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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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The Apprentice: introduction

The Apprentice

BBC One's multi award-winning and critically acclaimed business entertainment series The Apprentice returns for a seventh series on Tuesday 10 May, as a new line-up of corporate contenders face Lord Sugar in the battle for boardroom supremacy.

Episode two of the hotly anticipated new series will be shown on Wednesday 11 May.

From all corners of the country, Britain's entrepreneurial elite have come to London to face the biggest challenge of their careers – embarking on a business battle over 12 tough tasks with multi-millionaire tycoon, Lord Sugar. Selected for their entrepreneurial flair and burning passion for business – Lord Sugar has spotted something in all of them but only one can succeed in proving they have the commercial acumen and business skill to be worthy of entering into a partnership with him as winner of The Apprentice 2011.

Injecting a new spin into the life-changing opportunity, this year's successful Apprentice will no longer win a six figured salary job working in one of Lord Sugar's businesses. Instead the winner and their business idea will found the basis of a partnership with Lord Sugar, with an investment to the value of £250,000.

In the present period of financial recovery this year's candidates face a series of gruelling tasks, and this year the bar has been raised as each task is based on a start up business, designed to push their skills to the limit. They are risking it all by leaving what they know behind and venturing into unfamiliar territory as they fight to launch their plan with his business backing and unequivocal guidance.

Failure is not an option and mistakes will not be forgiven as Lord Sugar wastes no time in telling his potential business partners how the hunt for a new partnership will work: "I'm going to inject £250,000 worth of cash and value into a business, your business, and you're going to run it. And I say you're going to run it because don't expect me to be doing all the work because I'm not looking for a "sleeping" partner. I'm not Saint Alan, the patron saint of bloody losers... You can look at it as a bit of an uncivil partnership, so to speak.

"I want you to treat this first task as if it's your own business. Here's something to note, this is an investment, and I want some return on my money."

With the stakes set higher than ever, Lord Sugar and his eagle-eyed advisors Nick Hewer and Karren Brady will each week be watching how the candidates perform in 12 challenging tasks.

The candidates' CVs reveal: an inventor, a business psychologist, a former cycling champion, an estate agent, an accountant and entrepreneurs in fields as varied as creative arts, organic skincare and fast food.

Although the candidates will live in a lavish mansion and be given a taste of the high-flying life they dream of, the weeks ahead will be anything but glamorous as they roll up their tailored sleeves and embark upon weeks of hard graft with only one of them emerging triumphant. Rivalry is intense as the 16 challengers vie for the chance to go into business with one of the world's most renowned business moguls.

Episode one follows the candidates as they are split into two teams, each team being tasked to invest £250 in fresh fruit and vegetables in a battle to make the highest return. The candidates must buy the produce, add value to it and sell it to the public under the strict scrutiny of Nick and Karren. The decision of how to spend their money is theirs but only one factor will be considered in the first boardroom showdown – who has made the biggest return on Lord Sugar's investment?

Series seven will see personalities clash and tempers soar as the cut-throat competition gets tougher with every task. With each task based on a business start-up, the potential apprentices will design a mobile phone application, be tested in the beauty industry, create new pet food, launch a magazine, explore the lucrative possibilities of biscuits, transform rubbish into money, start a restaurant chain and trade internationally.

For these elite professionals it is make or break time in the most daunting challenges they will ever face. With gripping boardroom showdowns and determined candidates, this series promises to be the most intense and unpredictable yet.

The money is on the table and the boss is in the boardroom but who will win to become this year's Apprentice?

Ultimate fan show, The Apprentice: You're Fired! will also be making a welcome return to BBC Two immediately after the main show with host Dara O' Briain in the chair. Each week the fired candidate is interrogated by business experts, celebrity fans of the show and a studio audience of viewers.

The BBC Apprentice website will feature clips from each episode and exclusive footage of each of the 16 candidates, filmed during the selection process. Viewers will be able to catch up with events surrounding the show in the official blog, a daily source of information for all things Apprentice, featuring the best of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube along with a weekly contribution from notorious ex-candidate Stuart Baggs.

The Apprentice is a talkbackTHAMES production for BBC One. Michele Kurland is Executive Producer, Mark Saben is Series Editor. Jo Wallace is the Executive Editor for the BBC.

The Apprentice will air on BBC One, BBC HD, the BBC's high definition channel and BBC One HD and will be repeated on BBC Three.

Notes to Editors

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