BBC One
  • Alex Epstein
  • Chris Bates
  • Christopher Farrell
  • Dan Harris
  • Jamie Lester
  • Joanna Riley
  • Joy Stefanicki
  • Laura Moore
  • Liz Locke
  • Melissa Cohen
  • Paloma Vivanco
  • Raleigh Addington
  • Sandeesh Samra
  • Shibby Robati
  • Stella English
  • Stuart Baggs
Joanna Riley

Joanna Riley

Rose from humble beginnings to corporate success with her business

Age: 25
Career: Cleaning Company Owner
Hometown: Leicester

Describes herself as "honest, direct and funny"

Episode 11: Taken to the cleaners ...


Joanna had a rough ride in her interview with Bordan Tkachuk, later branding it "mental torture".  Her lack of knowledge about Lord Sugar's companies was exposed during their encounter, making her squirm with embarrassment.

Claude Littner took her to task on her cleaning company, saying that her reluctance to leave it behind demonstrates a lack of business instinct. Nonetheless, he strongly praised her strength of character for forming it in the first place. She later stressed to Alan Watts that with the right training and direction she could do anything.

In the boardroom, the interviewers commended her determination, but felt she lacked fundamental business skills.  They also recognised that she had performed well and improved over time, but would be best at concentrating on building her own business. Lord Sugar consequently fired Joanna.

Episode Ten: A good win ...


Joanna assumed the mantle of Project Manager and decided on using Jamie's Ghouls & Ghosts Tour idea. However, the pair failed to gel when embarking on a research mission to research the tour and plot its course. Joanna complained to Jamie about the amount of time he was taking, which led to an angry reaction that left her feeling ‘threatened’.

Upon hearing that Chris had secured a deal with the London Visitor Centre for 20% of all profits in return for being their Tour Of The Day, Joanna branded it an act of "foolishness". She later visited the store in a bid to renegotiate the deal, but was branded unprofessional. Her mood improved when it was revealed that her team had won the task.

Joanna was Project Manager on the winning team Synergy. Their total profit was £1099.33.

Episode Nine: Making good calls ...


Joanna made an immediate impression in the Discount Buying task by finding out what a ‘Blue Book’ was and where to pick it up. Unlike the boys, she achieved this by making a simple phone call early on rather than wasting valuable time traipsing through the streets of London looking for it. She also secured the 4 metre kitchen worktop via the telephone, an item that Jamie spent hours trying and failing to locate.

Project Manager Liz joined her in their quest to pick up their portion of the ten items on the list, including dinner plates, a sewing machine and the worktop.  After Apollo's task loss was revealed, Joanna was the only member of her team not brought back into the boardroom by Liz.

Joanna was on the losing team Apollo. Their total expenditure, including fines, was £1094.40.

Episode Eight: Flaming hot ...


Joanna infuriated Laura with her frequent suggestions of curry-flavoured crisps at the initial team meeting. Upon visiting Hamburg with Stuart, she discovered that German consumers do indeed have a fondness for spicy foods. When she relayed this to Stella, she was shocked to find out her Project Manager was already starting work on traditional English flavoured crisps.

Joanna set up a 9am meeting with the Marriot Hotel, which she attended with Stella. The pitch was a huge success, with a six-month deal agreed worth €5040. In the boardroom, she was praised for her selling skills in Germany, which were deemed pivotal to Apollo's victory in the task.

Joanna was on the winning team Apollo. They secured total orders worth €19,327.

Episode Seven: Charming the public ...


Moved to Apollo by Lord Sugar, Joanna suggested a child-friendly fair backdrop for the blue screen experience. Project Manager Stuart rejected this approach in favour of targeting adults, but soon relented following a rethink.

Joanna was responsible for the purchase of a toy car to use at the team's shopping centre stand - a move that attracted many customers.  She was strongly commended by Nick Hewer for the disarming manner in which she approached families and marketed the product to them.  In the boardroom, she voiced her disapproval of Stuart's lack of direction on the task.

Joanna was on the winning team Apollo. Their total profit was £262.50.

Episode Six: Not impressed ...


