Margaret Mountford

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Margaret Mountford
Born Margaret Swale
(1951-11-24) 24 November 1951 (age 63)
Holywood, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge
University College London
Occupation Lawyer
Television personality
Employer Amstrad plc
Georgica plc
Known for The Apprentice (2005–09)
Religion Protestant [1]
Spouse(s) Richard Mountford (1973–1990) (divorced)
Partner(s) Gary O'Neil (1993–95,
Children 1

Margaret Rose Mountford (born 24 November 1951) is a British lawyer, businesswoman and television personality best known for her role in The Apprentice.


Mountford is originally from Holywood in Northern Ireland.[2] She was educated at the voluntary grammar school, Strathearn School in Belfast, then at Girton College, Cambridge. Returning to education later in life, Mountford completed her PhD in 2012 at University College London.

Mountford spent a number of years as a lawyer with Herbert Smith, before taking on roles as non-executive director at Amstrad and Georgica.[3] She chairs the board of governors of St Marylebone,[4] an inner-London Church of England Comprehensive School.[5]

Mountford also chairs the Bright Ideas Trust which was set up by the first Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, and helps young people start their own businesses.[6]

In April 2012, Mountford completed her PhD in Papyrology at University College London with her thesis entitled Documentary papyri from Roman And Byzantine Oxyrhynchus.[7]


From 2005 to 2009, Mountford was one of Lord Sugar's advisers, alongside Nick Hewer, in the UK version of The Apprentice television show, a role with which she achieved increasing public popularity.[8] Mountford also took part on the panel in The Apprentice - You're Fired on 27 May 2009 for the first time, during which she hinted that Lorraine would not make the final.

In June 2009, Mountford announced she was leaving the show at the end of Series 5 in order to concentrate on her PhD and was replaced for Series 6 by businesswoman Karren Brady.[9]

She appeared in an episode of the 2010 series, where she helped Lord Sugar narrow down the candidates to a final two. Mountford returned for the Apprentice Finals in 2011, 2012 and 2013 in a similar role.

In March 2012 and January 2013, Mountford appeared on Channel 4's Countdown in Dictionary Corner. In March 2013, Mountford presented a one-off BBC documentary programme Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time.

In July 2013, Mountford co-presented a two-part BBC One documentary with Hewer entitled We All Pay Your Benefits, filmed in Ipswich, the show investigated the benefit culture.

In October 2013, she presented a BBC Two Northern Ireland documentary called Groundbreakers: Ulster's Forgotten Radical, which highlighted the forgotten women's rights campaigner from the 19th century, Isabella Tod.

On 15 and 16 July 2014, Mountford co-presented a BBC One documentary with Hewer entitled Nick and Margaret: Too many Immigrants? which researched the impact of and attitudes towards immigrants in the UK and London.

From 24th to 28th November 2014, Mountford presented a BBC One Daytime programme entitled Don't Mess with Me which displays the challenges that the public and Councils in the UK face against Littering as well as convincing the public to pick up after their rubbish and take a stand to the problem. The programme also broadcast the various scientific research into the problem as well as preventions such as using Lemon Air Fresheners on trains to convince passengers to keep it clean.


  1. ^ Video on YouTube
  2. ^ Apprentice star fires up NI women, BBC News, 23 May 2007
  3. ^ "Amstrad Board of Directors". Amstrad. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007. 
  4. ^ "School Governors". Retrieved 26 March 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ Spying for Sir Alan, The Guardian, 28 March 2007
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ EES Trustee Margaret Mountford completes PhD, Egypt Exploration Society, 5 April 2012, retrieved 15 April 2012 
  8. ^ Headmistress of the nation, The Guardian, 9 May 2008
  9. ^ Karren Brady hired for Apprentice, BBC News, 30 August 2009