Belfast Telegraph

The Apprentice: Derry's Leah Totton makes the final after interview grilling

Leah Totten is among the favourites to win this year's series of The Apprentice
Leah Totten is among the favourites to win this year's series of The Apprentice
Finalists: Leah Totton (left) and Luisa Zissman, the two final candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. BBC image.
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.
Myles Mordaunt, Natalie Panayi, Leah Totton in The Apprentice.
Leah Totten
(left to right) Leah Totton, Francesca MacDuff and Luisa Zissman as they takes part in the latest task for the BBC1 programme, The Apprentice
Sir Alan Sugar pictured with this year's contestants in The Apprentice

Derry's Leah Totton has made it to the final of The Apprentice, having survived the notoriously tough interview panel.

The climax will be a battle of cakes against collagen after Leah and Luisa Zissman were put through to make it an all-girl finale.

Zissman, a 25-year-old cake shop owner, and Totton, a 24-year-old doctor will compete to win a £250,000 investment and the chance to be Lord Sugar's business partner.

Zissman is proposing a branded baking ingredients website, while Totton - who currently works in A&E - wants to launch her own non-surgical cosmetic treatments clinic, offering lunchtime injections of Botox and facial fillers.

The blonde doctor admitted she has no business experience but confessed to Lord Sugar's team of advisors: "I really need the money."

Glamourous London-based Dr Leah, from the Waterside area, was the bookies favourite to win from the start of the series.

Paddy Power installed the Londonderry woman as their 6/1 favourite to go into business with multi-millionaire tycoon Lord Sugar.

Viewers tonight saw soccer-centre manager Neil Clough miss out on a place in the final, despite Lord Sugar admitting he was his favourite candidate.

The 32-year-old was told his estate agency website idea was not a viable business, but refused to back down.

Sugar told him: "If this was all about me giving someone a job, I'd give you a job tomorrow. But coming into business with me, I'm afraid not my friend."

Clough admitted: "I'm absolutely gutted. My biggest regret is I was given a chance to put in a Plan B and I didn't, and I absolutely do regret that.

"Whether or not that end goal of winning took over, I don't know. I'm so competitive, that's why I think I'm so gutted now. I wanted it so much and it's difficult to take.

"For Lord Sugar to say, 'You're the right man, you've just got the wrong plan', I could see he was sort of willing me to be the person that goes into business with him.

"But my business plan wasn't right for him, I did make a couple of mistakes with it. I do respect his decision."

In one of the tasks Clough gave a motivational speech to a group of businessman, in which he opened up about how his father's death from cancer had motivated him to succeed in life and make his dad proud.

He confessed: "My father passing away when I was 18 was a real driver, he was a strong character in my life. And he had that goal for me to become a professional footballer. And to this day I never know whether I let him down or not.

"I think that is one of my biggest drivers, to make him proud of me. And as I got further along on The Apprentice, it was like 'If I win it I will make him proud of me.' And I think the difficult thing for me to take is I've fallen short of the final hurdle."

Finalist Zissman posed naked for a charity calendar prior to taking part in the show, and revealing photographs have been published by newspapers.

:: The Apprentice Final will air on Wednesday July 17 at 8pm on BBC1 and BBC1 HD.

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