The Apprentice (UK series five)

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The Apprentice UK
Series Five

Series Five of The Apprentice (UK) was a British reality television series which was won by Yasmina Siadatan. The series began airing on BBC One on 25 March 2009[1] and ran for twelve weekly hour-long episodes, as in all previous years. Auditions and interviews took place during July 2008 in London, Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham.[2] There were fifteen participants; one more dropped out prior to the first boardroom briefing.[3]

Sir Alan Sugar, Nick Hewer and Margaret Mountford made appearances, as in all previous series. Spin-off show The Apprentice: You're Fired! also returned, airing on BBC Two immediately after the main show.


Sixteen candidates were selected however only fifteen candidates were announced for the start of the series.[4] The sixteenth candidate, Adam Freeman, withdrew from the show the night before recording of the series was due to begin, and could not be replaced in time. As a result, the series went ahead with only fifteen candidates.[5] In the first episode, Sir Alan Sugar described Freeman (whom he did not name) as having "bottled it". Two candidates - Anita and Majid - never got the chance to be project manager (not including Adam.)

The team names for this series are Empire (initially the men's team) and Ignite (initially the women's team).[6]

Candidate Background Original team Age Result
Yasmina Siadatan Restaurateur Ignite 27 Hired by Sugar
Kate Walsh Licensing Development Manager Ignite 27 Runner-up in the Final
Debra Barr Senior Sales Consultant Ignite 24 Fired in week 11
Lorraine Tighe National Accounts Manager Ignite 36 Fired in week 11
James McQuillan Senior Commercial Manager Empire 32 Fired in week 11
Howard Ebison Retail Business Manager Empire 24 Fired in week 10
Ben Clarke Trainee Stockbroker Empire 22 Fired in week 09
Mona Lewis Senior Financial Manager Ignite 28 Fired in week 08
Philip Taylor Estate Agent Empire 29 Fired in week 07
Noorul Choudhury Science Teacher Empire 33 Fired in week 06
Kimberly Davis Marketing Consultant Ignite 33 Fired in week 05
Paula Jones Human Resources Consultant Ignite 29 Fired in week 04
Majid Nagra Business Development Manager Empire 28 Fired in week 03
Rocky Andrews Sandwich Chain Owner Empire 21 Fired in week 02
Anita Shah Business Strategist Ignite 35 Fired in week 01

Weekly results[edit]

Elimination chart
Candidate 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was on the winning team (or, in Week 11, managed to avoid being fired.)
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was on the losing team.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was hired and won The Apprentice.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was the runner-up.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate won as project manager on his/her team.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate lost as project manager on his/her team.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was brought to the final boardroom.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate was fired.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate lost as project manager and was fired.
‹See Tfm›     The candidate left the competition before it started.


Week 1[edit]

  • Empire: Howard (Project Manager), Noorul, Philip, Rocky, James, Ben and Majid.
  • Ignite: Mona (Project Manager), Kate, Anita, Debra, Yasmina, Paula, Lorraine and Kimberly.
  • Task: Start up a cleaning company with a budget of £200. Most profit made, wins.[7][8]
  • Task Review: Empire decided to try car cleaning mainly, with half the boys focusing on one big minicab contract. The other 3 first tried shoe-shining in St Pancras railway station and made decent taking in an hour, but then went to help the other boys with the contract; together, they cleaned half the minicab fleet and altogether made good sales, spending just over half the budget. Ignite, meanwhile, focused on just car-cleaning; half the girls earned well from cleaning 3 Hummer limos, but the other half had their classic car contract cut short after 4 cars (out of 14), due to unsatisfactory cleaning. As a result, all the girls focused on on-the-kerb cleaning, which they had more success with. Ignite had slightly better sales than Empire, yet they blew almost their entire budget, overspending on equipment.
  • Result: Empire made a profit of £239, while Ignite made a profit of £160.55.
  • Winner: Empire - By £78.45.
  • Reward: Taught how to make cocktails by The Bar Wizards.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Mona, Debra, and Anita
  • Fired: Anita - For her poor management of the budget, not being able to recognise the overspend, and for failing to demonstrate any business acumen or initiative.
  • Notes:
    • Despite not feeling that Howard had been an especially good project manager, Sir Alan gave him credit for identifying the need to keep costs down, which proved vital in Empire's victory. Conversely, Kate and Lorraine had voiced their concerns early in the task that Ignite were spending too much, but Mona overruled them, feeling that it was important to have as many cleaning products as they could afford. This brought sharp criticism from Sir Alan, citing the overspend as a key factor in the women's defeat.
    • Sir Alan seriously considered firing Debra, who was deemed responsible for the sub-team's poor work on cleaning the classic cars, which cut short what otherwise would have been a lucrative deal. She was also strongly criticised for repeatedly insulting and belittling the members of her sub-team, then trying to deny having done so in the boardroom. Mona also come close to being fired as she had shown little strategy and failed to understand why the overspend on materials was so damaging. In the end though, Sugar admired their fighting spirit, and decided that Anita was too passive and had shown no skills that would be of any use. He also felt Anita's failure to acknowledge such a basic and serious problem as the overspend on materials rendered her unworthy to continue.

