The Apprentice (British series 8)

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The Apprentice (British series 8)
2012 Apprentice UK candidates.jpg
Promo group shot of Alan Sugar, Nick Hewer and Karren Brady standing amongst the candidates for series 8
Country of originUK
No. of episodes14
Original networkBBC One
Original release21 March (2012-03-21) –
3 June 2012 (2012-06-03)
Series chronology
← Previous
Series 7
Next →
Series 9

Series eight of The Apprentice (UK), a British reality television series, was broadcast in the UK during 2012, from 21 March to 3 June on BBC One. It is the last series to be produced by Talkback Thames, before FremantleMedia assigned production towards Boundless for subsequent series. While only one minor change was made to the format of the first task, the general format of the programme remained virtually unchanged. Alongside the standard twelve episodes, two specials were aired alongside this series – "The Final Five" on 29 May, and "Why I Fired Them" on 2 June.

Sixteen candidates took part in the eighth series, with Ricky Martin becoming the overall winner.[1] Excluding specials, the series averaged around 7.35 million viewers during its broadcast.

Series overview[edit]

Applications for the eighth series began towards the final episodes of the previous series, with auditions, interviews and assessments made in July 2011. Once the sixteen candidates for the final line-up were selected and notified, production began in Autumn of that year. Prior to the candidates starting their first task, the production staff and Alan Sugar opted for a minor change in the format of the first task, allowing candidates to view and use their accommodation before beginning the process – up until this series, candidates never used, let alone viewed their accommodations, until after the first task and the resulting boardroom scenes. In the first task, the men formed under the team name of Phoenix, while the women formed under the team name of Sterling.

Of those who took part, Ricky Martin would become the eventual winner, and go on to use Sugar's investment to set up a scientific recruitment company, Hyper Recruitment Solutions (HRS), on 23 October 2012.[1][2] He would later be invited back to help as an interviewer for the tenth series. Nick Holzherr, who would lose out in the final, would later go on to raise £1 million to invest in a new online business, "Whisk", and become a success story with what he learned from their participation in the programme.[3]


Candidate Background Age Result
Ricky Martin Recruitment Manager 26 Winner
Tom Gearing Director, Fine Wine Investment Company 23 Runner-up
Nick Holzherr Technology Entrepreneur 25 Fired in Finals
Jade Nash Business Development Manager 29
Adam Corbally Market trader 32 Fired after eleventh task
Stephen Brady Sales Manager, Health Clubs 33 Fired after tenth task
Gabrielle Omar Architect & Entrepreneur 29
Jenna Whittingham Beauty salon owner 25 Fired after ninth task
Laura Hogg Bridal shop owner 28 Fired after eighth task
Azhar Siddique Founder/director of catering and refrigeration company 33 Fired after seventh task
Katie Wright Editorial and research director 26 Fired after sixth task
Duane Bryan Drinks Distribution Entrepreneur 29 Fired after fifth task
Jane McEvoy Director, Food Manufacturing Company 28 Fired after fourth task
Michael Copp MD kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer 31 Fired after third task
Maria O’Connor Restaurateur 20 Fired after second task
Bilyana Apostolova Risk Analyst 25 Fired after first task

Performance chart[edit]

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


     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.
     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) [4]
991"Blank Canvas"[5]21 March 2012 (2012-03-21)7.61
Lord Sugar begins a new search for a business partner for 2012 amongst sixteen new candidates. In their first task, each team must brand a selection of blank souvenirs and sell these to London's tourists. The men focus on branding Union Jacks on teddy bears and red buses on bags, selling well despite overcharging on the bear and having quality control problems with the bags. The women focus on specialised customisation in their branding, including the option to add a message to souvenirs, but face problems from overspending and a lack of pricing strategy. A review of their performance soon reveals that Phoenix maintained control over their performance, leaving Sterling to be questioned over the mistakes they made. Amongst the losing team, despite one member being deemed at fault for the women's loss, Bilyana Apostolova becomes the first to be fired for constantly interrupting Lord Sugar in the boardroom, alongside her poor leadership of her sub-team and her abrasive personality.
1002"Household Gadget"[6]28 March 2012 (2012-03-28)7.51
For their next task, each team has to create a brand new household item for markets that have yet to be tapped, pitching their design to two major retailers. The men create a tabletop compost bin amongst their brainstorming, discounting a second design over concerns surrounding its potential popularity, securing orders for their choice in both pitches despite the actions of one member nearly ruining their first presentation. The women create a bathtub splash guard amongst their brainstorming, discounting a second design over concerns surrounding its manufacture, but provide poor pitches that face criticism for incorrect pricing information and requesting an unrealistic high volume order. Phoenix win the task with their design and good pitching skills, leaving Sterling to be questioned over their performance. Amongst the final three, Maria O'Connor is dismissed for her sub-par contributions and her aggressive behaviour, despite the mistakes made by the other two.
1013"Condiments"[7]4 April 2012 (2012-04-04)7.46
Teams face the challenge of coming up with a new condiment, complete with branding, with each team selling their concept to consumers in London. Sterling focus on a chutney consisting of pineapple and ginger, securing good sales with their product, despite having to reorganise an appointment with a retailer to correct the taste of their condiment. Phoenix focus on an Italian table sauce, yet secure few sales while facing issues from inefficient production of their condiment, no custom from passing trade, and a problematic member turning down a potentially lucrative order because it was not suitable to their liking. Sterling achieve a large profit from the sale of their chutney, winning the task against the poor sales of Phoenix's sauce, who are left to be questioned over the flaws in their performance. Amongst the final three, Michael Copp is fired for mismanaging the sales team, refusing the large order they received, and for demonstrating himself to be unsuitable to proceed in the process.
1024"Junk Shops"[8]11 April 2012 (2012-04-11)8.05
Lord Sugar assigns each team to purchase a selection of second-hand furniture, and then resell them for a higher price in their own retail space within London's East End. Phoenix focus on a strategy of keeping costs low and buying quality pieces, managing good sales throughout the task despite leaving their shop space quite sparse with this tactic. Sterling opt for a strategy of buying in bulk and customising their purchases before selling them, yet their good income from this decision is countered by high expenditures from the customisation work. In the boardroom, Phoenix's strategy proves highly successful, leaving Sterling to be questioned over the flawed tactics behind their performance. Amongst the final three, Jane McEvoy is dismissed for her weak sales and her poor track record, despite Lord Sugar having approved of her CV being the strongest amongst the other candidates.
1035"Keep Fit"[9]18 April 2012 (2012-04-18)7.24
Creating a brand new workout program, complete with promotional material, is the next challenge for teams, with each pitching their creation to a selection of gym chains. Phoenix focus on a program involving 1980s toys, receiving praise over their promo video, yet face difficulty in making orders due to questions over the storage of their program's accessories and its overall cost. Sterling focus on a program combining dancing and martial arts, providing good pitches and making reasonable sales, yet face criticism towards the marketing message of their promo video. In the end, Phoenix secure victory after receiving a large order from one gym chain, surpassing the total amount made by Sterling and leaving them to face scrutiny over their work. Amongst the final three, Duane Bryan is ejected from the process after being deemed responsible for his team's loss with the poor promotional video he created for them.
1046"Street Food"[10]25 April 2012 (2012-04-25)7.62
Heading to Edinburgh, each team is tasked with making quality street-side meals and selling their concoctions to hungry customers around the city. Phoenix opt for creating Italian meatball dishes with low-quality ingredients, but struggle to make sales, despite taking advantage of a football match to attract custom, due to overpricing their meals and making a deal that fails to provide sufficient customers. Sterling opt for creating Scottish beef casseroles with high-quality ingredients, performing efficiently on the task and making reasonable sales, despite initially choosing a poor marketing location that provides few consumers to sell to. Phoenix soon face questions over ignoring the task's criteria with their performance, after Sterling is commended for the profit they make. Amongst the losing team, Katie Wright finds herself being fired for the overpricing blunder, her poor marketing skills and her overall track record in the process.
1057"Flip it in Essex"[11]2 May 2012 (2012-05-02)7.14
Reinvesting in products that sell is the basis of the next task, as each team receives £150 from Lord Sugar to build up assets from buying and selling in Essex. Phoenix opt for selling a broad range of goods, yet lack a proper strategy because of their choices, with their performance hindered by the team leader reinvesting in the same goods and going on a fire sale before the task's deadline, reducing the amount of assets made. Sterling opt for selling a range of cosmetic products, reinvesting in fake tan sprayers that prove good sellers for the team and bring in a healthy amount of assets, despite delays by heavy traffic affecting their ability to sell at times. Sterling achieve victory with their performance, leaving Phoenix to be questioned over the mistakes they made. Amongst the losing team, despite their leader facing criticism over their management skills, Azhar Siddique is dismissed for his lack of contributions, poor communication within the team, and for failing to provide alternative solutions when criticising his leader's decisions.
1068"Street Art"[12]9 May 2012 (2012-05-09)6.96
Each team must represent an up-and-coming urban artist, holding an exhibition of their work and make commissions through the sale of their pieces to visitors and corporate clients. Sterling display strong enthusiasm that impresses the artist they choose to represent, managing good sales of their work despite certain members displaying a lack of salesmanship during their exhibition. Phoenix find themselves struggling to make any sales with the artist they choose to represent, thanks in part to their leader choosing them, despite managing to secure a second artist whose work is more appealing to visitors of their exhibition. Sterling secure a significant victory with the commissions they make, leaving Phoenix to face questions over what caused their loss. Amongst the losing team, Laura Hogg is fired for poor sales skills, providing an unconvincing argument for her survival in the process, and her inconsistent track record in tasks.
1079"English Bubbles"[13]16 May 2012 (2012-05-16)7.13
Teams find themselves tasked with providing a new brand identity for English sparkling wine, each creating their brand with a video advert and website, and pitching their concept to industry experts. Phoenix opt for a simple brand identity, but face issues with their concept due to their strong and informative advert featuring considerable mistakes, with the experts criticising their website for being poorly designed and targeting existing customers only. Sterling opt for a stylish brand identity, receiving praise for their clever website design and excellent pitch, but are criticised for their badly made advert. Based on the feedback from the experts, Lord Sugar deems Phoenix's brand design the winner, leaving Sterling to face questions over the critical flaw in their concept. Of the final three, Jenna Whittingham is ejected from the process after being deemed responsible for her team's loss through producing the poorly received advert.
10810"Discount Dealing"[14]23 May 2012 (2012-05-23)7.23
Each team faces the task of assisting a discount website in creating new offers, negotiating with high-end business and services to create exclusive bargains that will be attractive to potential customers. Phoenix focus on a measured approach with negotiations, achieving a reasonable amount of deals, despite the team leader struggling on making appointments and being less prepared in one of the meetings. Sterling focus on a strategy of acquiring multiple discounts from each of their meetings, getting many deals despite members targeting business not meeting the task's specifications and wasting time with a restaurant that would not offer any discounts they negotiated for. Of the deals accepted by the website, Phoenix's prove more valuable, leaving Sterling to face questions over their performance after losing the task. Amongst the losing team, Gabrielle Omar is fired for her low contributions and having lost her business passion in recent tasks, while Stephen Brady is fired for the team's flawed strategy and the other mistakes he made.
109SP–1"The Final Five"[15]29 May 2012 (2012-05-29)N/A
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 Lord Sugar's aides, Nick Hewer and Karren Brady.
11011"Affordable Luxury"[16]30 May 2012 (2012-05-30)7.23
In their penultimate task, teams find themselves each creating a brand new luxury product, complete with its own retail space, and pitching their ideas to industry experts. Sterling opt for creating a line of male grooming products, receiving praise for their presentation and the long-term plan of their range, but face concerns over the unappealing design of their retail space. Phoenix opt for creating a line of alcoholic sweets and high quality chocolates, yet despite being complimented for producing an appealing retail space design, their concept raises question over their pricing strategy, with their presentation hampered by a poorly focused pitcher. Feedback from the experts leads to Sterling's concept being deemed the winner, leaving Phoenix to argue amongst themselves over who is at fault for their loss. Amongst the losing team, Adam Corbally is dismissed for being responsible for his team's poor presentation, along with demonstrating no leadership skills and his overall weak track record throughout the process.
111SP–2"Why I Fired Them"[17]2 June 2012 (2012-06-02)N/A
As the final looms, Lord Sugar takes a look back to the tasks he set for this year's series of The Apprentice. From designing new condiments, to selling urban art, he relieves all of the mistakes, disasters and doomed decisions that were made, and gives out his reasons for what made him fire a candidate in that respective task when their arguments were not enough to survive the firing line in the boardroom.
11212"The Final"[18]3 June 2012 (2012-06-03)6.99

After facing tasks as teams, the four finalists now face their final task as individuals – a series of tough, gruelling interviews with four of Lord Sugar's most trusted associates to determine who is worthy of investment. Each member faces scrutiny over their backgrounds, work experience, track record, and business proposals when questioned by interviewers. Feedback to Lord Sugar, alongside observations by his aides, Jade Nash is the first candidate to be fired, due to concerns that the investment would inadequate to cover the costs of her proposal, with Nick Holzherr being dismissed next over raised questions about his proposal and being found to own a thriving business that could fund his idea. Among the remaining two, Ricky Martin becomes Lord Sugar's next business partner for 2012 due to his established track record in the recruitment industry and his focused business plan, leaving Tom Gearing to finish as runner-up due to his comparative inexperience, and unappealing high costs of his proposal.

Notes: This episode was originally broadcast as part of a two-hour crossover special with the programme's sister show, You're Fired. After the crossover special, this episode was broadcast separately in subsequent repeats.


Official episode viewing figures are from BARB.[4]

Airdate Viewers
weekly ranking
1 21 March 2012 7.61 6
2 28 March 2012 7.51 7
3 4 April 2012 7.46 5
4 11 April 2012 8.05 6
5 18 April 2012 7.24 7
6 25 April 2012 7.62 7
7 2 May 2012 7.14 7
8 9 May 2012 6.96 2
9 16 May 2012 7.13 5
10 23 May 2012 7.23 3
11 30 May 2012 7.23 8
12 3 June 2012 6.99 9


Special Airdate Viewers
weekly ranking
The Final Five 29 May 2012 N/A N/A
Why I Fired Them 2 June 2012 N/A N/A


  1. ^ a b "Apprentice winners through the years – and where they are now". Daily Star. 1 October 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Lord Sugar and latest Apprentice Ricky Martin launch Hyper Recruitment Solutions". Recruiter. 24 October 2012.
  3. ^ Lowri Williams (4 October 2017). "APPRENTICE FINALIST NICK HOLZHERR IS WALKING ON AIR". BusinessCloud. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Blank Canvas, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  6. ^ "Household Gadget, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  7. ^ "Condiments, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  8. ^ "Junk Shops, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  9. ^ "Keep Fit, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  10. ^ "Street Food, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  11. ^ "Flip it in Essex, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  12. ^ "Street Art, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  13. ^ "English Bubbles, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  14. ^ "Discount Dealing, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  15. ^ "The Final Five, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  16. ^ "Affordable Luxury, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  17. ^ "Why I Fired Them, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".
  18. ^ "The Final, Series 8, The Apprentice – BBC One".

External links[edit]