Belfast Telegraph

Life after The Apprentice: Sir Alan's rejects hit back

Sir Alan Sugar
Sir Alan Sugar

As the latest series of the show reaches its climax, Amol Rajan asks former boardroom rejects what happened after they were fired – and what they think of the programme now

Series One

Lindsay Bogaard

Fired: week 2

Dispatched early on after appearing to endorse a toy against the wishes of the children at whom it was targeted, Bogaard maintains programme editors misrepresented her position. "The programme was cut to remove the entire basis for my decision," she says. "I don't want to appear bitter because I admire the other contestants... but the show is a completely misleading picture of what business is actually like." The 39-year-old has founded her own communication consultancy, Bogaard Arena, in The Netherlands.

Rachel Groves

Fired: week 6

"I can infect a room with my enthusiasm, and I'm as honest as they come," Groves insists on her website. "I am a passionate believer in the power of human kindness." A busybody on the show and off it, Groves arrived with a reputation for fearless fundraising and enhan-ced it. Fired after performing a bizarre dance during a presentation, she went on to become head of fundraising for the Citizens Advice Bureau and has written her first novel, which explores "why women are often drawn to the forbidden". Is she making a pass at Sir Alan?

Raj Dhonota

Fired: week 9

"I'm in no doubt," says Raj Dhonota, "that The Apprentice was a complete, total, utter waste of time. It's about manipulation and creating conflict." Dhonota might be right in one respect at least: he clearly knows a thing or two about running a business. When the first series went to air he was bankrupt at 30. Now he is a millionaire. An outsourcing firm he set up, Global Proximity, has been sold for a seven-figure sum. "I plan to be very rich," he says. "Sir Alan chucked me off for not making more noise. Well, I'm not a noise person."

Miriam Staley

Fired: week 10

Staley was the first and last contestant on the show to receive a public apology from Sir Alan. Having made it to the last five, Haley was sacked "for something bizarre like not dividing tasks up properly between my colleagues". Sir Alan said his dismissal of her had been overly hasty. Having applied to The Apprentice while running a hotel with her husband in the Caribbean, she followed a successful run on the show by rising to become head of corporate sponsorship at Lloyds TSB in the space of three years.

James Max

Fired: week 11

Another successful post-Apprentice media player, Max, who arrived on the show as an investment banker and finished as a semi-finalist, has signed on to the presenters' agency Knight Ayton. He now presents weekly business shows on LBC Radio, writes a blog for its website and hosts discussions with leading business figures. He also presents the week-day business update on the talkSPORT station, alongside Ian Wright and Adrian Durham. During the week he is head of PR for a property website,

Paul Torrisi

Fired: week 11

Sir Alan offered the slick semi-finalist a job working with his son Daniel for the private jet company Amsair. He declined, wishing to focus on media punditry instead. He has since forged a successful career, appearing on ITV's Confessions of an Estate Agent and several BBC shows. He claims that failing to win the first series was a blessing in disguise. "We [the semi-finalists] had a discussion off-camera about whether it would be better to lose having come across well on the show," he says. "We all agreed it would have been better to lose."

Adele Lock

Resigned: week 4

During filming for the show, Lock, now 32, left for personal rather than professional reasons. Both her sister-in-law and her grandmother died as she was being grilled by Sir Alan. "I felt very isolated during the production," she says. "Sir Alan asked me if I was a quitter, and I told him in no uncertain terms that that was not the case." She now runs an upmarket male grooming company, Gentry Grooming. She also recently sold a mansion in Mere, Cheshire, to an unnamed Premier League footballer for £2m.

Ansell Henry

Fired: week 11

The portly, bespectacled Henry came to Sir Alan's den as a failed sportsman but a successful commercial manager, reaching the final three. He signed for Millwall FC at 16 but was forced to quit after a serious knee injury. By the age of 23 he had become the youngest manager of a blue-chip company in the country. He is currently the national sales director for an international security company in Brighton and gives frequent motivational speeches to young people, often with the title "Design Your Life".

Series Two

Ben Stanberry

Fired: week 1

A former lecturer in law and IT consultant, Stanberry appeared on the show after a three-year battle with cancer. Doctors had told him that he only had a 30 per cent chance of surviving bowel cancer. The first to get fired from series two, he returned to Avienda, the healthcare consultancy he had set up. He was joined there by fellow contestant Mani Sandher, who became a partner. He has been elected as a Tory councillor in the upmarket London suburb of Richmond-upon-Thames, but says he has no desire to become an MP.

Ruth Badger


"The bolshy Brummie," wrote GMTV presenter Lorraine Kelly barely a week ago, "has the hide of a she-elephant and the modesty of Simon Cowell." Two years after the second series of The Apprentice she remains the show's most celebrated contestant. The furore around her peaked when her husband told the tabloids that Badger was a lesbian. She turned the notoriety to her advantage, setting up the profit-able Ruth Badger Consultancy, motto: "Don't waste our time and we won't waste yours." She has a TV series on Sky, Badger or Bust.

Karen Bremner

Fired: week 3

The Scot garnered a fan base by telling Sir Alan to "drag yourself out of the Dark Ages and stop being sexist". Fired in week 3, she passed exams to become a stockbroker and founded a boutique, karenB, in Broughty Ferry by the River Tay. "I'm surviving the credit crunch so far," Bremner says. She's less positive about The Apprentice, concluding that it presents a "false" picture of business. "I learnt nothing from Sir Alan, partly because he was never there." Her boutique has just been voted Young Entrepreneurial Company of the Year.

Paul Tulip

Fired: week 11

Tulip's rotund stature and avuncular manner made him one of the show's most popular contestants, reaching the semi-final before getting fired for apparently suggesting that vendors of The Big Issue should be better salesmen, though he denies that was his view. Tulip moved back to Leeds, in his native Yorkshire and works for his old firm Burns Carlton plc, a headhunting company "I have received so much positive attention since the programme aired which has been a wonderful experience," he declares on his website.

Syed Ahmed

Fired: week 10

Ahmed was subjected to intense scrutiny from the media when it was revealed that the eventual winner of series two, Michelle Dewberry, had fallen pregnant by him. The couple's baby died before birth in 2006, and they split up shortly after. Ahmed, who ran his own IT firm before appearing on the show, was banned from driving following a fourth drink-driving offence. He is now the CEO at SA Vortex, a company which is developing The Vortex Body Dryer, a patented, environmentally friendly hand and body-drying device.

Jo Cameron

Fired: week 6

Cameron's immodest website claims that the self-styled "Master of Bouncebackability" was the "most memorable" participant in series two, having "overshadowed the other candidates with her energy and determination". Branded a "nutter" by Sir Alan, her departure from the show was followed by a complicated pregnancy ending in the death of her premature daughter. She has set up her own website, "specialising in progressing women in male-dominated environments". She also gives motivational speeches.

Nargis Ara

Fired: week 2

Ara took a break from her PhD to appear on the show. It remains uncompleted: she now works as a pharmaceutical consultant, and uses her spare time to run a business called Hands2Go, which sells alcohol-free handwash. Profits, she says, are "plodding along". "We didn't actually see that much of Sir Alan," she says. "The trouble with the show is that it is edited in such a brutal way that what you see totally misrepresents the contestants. I can hardly bear to watch it now. The cringe factor is just too severe."

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