Week 2[edit]

  • Empire: Rocky (Project Manager), Noorul, Howard, Philip, James, Ben and Majid.
  • Ignite: Yasmina (Project Manager), Kate, Mona, Debra, Paula, Lorraine and Kimberly.
  • Task: Provide a corporate catering services for top business professionals. Most profit made, wins.[9]
  • Task Review: Empire decided on a 2012 Olympics theme, with a different sandwich representing each of the five Olympic rings, but spent heavily on supplies; Ignite went with a Mediterranean theme and spent far more reasonably. Ignite won two lunchtime contracts and one more for an evening function. The girls, however, were accused of skimping on food and making mistakes in preparation (such as a chicken wrap not having chicken in it), which led to their evening contract being reduced by a third as a result, but otherwise, things were well-executed. Empire's execution of the task on the other hand, was a total shambles; they failed to get any lunchtime contracts and had to resort to selling their sandwiches to tourists on the streets of London, in which they had some success despite the ridiculous outfits that Rocky had them wear. It all went down-hill at the evening event, however, when they made the badly received decision to dress in Ancient Greek togas for the evening function, heavily over-spending on props and décor, and only provided small portions of food; as a result, they had their evening contract halved.
  • Result: Empire made a loss of £160.76, while Ignite made a profit of £651.43
  • Winner: Ignite - By £812.19
  • Reward: Lesson in learning to play polo.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Rocky, Howard and James
  • Fired: Rocky - For making a series of "immature mistakes", losing money despite his skill-set, and for bringing Howard and James back into the boardroom for unclear reasons instead of Majid and/or Noorul.
  • Notes:
    • James came under heavy criticism for making some ridiculous claims in his CV, and for his disrespectful behaviour towards Rocky, with Sir Alan even calling him a "plonker". However he was spared because Sir Alan felt he was not directly at fault for the loss.
    • When Sir Alan enquired about the contract halving that Empire had received for the evening function, Nick commented that it was "more than generous". Even if Empire had received the full amount for the function, they would have still made only £214.24 in profit, less than a third of what Ignite made.
    • During his You're Fired appearance, Rocky was questioned as to why he didn't bring back Majid or Noorul, which played a key factor in his firing. Rocky refused to blame the loss on Majid (who came up with the poor theme), saying that the most criticised aspect of the theme (their costumes, particularly at the evening event) was actually his own idea, but admitted he should probably have brought back Noorul (who took a complete backseat in the task) instead of Howard. The panel and the majority of the audience disagreed with Sir Alan's decision, and near-unanimously agreed that James should have been fired for his disrespectful behaviour in the task, despite Rocky's many errors. Rocky was not shown to be fired with regret in the main episode, but it was revealed on You're Fired that he was, with Sir Alan adding that he felt Rocky had appeared on the show a little too early in his career.

Week 3[edit]

