performed best with their answers to tough questions on their business plans.

Of Leah's plan for medical cosmetic clinics, Claudine told her: "Your whole business is about people being judged on their looks. You are potentially going to make money out of young girls, maybe not feeling good about themselves, so coming in thinking they don't look good as they are, and want to look like all the celebrities out there."

But Leah, a recently qualified doctor, was quick to defend her idea.

"I'm an extremely moral person," she said.

"I'm very ethically aware and I would totally challenge that point."

Lord Sugar said Leah had the unusual quality of being a good business person, a scientist and a doctor, calling her "a very unique combination".

Lord Sugar's aides Karren Brady and Nick Hewer were both happy with the multi-millionaire's choice of finalists.

Hewer said: "Two very different characters. Both of those girls could make money for you."

Meanwhile, Brady shared her excitement that Lord Sugar was definitely going to be going into business with a female entrepreneur.

"I can't tell you how pleased I am that your new business partner is going to be a woman," she said.

But Lord Sugar hasn't made his mind up quite yet.

"Both are a very big risk for different reasons, but life's all about risks," he said.

"Let's see how they do in the final."

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