Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

How Apprentice Ben got his first big break in the Belfast Telegraph

The original story and photograph featuring Ben Clarke at three-years-old
The original story and photograph featuring Ben Clarke at three-years-old

He demonstrated fitness equipment with gusto on prime-time TV — but as this 20-year-old picture shows, it wasn’t the first time for Northern Ireland’s aspiring Apprentice Ben Clarke.

Ben is pictured here as a cherubic tot on a Victorian hybrid rocking horse-tricycle in 1989.

The antique was about to come under the hammer at Ross’s, the auction house where his father Daniel still works — and what better cutie to model it than an angelic blond three-year-old?

He is accompanied in the picture outside the City Hall by child model Hannah Dunwoody and the photogenic pair wear Edwardian costumes borrowed from an operatic society.

The image was so cute that it finished up on page one of the Belfast Telegraph on September 9 1989, only to be spotted by an eagle-eyed archivist two decades later as Ben took part in reality TV show The Apprentice.

Now a trainee stockbroker, Ben donned some exercise gear and flexed his muscles while demonstrating the ‘home multi-tone’ in episode 3 of the Apprentice last week. He volunteered himself to model the equipment with fellow team member Kate, on the basis that the pair were the best looking.

Although John Lewis bought 500, opposing team Ignite out-performed them with their Body Rocka.

This week Ben fetched up in the boardroom, facing the wrath of |Amstrad boss Sir Alan Sugar for the second week in a row, and received a roasting for not carrying out costing of sandalwood and seaweed-based beauty products as instructed by team leader Paula.

He defended himself on the basis that he had “sold his heart out” as his team flogged their soap and shower gel around London, adding: “I’ve also got a scholarship to Sandhurst if you’re talking about leadership.”

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