  • Empire: James (Project Manager), Kate, Howard, Ben, Kimberly and Majid.
  • Ignite: Debra (Project Manager), Noorul, Philip, Mona, Yasmina, Paula and Lorraine.
  • Task: Create an original piece of portable home fitness equipment along with a poster campaign for it, then pitch it to three retailers. Most orders received, wins.[10]
  • Task Review: On Empire, after doing some market research, James decided that most products at the £29.99 price point tended to be simple in design, and instructed his design team to make such a product. However, Ben, who was heading the team, ignored James and instead produced a small multi-gym kit that was badly received by the potential retailers and felt to be a poor alternative to higher-end home gym systems. Ignite went for a simple product, designed by Philip, that consisted of an exercise ball with a built-in plastic attachment that could be used for aerobics. Empire received orders from only one retailer, whilst Ignite secured orders from all three; one retailer, John Lewis, contributed to this greatly with a high volume ordered, thanks to an exclusivity agreement arranged with them.
  • Result: Empire received 500 orders, while Ignite received 10,180 orders.
  • Winner: Ignite - By 9,680 orders
  • Reward: A private performance by Katherine Jenkins
  • Brought into the boardroom: James, Ben and Majid
  • Fired: Majid - For being seen as peripheral figure who made little contribution to the task, not asking for a bigger role, and for his poor theme suggestion in the previous task.
  • Notes:
    • Despite leading his team to the worst defeat in the show's history at the time (a near 20:1 margin in Ignite's favour), James was not fired, largely down to Margaret telling Sir Alan that aside from not properly supervising Ben in the product design, his leadership had otherwise been competent. However, he was warned that Margaret's feedback was the only reason he was allowed to continue. Likewise, despite the extremely negative feedback about the product design and his ignoring James's instructions, Ben survived due to no-one else making a significant contribution to the design phase.
    • Although he was not seen as being responsible for the loss, Majid sealed his own fate when he admitted in the boardroom that he saw no reason to ask James for a larger role. Nick accused Majid of having no confidence in himself, and whilst Sir Alan acknowledged that it was early in the competition, he felt Majid had enough opportunities to contribute and was too much of a passenger, which Sir Alan made very clear was not the kind of person he was looking for.
    • For the second week in a row, the You're Fired panel and audience disagreed with Sir Alan's decision, feeling that James should have been fired, and that even firing Ben would have been more justifiable than firing Majid. Despite indicating that he too disagreed with Sir Alan's decision, Nick Hewer said that Majid probably would not have lasted long either way.

Week 4[edit]

  • Empire: Paula (Project Manager), Kate, Debra, Yasmina, James and Ben.
  • Ignite: Noorul (Project Manager), Howard, Philip, Mona, Lorraine and Kimberly.
  • Task: Sell two brand new bath and beauty products made from natural ingredients, that stand out. Most profit made, wins.[11]
  • Task Review: Ignite produced soap bars and bath foam based on honeycomb. Their products were felt to be unattractive, particularly the soap bar, which disintegrated upon being tested in the shower. The team also suffered from a lack of direction from Noorul, meaning that while their Camden Town market sales were quite successful, their face-to-face sales teams had less success and they resorted to selling their products as cheaply as 30p each by the end of the day. Empire's seaweed-based products were felt to be better, and Paula's leadership was also considered effective. Unfortunately, the sub-team responsible for making the products made a serious blunder by spending over £700 on essential oils due to thinking that 3% of the formula meant 3g of oil would be required (rather than the 450g actually added to the mix), and then mixing up cedarwood oil with the much more expensive sandalwood oil. Empire only realised their mistake after Nick Hewer pointed it out, and failed to recoup costs despite good custom that enabled them to increase prices.
  • Result: Ignite made a profit of £493.97, while Empire made a loss of £68.04.
  • Winner: Ignite - By £562.01
  • Reward: Dinner at a luxury sushi and sake restaurant, and learnt how to make sushi.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Paula, Yasmina and Ben
  • Fired: Paula - For mixing up the oils that caused the overspend of the fragrances, and being primarily responsible for the loss as Project Manager.
  • Notes:
    • Phil had a fierce argument with Kimberly while the two were creating the packaging and promotional material for the team's products, foreshadowing the troubles between Phil and the other candidates (particularly Lorraine) in the weeks ahead.
    • Nick commented in the boardroom that if Empire had used cedarwood and not sandalwood in their products, they would have won the task with a profit of £590.
    • Sir Alan commented that he felt Empire had produced better products than Ignite. In The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them Sir Alan stated Noorul should have been fired but because of the pricing mistake made by Empire, his team won by default. Sir Alan had also commented that Paula had managed her team well, but added that it was irrelevant since she had lost money. As the final three were felt to be equally at fault, Sir Alan decided that Paula carried responsibility as the team's leader.
    • A majority of the You're Fired! audience combined with the panel disagreed with Sir Alan's decision. Though it was generally agreed that Paula and Yasmina were at fault for the sandalwood error, it was also felt that they had both shown enough potential to continue, and that Ben should have been fired for not getting involved in the costing. Even then, however, the panel felt that Noorul was far more deserving of being fired than any member of Empire.

