The Apprentice (British series 5)

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The Apprentice (British series 5)
Promo group shot of Alan Sugar standing before the candidates for series 5
Country of originUK
No. of episodes14
Original networkBBC One
Original release25 March (2009-03-25) –
7 June 2009 (2009-06-07)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 4
Next →
Series 6

Series five of The Apprentice (UK), a British reality television series, was broadcast in the UK during 2009, from 25 March to 7 June on BBC One;[1] because of ITV's live coverage of a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification match involving England, the final episode was broadcast three days earlier to avoid clashing with this. It is the last series to feature Margaret Mountford as one of Alan Sugar's aides, after deciding to leave following the conclusion of the fifth series to focus on her education, although she would retain a place in the programme until the end of the ninth series. Alongside the standard twelve episodes, two specials were aired alongside this series – "The Final Five" on 3 June; and "Why I Fired Them" on 5 June.

Although sixteen applicants successfully earned a place on this series, one participant was forced to drop out before filming began,[2] leaving production staff unable to replace them.[3] As a result, fifteen candidates were left to take part in the fifth series,[4] with Yasmina Siadatan becoming the overall winner. Excluding the specials, the series averaged around 8.37 million viewers during its broadcast.

Series overview[edit]

As before, applicants took part in auditions and interviews held by production staff during July 2008, across London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham.[5] Sixteen candidates were eventually selected to form the final line-up for the fifth series, but before production could begin on the first episode, one member, Adam Freeman, was forced to drop out due to family reasons.[2] As a result of his sudden departure, production staff were left with no time to find a replacement, leading to the decision that filming go ahead with the remaining fifteen participants,[4] with Alan Sugar required to not hold any multiple firings outside of the Interviews stage. As such, it is the only series in the show's history to feature an unbalanced mix of male and female candidates. The first task that was filmed saw the men name their team Empire, while the women named their team Ignite. Apart from the dropout at the beginning of production, filming of the boardroom scenes for the tenth episode was delayed until the day before work on the Interviews stage was to begin, due to Kate Walsh, one of the remaining candidates by that stage of the process, requiring time off to attend a family funeral.

Following the previous series, Sugar deemed it unwise to continue using exotic locations abroad for the setting of tasks in the wake of the global economic recession that had begun in 2007. His decision led to the production staff arranging for filming of any tasks set abroad to be done within countries of the EU, until production of the ninth series of The Apprentice would begin in 2012. Another change for the show was the departure of Paul Kemsley, who chose not to return as an interviewer for the fifth series, leading to him being replaced by Sugar with Alan Watts. One of the significant events to occur within the series came during its broadcast, when Margaret Mountford decided to leave the programme after having committed five years towards its production. Her decision to leave was due to her desire to refocus her attention back towards continuing her educational studies. After discussing with Sugar about her intended plans, her decision to depart was announced in her column for the Daily Telegraph on 1 June 2009,[6][7] with it officially confirmed by both Mountford and Sugar during their appearance on You're Fired following the series finale.

Of those who took part, Yasmina Siadatan would become the eventual winner, whereupon a few weeks after the series ended she would develop an office relationship with a fellow development manager, resulting in her getting pregnant. After spending time on maternity leave, she would fall pregnant again during 2012 and effectively give her notice to Sugar that she would be leaving his employment as a direct result, later acquiring a job under Dragons' Den judge James Caan.[8]


Candidate Background Age Result
Yasmina Siadatan Restaurateur 27 Winner
Kate Walsh Licensing Development Manager 27 Runner-up
Debra Barr Senior Sales Consultant 24 Fired after Interviews stage
Lorraine Tighe National Accounts Manager 36
James McQuillan Senior Commercial Manager 32
Howard Ebison Retail Business Manager 24 Fired after tenth task
Ben Clarke Trainee Stockbroker 22 Fired after ninth task
Mona Lewis Senior Financial Manager 28 Fired after eighth task
Philip Taylor Estate Agent 29 Fired after seventh task
Noorul Choudhury Science Teacher 33 Fired after sixth task
Kimberly Davis Marketing Consultant 33 Fired after fifth task
Paula Jones Human Resources Consultant 29 Fired after fourth task
Majid Nagra Business Development Manager 28 Fired after third task
Rocky Andrews Sandwich Chain Owner 21 Fired after second task
Anita Shah Business Strategist 35 Fired after first task
Adam Freeman Internet Entrepreneur 30 Left prior to first task

Performance chart[edit]

Candidate Task Number
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12


     The candidate won this series of The Apprentice.
     The candidate was the runner-up.
     The candidate won as project manager on his/her team, for this task.
     The candidate lost as project manager on his/her team, for this task.
     The candidate was on the winning team for this task / they passed the Interviews stage.
     The candidate was on the losing team for this task.
     The candidate was brought to the final boardroom for this task.
     The candidate was fired in this task.
     The candidate lost as project manager for this task and was fired.


No. in
TitleOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [9]
571"Scrubbing Up"[10]25 March 2009 (2009-03-25)8.71
Sir Alan's new search for an apprentice for 2009 begins with a twist – a dropout before the process begins, leaves fifteen candidates vying for his job offer. On their first task, each team starts up their own cleaning company with a budget of £200, making profit from managing costs and providing satisfactory work for customers. The men focus on cleaning mini-cabs for the task, after dropping an initial idea to do shoe-shining, managing good sales and controlling their costs with proper organisation. The women split to tackle cleaning limos and classic cars, yet good sales are hampered by poor quality work and overspending on equipment and supplies. In the boardroom, Empire secure a significantly higher profit than Ignite, leaving the team to make excuses over their performance. Amongst the final three, Antia Shah becomes the first to be fired for creating the team's overspend and demonstrating no business skills or initiative.
582"A Hungry Business"[11]1 April 2009 (2009-04-01)7.16
Offering a catering service to London's professional workers is the basis of the next task, as each team comes up with their own themed service and provide satisfaction to customers on contracts they secure. Ignite focus on tight budget control while supplying a Mediterranean theme for their service, achieving a steady profit despite facing criticism on the amount of food offered on their evening contract that reduced its payout. Empire focus on a "Olympic" theme, but face serious problems from overspending on food, missing out lunchtime contracts, and serving poorly for their evening contract. Ignite secure victory from their efficient performance, leaving Empire to face questions over the mistakes they made. Amongst the losing team, Rocky Andrews is dismissed for the mistakes he made as leader and failing to bring back members who contributed to the team's loss alongside himself.
593"Survival of the Fittest"[12]8 April 2009 (2009-04-08)8.04
In their next task, each team must design a brand new piece of portable fitness equipment, complete with poster campaign, and pitch their concept to retailers. Empire opt for a simple design, creating a small multi-gym kit, but are hampered by problematic members, with their concept criticised during pitches and thus receiving few orders. Ignite opt for a similar focus on design, creating an exercise ball with attachments, with their concept well-received by the retailers and thus receiving considerable orders. Empire's poorly designed product, against Ignite's more effective design, leave the team facing questions over their concept and the contributions made by each member. Of the final three, Majid Nagra finds himself ejected from the process for his lack of contributions and for raising questions on his commitment towards securing Sir Alan's job offer.
604"A Soap Opera"[13]15 April 2009 (2009-04-15)7.86
Sir Alan assigns each team to create a brand new bath and beauty product, made with natural ingredients, and then sell their concept to trade. Empire use seaweed to create their product, which receives good sales but is compromised by a mix up with ingredients and miscalculated measurements that cause them to overspend on manufacturing their concept. Ignite use honeycomb in their creation, yet despite reasonable sales, the team face issues over the appeal of their design, a weak team leader, and weak salespeople. In the boardroom, Empire's profit is greatly reduced by the team's manufacturing problems, leaving Ignite to win the task. Although all of the final three are held culpable for their team's loss, Paula Jones is fired for her ineffective management and chiefly contributing to the blunders that caused the team's loss.
615"The Advertising Challenge"[14]22 April 2009 (2009-04-22)8.32
Each team are given a blank box of cereals with which to come up with a new brand, complete with its own original character and TV advert, before pitching their concept to advertising and industry experts. Empire focus on a brand with a pirate theme and a parrot character, receiving praise for their presentation, yet face questions over the box's designs and confusion over their target market. Ignite focus on a brand with a superhero character and an underwear theme, receiving positive feedback on their advert, but face criticism over an incomplete box design and the poor pitch they present. Feedback from the experts leads Sir Alan to deem Empire's concept the best, leaving Ignite to face questions over their poorly received brand. Of the final three, Kimberly Davis is fired over her poor leadership over the team and the decisions she made on the task.
626"Bric-a-Brac Race"[15]29 April 2009 (2009-04-29)8.29
In a twist with a traditional task, Sir Alan gives both teams a collection of items, in which each must identify their value, find the right market, and negotiate a good price for each piece. Empire perform poorly on the task after misinterpreting the task's goal, selling most of their items for less than their actual value, with efforts worsened by a problematic leader. Ignite manage to sell most of their items for above their market price, yet despite a good performance, one item is sold for less than its appraised value, cancelling out any profit they made. While both teams make a loss as a result, Ignite's appraisal skills secure then victory, leaving Empire to face scrutiny over their disorganised effort. Amongst the losing team, Noorul Choudhury is fired for his contributions on tasks, his behaviour and attitude to others, and his weak performance throughout the process.
637"Heading North"[16]6 May 2009 (2009-05-06)8.45
Travelling north for their next challenge, each team must choose two innovative products, and then sell their choices to the right markets within two days. Empire select specially designed sleeping bags and dog leads, but struggle to find customers during the first day, leaving them to rely on making sales during the second day. Ignite select specially designed bike attachments and cat playhouses, yet despite securing a sale on the first day, they struggle to make many on the second day. In the boardroom, sale figures soon reveal that Empire managed to achieve a higher number of deals than Ignite, leaving them to face criticism over their dismal performance. Amongst the final three, Philip Taylor is fired for his lack of sales, his negativity and behaviour, and his attitude towards Sir Alan when discussing his performance on the task.
648"Cool Margate"[17]13 May 2009 (2009-05-13)8.50
Teams work to re-brand the seaside resort of Margate for the 21st century, each creating a promotional concept, complete with posters and leaflets, before pitching their creations to local and industry experts. Empire focus on a gay resort theme for their re-branding, being praised over the potential of their design and making use of the resort's existing gay scene, yet face criticism over poorly designed posters and leaflets. Ignite focus on making a family resort theme for their re-branding, which is praised for the execution of the design, yet face questions over the lack of potential in their concept. Feedback from experts through the scoring of ideas reveals that Ignite's safe option was the best idea, leaving Empire to face a review of their poorly received concept. Amongst the losing team, Mona Lewis is dismissed after displaying negativity to her team's creation and demonstrating no other skill than selling.
659"Baby Love"[18]20 May 2009 (2009-05-20)8.90
Selling baby products is basis of the next task, with each team selecting two products and selling them at Britain's biggest baby show. Empire focus on selling a birthing pool and a hand-made rocking horse, but manage few sales throughout the task due primarily to the high price of the rocking horse being unappealing to visitors. Ignite focus on selling toddler helmets and pushchairs, yet despite some issues with one of their choices being sold more cheaply within the baby show, they perform well and manage reasonable sales throughout the task. In the boardroom, Empire face criticism over their performance, after their total profit is less than that made by Ignite. Amongst the final three, Sir Alan criticises each one, before deciding to fire Ben Clarke over the choice of products the team went with, his lack of sales during the task, and his behaviour throughout the process.
6610"Car Crash TV"[19]27 May 2009 (2009-05-27)7.14
Sir Alan returns to an old favourite, as each team is given an airtime slot on a shopping channel to sell their range of products to potential customers. Empire opt for a low-value assortment of products, including a head wrap and an RC toy car, with the team selling well thanks to the efforts of a strong salesperson, despite a mistake made by the others. Ignite opt for a more mixed range of products, ranging from low price to high-ticket items, but performed poorly thanks to their weak sales presentation during their broadcast. In the boardroom, Ignite face questions over their contributions, after Empire are deemed the winners with their performance. Amongst the losing team, Sir Alan decides to fire Howard Ebison for demonstrating himself to be an unexceptional performer throughout the process with no notable skills.
67SP–1"The Final Five"[20]3 June 2009 (2009-06-03)5.06
As this year's series of The Apprentice draws closer to its finale, this special episode takes a look at profiling the true story behind the five remaining candidates. Discussing their backgrounds, experiences, personality, and strengths and weaknesses, are a selection of each candidate's friends, family and colleagues, as well as Sir Alan's aides, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford.
6811"Interviews"[21]3 June 2009 (2009-06-03)9.76
After facing ten tasks as teams, the five remaining candidates now compete as individuals in their next task – a series of tough, gruelling interviews with four of Sir Alan's most trusted associates. Each member faces scrutiny over their backgrounds, work experience and performance within the process when questioned by the interviewers. Feedback to Sir Alan, alongside observations by his aides, leaves him deciding that the attitude and background of James McQuillan unsuitable for his business, while dismissing both Lorraine Tighe and Debra Barr for displaying aggressive natures and making themselves for his job offer. Of the remaining two, Sir Alan approves of the positive feedback given by interviewers towards Yasmina Siadatan, while deeming Kate Walsh to be an all-round candidate based on overall feedback about her during her interviews.
69SP–2"Why I Fired Them"[22]5 June 2009 (2009-06-05)N/A
As the final looms, Sir Alan takes a look back to the tasks he set for this year's series of The Apprentice. From the cartoonish characters made for breakfast cereals, to the soap manufacturing blunder, he relieves all of the mistakes and doomed decisions that were made, and gives out his reasons for what made him fire a candidate in that respective task.
7012"The Final"[23]7 June 2009 (2009-06-07)9.31

After facing a multitude of business tasks and a tough interview, the two finalists now face one more challenge – helped by old friends, each finalist must market a brand new box of chocolates, pitching their concept to a panel of business and chocolate experts. Kate opts for a romantic theme for her brand, incorporating quality flavours, managing her team well to provide a solid presentation, but faces questions over the product's overall costs. Yasmina opts for unconventional flavours that can be bought at a budget price, receiving praise on the box's design and promotional campaign, but criticism over the low quality and poor taste of the concept. Reviewing the performance of both finalists, Sir Alan decides that Yasmina Siadatan's willingness to take risks shall make her his new apprentice for 2009, leaving Kate Walsh to finish as runner-up due to concerns over her personality.

Notes: As ITV was set to cover the 2010 World Cup qualifying match between England & Andorra on 10 June, this episode was aired three days earlier to avoid clashing with it.


Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.[9]

Airdate Viewers
weekly ranking
1 25 March 2009 8.71 4
2 1 April 2009 7.16 5
3 8 April 2009 8.04 5
4 15 April 2009 7.86 4
5 22 April 2009 8.32 2
6 29 April 2009 8.29 2
7 6 May 2009 8.45 2
8 13 May 2009 8.50 2
9 20 May 2009 8.90 2
10 27 May 2009 7.14 3
11 3 June 2009 9.76 1
12 7 June 2009 9.31 2


Special Airdate Viewers
weekly ranking
The Final Five 3 June 2009 5.06 17
Why I Fired Them 5 June 2009 N/A N/A


  1. ^ "BBC Press Office – The Apprentice". BBC. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b "The Apprentice – The job interview from hell just got tougher..." BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  3. ^ BBC News: Sir Alan apprentice 'bottles it'
  4. ^ a b Holmwood, Leigh (17 March 2009). "'Making money is better than sex' – the Apprentice is back". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Applications for 2009 are now closed". FremantleMedia. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Interview: Margaret Mountford on her last series of The Apprentice". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  7. ^ Cochrane, Kira (15 April 2009). "Margaret Mountford is the only person worth our respect on The Apprentice". The Guardian. London.
  8. ^ "Apprentice winners through the years – and where they are now". Daily Star. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Episode 1, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  11. ^ "Episode 2, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  12. ^ "Episode 3, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  13. ^ "Episode 4, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  14. ^ "Episode 5, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  15. ^ "Episode 6, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  16. ^ "Episode 7, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  17. ^ "Episode 8, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  18. ^ "Episode 9, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  19. ^ "Episode 10, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  20. ^ "The Final Five, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  21. ^ "Episode 11, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  22. ^ "Why I Fired Them, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  23. ^ "The Final, Series 5, The Apprentice – BBC One".

External links[edit]