Category: TV Entertainment; BBC TWO
After 12 gruelling weeks battling it out against Britain's brightest business hopefuls, Michelle Dewberry, a 26-year-old telecoms consultant from Hull, has been named as Sir Alan Sugar's Apprentice and walks away with the prize of a six-figure salaried job with the self-made multi-millionaire.
In the final episode screened tonight on BBC TWO at 9.00pm, Michelle beat off stiff competition from 28-year-old sales manager Ruth Badger by project managing a team of fired apprentices and staging a lavish party on London's Tower Bridge.
The series finale is the first all-female final in the show's history, which had more than 10,000 applicants this year.
These applications were whittled down to the final 14 who all bravely quit their jobs to face the biggest challenge of their lives, a 12-week job interview with the self-confessed "most belligerent person you'll ever come across" - Amstrad boss Sir Alan Sugar.
Each week ambition, business flair and wit were tested to the full as the wannabe tycoons competed in tasks set by Sir Alan.
These weekly challenges included working on the sales floor at Top Shop, selling new innovations to the trade, letting flats and designing a charity calendar for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
This series saw some of the most explosive boardroom scenes yet when each week an apprentice was singled out for the sack with Sir Alan's terminal catchphrase - "You're Fired".
Michelle's cool, calm and collected approach to each task earned her the nickname 'The Silent Assassin'.
She proved to be one of the best project managers and found herself on the winning team seven times during the series.
She narrowly escaped getting the chop in week seven after making a critical mistake during the selling task in Top Shop.
Her high point in the series came when she triumphed during the property letting task where, as well as letting out two flats herself, her team cruised to victory by bagging the most commission.
Michelle said: "It's amazing to have won and I feel very proud.
"I've worked incredibly hard over the last few years to build a successful career and having Sir Alan as a mentor will complement that further.
"I can't wait to get involved and start my new job.
"For someone like Sir Alan to recognise my ability is unbelievable. It wasn't until right at the very end when he said I'd won that I believed it.
"It shows you don't need to be cocky and bolshie, just work as hard as you can and hopefully you will get on in life."
Michelle will head up Sir Alan's Xenon Green company - a new business that will environmentally dispose of companies' unwanted computer equipment.
Michelle will mastermind the whole business from launch through to its marketing.
Talking about Michelle earlier Sir Alan said: "All she has done in her life is work hard and she has become a great achiever."
He continued: "I found her very focussed, very determined, very organised, and this particular job I have in mind requires all of those skills.
"She's young and willing to learn. I think I've got the right girl."
Sir Alan said he agonised over which woman to choose: "I was in a terrible dilemma this year. It was very, very tough.
"Those who are close to me know I was struggling this last couple of days. They are both very employable people, both have tremendous skills.
"And I think it's down to the job that I have in mind that pipped it for Michelle."
Michelle grew up in Hull, East Yorkshire and is the second-oldest of six children.
She left school with just two GCSEs and NVQ qualifications.
Her strong desire to earn money meant she took on multiple jobs in her teenage years, including a stint working as a check-out girl at Kwik Save.
Michelle excelled in the workplace and by the time she was 21 had bought her own home and was working three jobs to pay for it.
Her savvy business skills and determination soon saw her rise head and shoulders above her peers.
After managing several large, global projects, Michelle embarked on a successful city career as a freelance consultant, at the tender age of 24.
She moved to Stoke, then London where she now lives.
Michelle has more than eight years' experience and most recently was recruited by an EU telecoms provider to work in their Business Transformation division.
Her role was to scope and manage the end-to-end transition of their technology division from the UK to a newly established offshore facility, located in India.
Applying for the Apprentice happened by pure chance for Michelle.
She said: "A colleague suggested that I applied for the show and passed me an application form.
"I brushed it off at the time but then thought a little more about it and decided to apply. It just so happened that the day I applied was the closing date for applications.
"I have great respect and admiration for Sir Alan and relish the opportunity to be mentored by such a person."
Michelle was joined at a screening of the final show by mum Glynis, sister Clair and brother Carl.
Glynis Davies said: "I'm so proud of her, the whole family is so proud of her.
"She was always very determined, she always knew she wanted to go far in life. She was very ambitious and whatever she achieved, she always wanted to do more.
"Michelle didn't like school. I always tried to tell her to do well at school or she'd regret it, but she wouldn't listen."
Sir Alan said of runner-up Ruth Badger: "I was really stuck this time; no-one can dispute your sales skills, you are already a great success and I'm sure we'll meet again in the future."
Ruth Badger said: "I'm genuinely happy for Michelle but I am gutted that I won't be working for Sir Alan. I've never in my career or my life fought for something so much.
"There's nobody in this country that inspires me more than Sir Alan. Even though I come second I absolutely worship the man."
The Apprentice has been a huge ratings success for BBC TWO by regularly attracting over four million viewers for its Wednesday night slot and earlier this week won a Bafta for best feature.
Applications for the third series of The Apprentice are available at bbc.co.uk/apprentice.
The Apprentice is a TalkbackTHAMES production for BBC TWO.
Executive Producer at talkbackTHAMES is Alan Brown, Series Editor is Dan Adamson.
Executive Producer for the BBC - Dominic Vallely.