Week 5[edit]

  • Empire: Kate (Project Manager), Debra, Yasmina, James and Ben.
  • Ignite: Kimberly (Project Manager), Noorul, Howard, Philip, Mona and Lorraine.[12]
  • Task: Produce a brand identity for a new breakfast cereal, including a television advert and original character, then pitch it to a panel of advertising experts. Best concept, wins.[13]
  • Task Review: Empire decided on a pirate theme, and branded their cereal "Treasure Flakes," also creating a pirate parrot character called Captain Squawk to go along with it. On Ignite, Philip suggested their cereal's theme be around pants, and this eventually evolved into a cereal called "Wake Up Call," with a character called "Pants Man" who was supposed to point out that only superheroes are allowed to wear their pants outside their other clothing, and that eating Wake Up Call could prevent people making that mistake. The Treasure Flakes box was felt to be somewhat overcrowded by the advertising experts, though Debra gave a well-received pitch, even impressing Sir Alan. The experts questioned whether Empire had considered just who their target audience were, but Kate gave clear answers for their decisions about the marketing. Ignite were criticised for having an incomplete box due to not briefing their graphics designer in time, and Mona's presentation style annoyed the audience. The "Pantsman" idea was generally considered to be muddled, though the technical quality of the accompanying TV ad was praised. However in the boardroom Sir Alan branded Ignite's campaign "total, absolute garbage" and declared Empire to be the clear winners.
  • Winner: Empire - For having a better brand, and for providing a better pitch.
  • Reward: Yoga and laughter therapy session.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Kimberly, Philip and Lorraine
  • Fired: Kimberly - For her poor leadership, refusing to pitch despite her marketing background, and for bringing Lorraine back into the boardroom mainly for personal reasons, instead of Noorul.
  • Notes
    • Philip came very close to getting fired, as he was responsible for the idea that failed and was incredibly rude towards his teammates, but Sir Alan felt Kimberly was more deserving since this was a task she was more than qualified to lead.
    • In spite of Philip and Lorraine's mutual hostility, when asked who they felt should be fired both said that Kimberly should go, which played a part in her firing. Lorraine stated that Philip did not deserve to be brought back for voicing an idea, and Philip added that the other candidates (inferring Howard and especially Noorul) had not made a significant contribution and Kimberly's failure to identify that meant she should be fired.
    • Sir Alan described Kimberly as the Wizard of Oz; she looked impressive, but behind the curtain, there was nothing special. Although it was not explicit, it was hinted that Noorul would have been fired if brought back, since he took a total backseat, and because of his awful leadership in the last task. Sir Alan did not consider Lorraine responsible for the loss despite her disruptive behaviour.

Week 6[edit]

  • Empire: Ben (Project Manager), Noorul, Debra, Yasmina and James.
  • Ignite: Philip (Project Manager), Kate, Howard, Mona and Lorraine.
  • Task: Sell a miscellaneous assortment of ten items, including a "hidden gem", on the streets of London. Most profit made, wins.[14]
  • Task Review: Both teams got stuck into selling without spending a great deal of time trying to identify the higher-value items, and Empire in particular failed to realise that the rules specified that the teams would be measured on the profitability of each sale compared to the item's list value. To make matters worse, Ben gave his sub-team seven of the ten items to value while giving James and Yasmina only three, causing his sub team to waste more time trying to sell. Towards the end of the day, with time running out, Ben sold several valuable items at a loss. Empire also lost a considerable amount on the bicycle and the skeleton, both of which were sold by Noorul. Ignite managed a modest profit on most of their sales, but committed a serious error by selling the rug for virtually nothing, cancelling out all their profits and taking them into a deficit.
  • Result: Empire made a loss of £169, while Ignite made a loss of £34.
  • Winner: Ignite - By £135.
  • Reward: Dinner, featuring beef and truffles, at a luxury restaurant.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Ben, Noorul and Debra.
  • Fired: Noorul - For a lack of contribution to many of the tasks, his arrogant and ineffective behavior throughout the competition, selling the bike and the skeleton at a huge loss, being disrespectful towards Ben in the boardroom, making several excuses for his failures, his poor leadership two weeks ago, and for his generally average-at-best track record throughout the process.
  • Notes:
    • Both teams were given ten items which they had to value and sell, including: a skeleton, a deceptively valuable Indian rug, a bicycle, a box of second-hand books and a commode.
    • During the selling of the rug, Lorraine debated with Philip as to whether they should have got a better price for it. In the boardroom, it was revealed that Lorraine had been right, and the underselling of the rug had completely wiped out any profit made on the other items, earning them what Sir Alan called "a fool's victory".
    • In the boardroom, Debra attempted to claim sole credit for all the sales made by her sub-team (barring the two made by Noorul), causing Nick to comment that Ben had been a part of the book sale. Debra then flew into a rage at Nick, calling him a liar and also lashing out at Ben and Noorul when they challenged her. Sir Alan lambasted Debra for this, comparing it to "talking to a second class citizen" and said that any point she had should be bought back to him. Sir Alan gave her a clear warning after Noorul was fired, saying "you ever open your mouth like that again, don't even bother to come back in this boardroom.".
    • Ben initially chose to bring James and Noorul back to the boardroom but then changed his selection to Debra and Noorul, after Debra demanded to be bought back. Both Sir Alan and James himself were visibly shocked at Ben's initial choice, and Sir Alan, despite his otherwise heavy criticism of him in previous tasks, suspected Ben had tried to bring back James for personal reasons. Ben was also dubbed "a broken man" and held at near-total fault due to his failure to understand the rules. He was warned that he was on his last chance.
    • A number of Apprentice firsts happened during this week, as it was the first time that both teams had lost money, the first time that a project manager was not fired after losing money, and the first time that a candidate demanded to be brought back into the boardroom (something that usually results in an automatic firing in the show's original U.S. incarnation, although Sir Alan thought that Debra should have been brought back anyway, saving her from this fate).
    • One of the factors that contributed to Sir Alan's decision to fire Noorul was several candidates stating (though never referring to him directly) that they were outraged he had not been in the boardroom when they had been on previous tasks, due to his consistent habit of going under the radar; James expressing the view in Week 2, and Philip and Lorraine in Week 5. Noorul further harmed his chances of remaining in the competition by accusing Ben of only having entered the competition in pursuit of fame, to which Ben retaliated by accusing him of being "a desperate man."

Week 7[edit]

  • Empire: Mona (Project Manager), Howard, Debra and James.
  • Ignite: Lorraine (Project Manager), Kate, Philip, Yasmina and Ben.
  • Task: Travel to North West England, select two new innovative products, then sell to trade. Most sales made, wins.[15]
  • Task Review: From the 12 available items, neither team selected products that were ideally suited to the two retailers that Sir Alan had laid on for the teams to pitch to; Empire selected a "Selk Bag" (sleeping bag suit)[16][17] and the "Lovers' Lead" – a dog lead for two people to share – while Ignite selected a bag-carrying attachment for bicycles, and a set of cat playhouses. Empire failed to secure any sales from the main two potential customers, and Ignite had success with only one of them, and so both relied on sales made on the second day of the task, when the teams themselves sought out companies to pitch the products to. Empire sold well thanks to a large contribution by Mona, while Ignite had sales only from Lorraine and Yasmina: the others sold nothing between them.
  • Result: Empire made sales of £4,500, while Ignite made sales of over £1,000.
  • Winner: Empire - By over £3,500
  • Reward: A luxurious helicopter ride over London at sunset.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Lorraine, Kate and Philip.
  • Fired: Philip - For not selling a single item, showing "bravado" and arrogant behaviour, taking no responsibility for his actions, constant negativity towards the others, and being openly disrespectful to Sir Alan in the final boardroom.
  • Notes:
    • The three cities that the teams operated in were Liverpool, Manchester and Chester.
    • Despite failing to sell anything himself, Ben managed to set up an appointment at the head offices of pet superstore chain, Pets at Home, for Lorraine and Yasmina, which accounted for most of Ignite's sales income on the second day. However, Nick commented that Ben, Kate and Philip going back to London without a sale to any of their names was like getting into one of the cat playhouses and joining the Battle of Britain; "they haven't got a hope in hell's chance".
    • In the boardroom, Lorraine revealed that Philip and Kate were in a relationship and accused them of conspiring against her. Sir Alan himself questioned whether Kate and Philip decided to take a backseat in an effort to make Lorraine look bad. The two denied this was the case, and Kate even criticised Philip's performance. A fierce argument took place between Kate and Lorraine back at the apartment, with Kate accusing Lorraine of "hitting below the belt," and Lorraine defending it as a legitimate tactic and re-iterating her accusations. After the show it was revealed that Kate and Philip had begun a relationship, but they claimed it didn't truly start until the show had finished.
    • Kate was criticised for her weak sales skills during the task, but Sir Alan decided based on her past performances, she would be given a second chance.
    • Philip effectively destroyed his chances of remaining in the competition by snapping at Sir Alan in the boardroom and then openly accusing Sugar of not giving him enough credit for his performances; Nick then stopped Philip's tirade by reminding him that he had also been responsible for "Pantsman". Despite Lorraine's behaviour and tendency to alienate the other candidates being a growing concern, and Kate's failure to sell anything was noted, Sir Alan was convinced Philip's attitude and negativity would not fit in his organisation. After being fired, Philip referred to Sir Alan's decision as a "joke" before leaving the boardroom. The panel on You're Fired and almost the entire audience completely agreed with the decision, with one panellist saying that had they behaved the way Philip did, they would have have been fired, regardless of any failures or successes.

