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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The Apprentice: notes to editors

l-r: Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Nick Hewer

BAFTA award-winning business series, The Apprentice, has five previously successful series. Since first airing in 2005, The Apprentice regularly draws in over eight million viewers and last year over 10 million viewers tuned in to see Yasmina Siadatan become Sir Alan Sugar's fifth apprentice.

As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards including two BAFTAs and a National Television Award.

This year, Junior Apprentice transmitted on BBC One over a six week period, regularly attracting five million viewers. Over 28,000 16 and 17 year olds from across the UK applied for the chance to win a prize tailored to his or her individual career prospects, worth up to the value of £25,000.

It's the toughest job interview going that many find daunting proved in series five when, for the first time ever, The Apprentice saw candidate Adam Freeman pull out before the first task had even started. Other highlights of previous series include Lorraine Tighe's "premonitions", the romance between Kate Walsh and Philip 'Pantsman' Taylor, brash defences of Claire Young and boardroom bluffing of Jenny Celerier.

The business theatrics of Michael Sophocles and his kosher meat gaffe has made him one of the standout characters of all five series while the floundering failures of schoolteacher Noorul Choudhury had the nation screaming at the TV as he escaped the firing line on many occasions. Other memorable moments include sandwich seller Rocky Andrews failing in the catering task, Lee McQueen's pterodactyl impression and not forgetting Raef Bajyou's ability to "speak to prince or pauper".

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. Last year renowned YouTube artist Cassette Boy created Cassette Boy vs The Apprentice which has attracted over 1.7 million hits to date on YouTube alone.

2009's stellar line-up for Comic Relief Does The Apprentice included Jonathan Ross, Patsy Palmer, Carol Vorderman, Ruby Wax and Gok Wan. After the boys lost the toy design task, Sunday Night Project funny man, Alan Carr, was the unlucky candidate on the receiving end of the dreaded words, "You're fired!".

In 2007, the first 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 the likes of Cheryl Cole, Ross Kemp and Piers Morgan as they battled out to raise money and avoid the ultimate dent in their egos – being fired by Lord Sugar. In 2008 another celebrity special aired as part of Sport Relief on BBC One – Sport Relief Does The Apprentice.

Lord Alan Sugar

Lord Alan Sugar

After leaving school in Hackney aged 16, Sugar started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £50. In 1968, he founded Amstrad, and now, over 40 years later, he has an estimated worth of £730 million, and was ranked 85th in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.

A former Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Sugar sold his Amstrad empire to Sky in July 2007. Sugar's other companies include AMSCREEN, which offers digital screen media advertising networks, AMSAIR, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world, AMSPROP, a property investment firm and VIGLEN, a manufacturer specialising in computers, networks and solutions.

In 2000, Sugar was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.

Having previously sat on the Business Council for Britain and fronted a campaign promoting the benefits of apprenticeships, in 2009 he was named as Enterprise Champion and appointed to the House of Lords as Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney.

Lord Sugar is a philanthropist who donates to a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care.

Nick Hewer

Nick Hewer

Former PR impresario Nick Hewer started off in public relations in the mid Sixties. Heading up his own PR company until its sale in 1997, Nick built an impressive corporate client list which, over more than 30 years, included many British and international companies and organisations, including the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, based in Chantilly, France and the wife of the ruler of Dubai, the late H H Sheikh Maktoum.

Nick first came across Lord Sugar when his PR company was chosen to represent Amstrad in 1983. Soon taking care of his profile across all business and personal dealings, Nick became a trusted ally and firm friend to the tycoon, playing an integral part in the management structure at Amstrad.

Friends throughout both careers, Lord Sugar laid on a dinner at The Dorchester for Nick and 100 guests to celebrate his official retirement. Says Nick: "Alan is a very generous friend. The best thing about working for him was there was always something going on – he has a vibrancy about him."

Nick's career has taken him all over the world; in his retirement he still pursues his lifelong passion of world travel. Not long ago he drove a 20 year-old Renault 4L solo from London to Mongolia for charity and last summer took part in the Children in Need trek from Istanbul to Almaty in Kazakhstan. As a patron of Hope and Homes for Children, Nick helps promote this British charity. He has worked for them in Romania, Rwanda and will visit Sierra Leone this summer. He has a home in France where he indulges his other passion, for old tractors.

Karren Brady

Karren Brady

Karren Brady began her career at LBC when she was 18 years old and swiftly moved on to Saatchi & Saatchi as junior Account Handler. She joined Sports Newspapers Ltd in 1988 and became Director within a year.

Karren is now known as the first woman of football. She was Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club from 1993 to 2009 and during that time turned the Club's fortunes around. She took over Birmingham City FC when it was in administration, and in her first year at the helm the Club recorded a financial trading profit. In January 2010, Karren was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC.

Karren has attracted much media attention in her position, and was the subject of an hour long documentary Inside Story – The Real Life Manageress shown on the BBC. Karren has written four books; a factual account of her first season at Birmingham City, Brady plays The Blues; two novels, United and Trophy Wives, and her latest book, Playing To Win, is about successful women in business.

Karren is a columnist for The Sun newspaper; the UK's biggest selling national daily newspaper. She is a judge of the Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards and the Sports Industry Awards. She is on the business Board of Scope, and the Ambassador for Birmingham Women's Aid. She is a Board Director of Mothercare PLC, Channel 4 Television and Sport England. She is an honoree Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.

In March 2007 she was chosen as the Project Manager of the girls team on BBC One's The Apprentice, for Comic Relief, where she led her team to a resounding victory over the boys, raising over £750k for charity.

Now, following appearances as one of Lord Sugar's interrogators, Karren has replaced Margaret Mountford as Lord Sugar's right-hand woman.

The Apprentice – Awards

2009 Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Reality Event
2009 Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best in Show
2009 Broadcasting Press Guild – Best Factual Entertainment Programme
2009 Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival – Terrestrial Programme of the Year
2009 TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
2009 Broadcast Award – Best Entertainment Programme
2008 Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival – Terrestrial Programme of the Year
2008 TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
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

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