Joanna felt underused by Project Manager Christopher during the advertising task, especially as she set up her own cleaning business. Alongside Jamie, she voiced her disapproval of the 'Octi-kleen' product. Christopher's decision to plump for an attractive young wife for the commercial also failed to impress her. Joanna soon put her voice to more productive uses – performing the voiceover for the advert along with Jamie.

Joanna was on the winning team Synergy. Lord Sugar deemed their campaign to be superior to Apollo's.

Episode Five: Upsetting Jamie ...


Joanna accompanied her Project Manager Liz and Christopher during the initial meetings with potential fashion designers for the team's boutique.  Inside the store, she helped out in the dressing rooms before heading outside to accost passers-by with a 20% reduction offer. Jamie was critical of her belligerent sales technique, which in turn angered her.

Joanna was on the winning team Synergy. Their total sales were £3760.37.

Episode Four: Impressing the PM ...


Joanna accompanied Christopher and Jamie in Synergy's sub team, earning praise for her cold calling skills. After setting up one appointment with a Leamington Spa wholesaler for the other half of the team, Jamie gave her 50% of any sales that stemmed from Melissa's pitch.

In the boardroom, Project Manager Jamie stated that Joanna was "an absolute pleasure" to work with and assisted him on many occasions. Such harmony was not enough to spare Synergy from a resounding loss in the task.

Joanna was on the losing team Synergy. Their total sales were £76,518.80.

Episode Three: Under the radar ...


Lord Sugar moved Joanna over to the Synergy team, where she kept her mouth in check following the boardroom advice she received during the previous task. She was part of Melissa's pitching team and also served on the stall in Kingston-upon-Thames selling croissants and bagels. Forget winning the task – Joanna's greatest triumph was somehow avoiding another furious clash with Melissa.

Joanna was on the winning team Synergy. They took £999.37, spent £139.50 and made a £859.87 profit.

Episode Two: Book-eeze unease …


Joanna's suggestion of a book-reading aid for the beach was shot down by Project Manager Laura, but later resurrected on the basis that there were no other ideas.

During the pitching process, Joanna stated to a retailer that the Book-eeze idea was her own. Factually correct? Yes. Pleased her teammates? No. Laura gave her a dressing down for this and stressed that the team must take credit for the final product rather than the individual.

Following on from last week's  sausage spat, more rows with Melissa ensued. In particular, the pitching style of her blonde teammate was given short shrift by Joanna.

She was brought back into the boardroom by Laura to face a potential firing by Lord Sugar, but survived despite being branded a divisive and disruptive influence to the team.

Joanna was on the losing team Apollo. The three retailers placed no orders for their Book-eeze product.

Episode One: Project Manager tastes victory …


Cleaning company owner Joanna volunteered to lead the all-female team Apollo after Melissa declined. She refused to shirk away from making the decisions, which included raising the meat content of the team’s sausages to 70% during their nocturnal trip to Smithfield Market.

During Apollo's banger selling stint in Leadenhall Market, Joanna stepped in to close a lucrative deal with a chef who had been enticed by Melissa's roaming sub team. This caused a hostile exchange in which Melissa accused Joanna of unprofessionalism. However, at the end of the trading period the Project Manager told her team, "You were all brilliant".

In the boardroom, Joanna was delighted to be informed that her team had won the task, although Nick Hewer remarked that Melissa had been undermining her leadership. The girls were then treated to a champagne barbecue as a reward.

Project Manager Joanna was on the winning team Apollo. They took £860, spent £538.84 and made a profit of £321.16.

About Joanna


Leicestershire born Joanna rose from humble beginnings to corporate success with her Midlands-based cleaning company after setting up the business at the age of 22. 

Joanna, whose first job was as a hotel waitress, later moved into telecommunications at a call centre, but then decided to become her own boss. She describes herself as "honest, direct and funny".

Check back for weekly updates on Joanna during the series ...

Don't complicate business. Keep it simple and get on with the people you're working with - it's common sense

Joanna Riley

Catch Up

Lord Sugar, Series 5

Relive Series 5

Where business supremo Lord Sugar tested a group of eager candidates in a series of gruelling business tasks.

07 Jun 2009

Next on TV

next episode

Series 6

Lord Sugar returns to our screens with the next batch of hopefuls competing to be his new apprentice.

06 Oct 2010

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