Week 8[edit]

  • Empire: Debra (Project Manager), Howard, Mona and James.
  • Ignite: Yasmina (Project Manager), Kate, Ben and Lorraine.
  • Task: Re-brand the seaside resort of Margate, Kent, by producing a series of posters and leaflets, then pitching them, to be scored afterwards. Highest score, wins.[18]
  • Task Review: Empire decided to promote Margate as a gay resort, playing on the town's existing gay scene, while Ignite decided to market it as a family resort. The locals and industry experts felt that while Ignite's idea wasn't hugely inventive and didn't take any risks, it was well executed. Empire's by comparison was felt to be a more daring idea, but very badly executed due to the incomplete leaflet (which Empire falsely claimed was due to them leaving space for local businesses to advertise) and poorly designed, over-crowded posters. Ignite received a score of 7/10 for their pitch, whereas Empire only received 4/10.
  • Winner: Ignite - For a better executed promotion.
  • Reward: Lotus Exige Driving Day at Thruxton Circuit.[19]
  • Brought into the boardroom: Debra, Mona and James.
  • Fired: Mona, with regret - For a lack of full effort due to her thoughts on the theme, and for failing to demonstrate any skills other than selling.
  • Notes:
    • Although Ignite won the task, the team dynamic was not harmonious; Lorraine was particularly disruptive and opposed some of her team's suggestions, cumulating in Yasmina shouting at her to be quiet. In the boardroom Margaret brought this up and Sugar did hint that had Ignite lost, Lorraine would have been fired.
    • It was also confirmed by Kate after the series had finished that Lorraine got drunk the night before this task and was forced to miss several hours of filming the next day.
    • While Sugar noted that Debra did appear to be at most fault for the loss, he spared her since she did try to take a risk with her idea, whereas Mona had taken a backseat once the theme had been decided. On You're Fired, the panel and Mona herself agreed that she deserved to be fired; Mona admitted she was not very creative which played a big part in her firing.
    • Sugar indirectly praised Howard's work ethic in this task, while heavily criticising James's. James did point out that he had overseen the photoshoot for the team's brochure, but Sir Alan was not impressed, and accused him of jumping on that task to avoid being part of the key decisions.

Week 9[edit]

  • Empire: James (Project Manager), Debra, Yasmina and Ben.
  • Ignite: Lorraine (Project Manager), Kate and Howard.
  • Task: Interview suppliers of baby equipment, select two products, then sell them on to potential customers at the country's biggest baby show. Most sales made, wins.[20]
  • Task Review: Ignite chose a padded toddler helmet and a travel pushchair, while Empire selected a home birthing pool and an expensive hand-made rocking horse, fiercely pushed by both Debra and Ben. Although they faced trouble when they found their travel pushchair was being sold elsewhere at the show for a cheaper price, Ignite came out firmly on top with sales, compared to Empire's, which was mostly blamed on the team's failure to sell any rocking horses.
  • Result: Ignite made sales of £1,600 (approx), while Empire made sales of £722
  • Winner: Ignite - By £878.
  • Reward: A caricature of themselves drawn by cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.
  • Brought into the boardroom: James, Ben and Debra
  • Fired: Ben - For aggressively lobbying for the rocking-horse and then failing to sell it, and failing to address criticism on his arrogant behaviour.
  • Notes:
    • In the boardroom, Ben boasted about the fact that he had been awarded a scholarship to Sandhurst, something he had done repeatedly throughout the series. Sir Alan called him out for constantly falling back on this, and also pointed to Series Three candidate Paul Callaghan (who, unlike Ben, actually attended Sandhurst) and his infamously poor management as evidence that the scholarship ultimately had little bearing on this show. This arguably sealed Ben's fate, as Sir Alan believed his lack of humility showed he had no future in the competition.
    • Despite surviving the boardroom both James and Debra were warned that they were on thin ice; James for his poor track record and laid-back management of the task, and Debra for also being responsible for picking the rocking horse and her ruthless behaviour, though she seemed more humble in the boardroom than on previous occasions, and certainly more so than Ben.

Week 10[edit]

  • Empire: Yasmina (Project Manager), Debra and James.
  • Ignite: Howard (Project Manager), Kate and Lorraine.
  • Task: Select a range of products and sell them live on a TV shopping channel. Most sales made, wins.[21]
  • Task Review: Empire chose a range of low-price products ranging from £14.99 to £29.99, including a remote control car, a gardening tool, hair clips and a head-wrap. They sold a large volume of goods, and Debra's selling of the head-wraps in particular was praised. Yasmina and James, however, made a faux pas for Ignite, by continually stating a price that was wrong; the team went for more of a mixture of products, including a lower-priced craft set and infra-red "air guitar", and a shallow fryer and leather jacket priced at £139.99 and £149.99 respectively. Despite their inclusion of higher value items, Ignite's sales were not as good as Empire's were.
  • Result: Ignite had sales of £1376.73, while Empire had sales of £1541.88.
  • Winner: Empire - By £165.15
  • Reward: A private flight with an aerobatics team.
  • Brought into the boardroom: Howard, Lorraine, Kate (the remaining three in the team)
  • Fired: Howard - For not taking enough risks and for lacking any truly exceptional qualities.
  • Notes:
    • After Empire's win, Yasmina became the first Apprentice candidate to hold a three win record as an individual Project Manager (Claire Young and Lee McQueen from the previous series also had three victories as Project Manager, but held the position jointly on the third occasion). This made her not only the most successful Project Manager in this series, but also of all time; Helen Milligan in series 7, equalled this record, but it has not been exceeded as of yet in the show's history.
    • On You're Fired, the decision of firing Howard was not supported by both the panel (including Margaret Mountford) and the mass majority of the audience, with the panel all agreeing that Lorraine should have been fired instead. While Howard was not shown to be fired with regret on the main episode, it was revealed on You're Fired that he was.
    • Kate attended her grandmother's funeral the day after this task and the subsequent boardroom scenes were completed, and the day before the task 11 interviews took place.

Week 11: Interviews[edit]

  • Semi-Finalists: Kate, Lorraine, James, Yasmina, Debra
  • Task: The five remaining candidates must undergo a series of interviews by four of Sir Alan's business colleagues.[22]
  • Candidate Reviews: Kate was felt to be the best all-round candidate, but there were questions about her being "too perfect" and she was also accused of being too controlled and robotic. Yasmina also received praise from the interviewers, but her motives for wanting to work for Sir Alan were called into question, and she was criticised for not knowing the turnover of her own restaurant, and also for getting her mother to re-mortgage her home to finance the restaurant's start-up costs. James was accused of not being serious enough, and for having a CV that was incomprehensible to anyone outside the communications industry. Debra earned fierce criticism, ironically enough from her own referees, for being difficult to work with due to her being extremely aggressive and bad-tempered. However, Sir Alan realised she was extremely skilled - other candidates claimed she was a "business expert", which was particularly impressive given her relative youth. Lorraine fared the worst, as her relatively sparse CV came in for criticism and she also stood accused of being hard to work with; she was also found to have overstated her previous employment term for a year, which she claimed was a typographical error, but the interviewer accused her of lying and attempting to pad out her CV.
  • Final Decision: In the boardroom, Sir Alan came to the conclusion that James's corporate background and failure to take things seriously made him completely unsuitable for the job, and he was the first to be fired. Lorraine went second, after Sir Alan decided that despite whatever intuition she had displayed, he couldn't overlook the poor reports from the interviewers and her former team-mates. Of the remaining candidates, Sir Alan had serious issues with Debra's attitude and Yasmina's motives, but found no such major faults with Kate and so made her the first finalist. Choosing the second was difficult, but Sir Alan reluctantly fired Debra in what he said was virtually a split-decision, making Yasmina the other finalist.
  • Fired:
    • James, with regret - For being a "corporate" person, which could not exist in Sir Alan's organisation.
    • Lorraine - For being unable to communicate clearly to the executives, as well as being too aggressive towards her former colleagues.
    • Debra - For being too aggressive and too difficult to work with.
  • Notes:
    • James firing had a major impact on the remaining four candidates, who all had tears in their eyes when he left, so Sir Alan sent them out of the boardroom to cool down before continuing.
    • Despite his reasons for firing Debra, Sir Alan left her a parting remark of - "Keep in touch."
    • This was technically the first treble firing in the show's history; three candidates were also left in the interview stage of the third series, but Katie Hopkins had stood down rather than being fired. Sir Alan also said that deciding on a final two from Debra, Kate, and Yasmina was very hard. He had given serious consideration to just firing James and letting the other four candidates all proceed to the final (in a repeat of the previous year), but decided not to after discussing Lorraine's performances in the previous tasks with Nick and Margaret during the intermission after James's firing. Nick and Margaret agreed that Lorraine was a far weaker candidate than any of the other three, and that she would hinder whoever she was paired up with in the final.

