Belfast Telegraph

The Apprentice: Lord Sugar's 2012 contestants revealed

By Sherna Noah

A professional wrestler, a beauty salon owner and a woman who calls herself "the Blonde Assassin" are among 16 ambitious contestants competing in this year's series of The Apprentice.

Lord Sugar, 64, is offering to become a partner and plough £250,000 of investment into the winning candidate's business idea.

The eighth series of the hit BBC1 show kicks off next Wednesday, March 21, with the tycoon warning the wannabes in typically abrasive style: "Don't try and hide. We're not playing 'Where's Wally' here.

"I'm not looking for Lord Lucan, I'm looking for somebody who is going to put themselves forward and show me that they have got the aggression and business acumen to be my partner."

He tells them: "If I wanted a friend, I'd get a dog. I'm looking for a partner, the Marks to my Spencer, the Lennon to my McCartney."

Nick Hewer and Karren Brady return as Lord Sugar's trusted advisers, whittling down the contestants as they perform a series of tasks over 12 weeks.

The candidates include 26-year-old recruitment manager Ricky Martin, from Hampshire, who is a professional wrestler in the evening and at weekends.

He boasts: "I truly am the reflection of perfection."

Another contestant, Katie Wright, is a 26-year-old editorial and research director, who lives in London.

The married Fulham football fan, who wishes she had been the brains behind Heinz baked beans, says: "I would call myself 'The Blonde Assassin'. I let people under-estimate me just so I can blow them out of the water."

Several candidates profess to have had an entrepreneurial streak at a young age.

Bilyana Apostolova, 25, a risk analyst who "got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the city of London"... "started off her career" at the age of six, collecting snails from her grandparents' farm to sell to pharmaceutical companies.

The series also features Jenna Whittingham, a 25-year-old beauty salon owner from Lancashire, who competes in showjumping events and says of herself: "My personality and character is 'once seen, never forgotten'."

She will be competing with Laura Hogg, a 28-year-old bridal shop owner and former ice skater who once skated with Torvill and Dean.

The mother-of-one from Glasgow says: "I am going to be one of Scotland's next big exports."

In the first week the candidates are divided into two teams - boys versus girls - and are set the challenge of starting their own print business.

They have to buy £500 worth of materials, from mugs to mouse mats, create designs to print on them and then sell their products before their boardroom showdown.

Later tasks will include designing a household gadget, making a condiment, opening a junk shop, creating a fitness DVD, representing urban/street artists and promoting English sparkling wine.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph