The Apprentice – Let the boardroom battle commence!
Notes to Editors
- BAFTA Award-winning business series The Apprentice is now on its fourth run after three previous successful series. Since first airing in 2005, The Apprentice regularly draws in over 6 million viewers and was last year promoted to a primetime slot on BBC One. A record number of viewers tuned in to see Simon Ambrose become Sir Alan Sugar's third apprentice.
- As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical-acclaim and won numerous awards including two BAFTA's and a National Television Award.
- Highlights of previous series include: James Max from series one selling a "high fashion wolf jacket" live on television; Syed Ahmed's miscalculation in the kitchen in series two, resulting in the "100 chickens" disaster; Nargis Ara's series two cat-tastrophe: "Did you know that there are over 6 million cats in the UK?". And in series three: Paul Callaghan's embarrassing attempt at flogging cash and carry cheese to the French; Simon Ambrose's rather graphic demonstration of assembling a trampoline live on national television; and Tre Azam's interpretation of art, where he used the term "titties and fish" to describe the work of a top UK artist.
- The Apprentice has spawned a number of columns and blogs in the national press and has been spoofed by comedians including French & Saunders, Harry Hill and Dead Ringers. In 2007, the BBC Two show Kombat Opera spoofed The Apprentice with Kombat Opera Presents ... The Applicants.
- In 2007, a celebrity special of The Apprentice aired as part of the Comic Relief night on BBC One. Comic Relief Does The Apprentice featured a wealth of high-profile celebrities including Cheryl Cole, Ross Kemp and Piers Morgan as they all battled it out to raise money and avoid the ultimate dent in their egos – being fired by Sir Alan Sugar. It was girls versus boys as the teams were challenged to run a fun fair for the night and sell as many tickets as possible to their celebrity friends. The turnout was impressive as celebrities and business figures including Take That, Girls Aloud, McFly, Geri Halliwell, Stuart Rose, Philip Green and Chris Evans all pitched in to show their support. Simon Cowell even made an appearance after purchasing a ticket for £25,000. As always in The Apprentice, one team had to lose and it was the boys who had to face Sir Alan's wrath. It didn't take long for Sir Alan to decide that Piers Morgan was to hear the immortal words "You're Fired!" barked at him from across the boardroom.
- In March this year, another celebrity special aired as part of Sport Relief on BBC One – Sport Relief Does The Apprentice. Viewers saw famous faces including Lisa Snowdon, Kirstie Allsopp and Nick Hancock work their socks off over two grueling days to raise as much cash as possible for Sport Relief. Despite raising almost £1 million between them, it was the boys who failed to impress Sir Alan. In the conclusion show, aired on Friday 14 March, original Project Manager Hardeep Singh Kohli faced the wrath of Sir Alan as he heard those fateful words "You're Fired!"
Sir Alan Sugar
- After leaving school in Hackney aged 16, Sir Alan started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £100. In 1968, he founded Amstrad and now, over 40 years later, he has an estimated worth of £830 million, and was ranked 84th in the 2007 Sunday Times Rich List.
- He became Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC in 1991 and up until last year he was their biggest single shareholder. In July 2007, Sir Alan sold his Amstrad empire to Sky but remains Chairman. Sir Alan's sister companies Amsair, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world, and Amsprop, an investment firm which he owns with his son Daniel, keeps Sir Alan in the business world and The Apprentice keeps him in the public eye.
- In 2000, Sir Alan was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.
- Sir Alan is a philanthropist for a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care. He has now been recruited to the government's Business Council for Britain where he is an advisor to Gordon Brown on issues affecting enterprise, business and the long-term productivity and competitiveness of the economy.
What happened to previous winners?
- Simon Ambrose, series three champ, continues to work for Amsprop, the real estate division of Sir Alan's group of companies, where he is working towards becoming a qualified Chartered Surveyor and developing a hotel and golf course near Stansted Airport. Simon has relaunched www.amsprop.com – a one-stop shop giving customers instant access to all of Amsprop's portfolio. This is currently a unique proposition in the property industry.
- Tim Campbell, series one winner, worked for Amstrad's health and beauty division for two years before he stepped down to set up the Bright Ideas Trust, an initiative to give young entrepreneurs a chance to set up a business with equity funding and advice.
- Michelle Dewberry, series two winner, completed 12 months at Amstrad and now runs a successful business consultancy.
- Of the runners-up of the last series, many have gone on to launch successful businesses: Ifti Chaudhri from series three opened up Eclipse Tiles, taking the name from his team on the show. He will be opening up Eclipse 2 later this year whilst continuing to design kitchens and bathrooms for clients. Rory Laing, who was a victim of a double firing with Ifti, will be launching the London Zeppelin this summer, which will involve a month of Zeppelin airship flights over London during July. He is also applying for an Officer's position in the Territorial Army.
- From series two, Karen Bremner, who quit her job as a high profile lawyer to take part, now runs a successful ladies boutique, Broughty Ferry, which she recently won the Young Entrepreneurial Company of the Year for. Series two runner-up, Ruth Badger now owns two businesses, Ruth Badger Consultancy, which specialises in company rescue, troubleshooting and recruitment, and North West Money, which helps provide finance for homeowner's. In addition to this, Ruth has her own TV series on Sky One, Badger Or Bust and is a popular guest speaker at various business functions throughout the UK.
- Series one runner-up Saira Khan has gone on to become a best-selling author with her self-help book P.U.S.H For Success. As well as contributing to the Daily Mail, Saira manages to mix a career in the media with her business expertise and spends her time juggling her career as managing director for her company, Miamoo, with presenting the CBBC show Beat The Boss.
- Fellow series one, candidate Paul Torrisi sold his property company for £4million when the series ended and now writes for the Daily Mail property section, and his first book, The Apprentice Property Master, is released later this year.
- The Apprentice online is back and web users can access exclusive content and features designed, developed and managed by FremantleMedia's interactive division, to give a truly cross-platform experience.
- The site gives fans the opportunity to keep up with all events and delve deep into the show with exciting news and images, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes video clips. Tre Azam, series three finalist, is on-hand to give his unique insight into proceedings with a regular column and fans can discover the fired candidate's revealing opinions each week in the exclusive Exit Interview chat.
- Bursting with gossip exclusives and extended footage the producers couldn't fit into the BBC One show, bbc.co.uk/apprentice really is an invaluable resource for fans and journalists alike.
- For the first time, complete episodes of The Apprentice series four will be screened through the BBC iPlayer, while exclusive behind-the-scenes clips will be available to embed on personal homepages and social networking sites. A dedicated Facebook application will give fans the chance to interact with the show.
- 2007 RTS Award – Features & Factual Entertainment
- 2007 Broadcast Award – Best Entertainment Programme
- 2006 BAFTA – Features
- 2006 BAFTA Pioneer Award – Pioneer Award (voted for by the public)
- 2006 National Television Award – Most Popular Reality Programme
- 2006 Rose D'or – Reality Show
- 2006 Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Factual Reality Show
- 2006 TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
- 2006 The Guild of TV Cameraman Awards – Camera Team Excellence in Photography
- 2006 Banff – Unscripted Entertainment Programme
- 2006 Wincott Business Awards – Best TV Show of the Year
- 2005 National Television Award – Most Popular Reality Show
- 2005 RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing
- 2005 RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing, Entertainment & Situation Comedy
- 2005 Grierson Awards – Most Entertaining Documentary