Week 12: The Final[edit]

  • Finalists: Kate and Yasmina
  • Kate's team: Kate (Project Manager), Debra, Rocky, Ben and Kimberly.
  • Yasmina's team: Yasmina (Project Manager), Howard, Philip, James and Lorraine.
  • Task: Create, brand and market a new box of chocolates, with a 30 second television advert, then pitch it in front of a panel of over 100 business and chocolate experts. Sir Alan decides the winner, based on the effort in the task.
  • Task Review: Kate and her team quickly chose a romantic theme of 'for him, for her, to share..." for their chocolates, which they named 'Intimate' before Debra criticized the name, saying it sounded like feminine sanitary product; Kate changed it to 'Choc d'amour' as a result. They worked with Master Chocolatier Paul A Young to develop a high quality product with flavours including Strawberry & Champagne, Sea-salted Caramel, Passionfruit, and Honey & Lemongrass. Meanwhile, Yasmina's team initially chose to theme their chocolates towards males, but after negative feedback, they decided on an unconventionally flavoured budget priced box called 'Coco Electric' which they developed with Gerard Coleman of L'Artisan du Chocolat. The design of Yasmina's box, the low price of £6, and the commercial were well praised, but the low quality of the product and poor flavours, which included strawberry & basil and chili & popping candy, were strongly criticised. However, while Kate's presentation and flavours were praised, her product was felt to be too expensive for the mass market at £13. In the end, Sir Alan decided that Yasmina was the better candidate of the two with their product.
  • Runner-Up: Kate - For being "too perfect and robotic", and for pricing the chocolates at a high retail price
  • Winner: Yasmina - For being more of a risk taker, and for a good, business promotion of her chocolates, despite the bad quality of the taste of the chocolates
  • Notes:
    • The broadcast was moved from its original slot on a Wednesday to the earlier Sunday. This was to avoid competing with a 2010 World Cup Group 6 qualifying match due to be shown live on ITV between England & Andorra.
    • Kate was the first person to get as far as the final having only been project manager once during the series. In addition, Sir Alan had claimed this to be the hardest decision he had ever made on the programme and if compared to any previous Apprentice winner, Kate would have won the job. But since Yasmina was more willing to take risks, he chose to hire her.
  • Response: Response to the final decision was mixed: The Mirror stated that "the wrong candidate won." [23] The Times merely noted that "the final, much like this series, was brisk, efficient and quite boring",[24] and in the blogosphere Edwin's Raisin declared it "all a bit much of a muchness in the end: both contestants impeccably competent in their performance of the final task and both fully accepting of the hype that Sir Alan is the fiercest, most successful businessman the world has ever known." [25]


Episode Viewing figures from BARB.[26]

Episode No. Airdate Total Viewers
BBC One 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
Series average 8.37 N/A


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  18. ^ "BBC One Programmes — The Apprentice Series 5, Episode 8". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
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  21. ^ "BBC One Programmes — The Apprentice Series 5, Episode 10". BBC. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
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External links[edit]