Posted by: on Mar 20, 2012 | No Comments

So the search for Lord Sugar’s next apprentice is about to return to our screens! Every year we become glued to our screens as we watch sixteen hopefuls week by week perform what seem ‘simple tasks’, as we tear our hair out and form our own opinions of who should be fired, and who should be hired!

This year is no different, as we have eight boys and girls who think they are god’s gift to business and all believe they should be Lord Sugar’s next apprentice. With quotes such as “I truly am the reflection of perfection.” from Ricky Martin (yes that really is his name) and “My personality and character is ‘once seen never forgotten.” from Jenna Whittingham, we can all cringe and have a good laugh when they fail on what is sometimes a simple task.

Looking at this year’s candidates, we seem to have a rather more mixed bunch than usual. As the boys are leading four hires to the girls three going into series 8, we will start with them first.


The Boys

Tom Gearing, 23: The youngest in the male category this year, at the age of 23. He is a Director of a Fine Wine Investment Company. Apart from the obvious of enjoying fine foods and wine in his spare time, he also likes to attend West Ham’s football matches. Brownie points with Karen Brady already then. He seems a decent guy, until he brings his vainness to the table claiming “Some people say i’m good looking, so that adds to the bill.”


Adam Corbally, 32: He has a great name and he should win! In seriousness though, Adam is a market trader who is a family man. He claims to be a confident and enthusiastic man but he is not ashamed to show his emotions. “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it, and I do it right” he claims, and also brings his friendly laid back attitude to his audition video saying “Sugar would like me.” That’s Lord Sugar to you Adam.


Azhar Siddique, 33: Where do we start with Azhar, the thrill-seeker has TWO pet sharks. He sounds more like a Bond Villain than an Apprentice contestant! Nothing seems to frighten him and he’s smart and switched on, commenting “It’s not who shouts the loudest; it’s who has the ability to control the conversation”. He is the Founder and Managing Director of a catering and refrigeration company.



Duane Bryan, 29: The Founder/Director of a drinks distribution company, he is inspired by the Jaegermeister brand. “I am a winner and I am a fighter, in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.” claims Duane. He’s gunning for the top. He is also somewhat a bit of a hero, as he once chased and caught a hit and run driver trying to flee the scene of a crash. What a guy!



Michael Copp, 31: “I’m better than unique; i’m naturally gifted in business.” says Copp, which makes you think he is just another contestant with an inflated ego, until I read that he says he would have liked to have been the brains behind Apple as he admires the way they corned the market with their products and set themselves apart from their rivals. Oh, he doesn’t seem to bad then, he talks some sense. Michael is a Managing Director of a kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer.


Nick Holzherr, 25: Nick is a Technology Entrepreneur, who lived in Switzerland for seven years as a child and was also named ‘emerging entrepreneur of the year’ by Insider Magazine in 2010. He would like to build and sell his own business before becoming an investor in start-up companies. “I’ve got lots of ideas, and i’ve got what it takes to make them actually happen.”



Ricky Martin, 26: Sharing his name with a pop-star, he won’t make you take your clothes off and go dancing in the rain, but he may make you wrestle instead, as by night and weekend he is a professional wrestler. Ricky is a recruitment team leader by day and has an Honours degree in Biochemistry. He also wishes he was the brains behind Facebook… Don’t we all Ricky… Don’t we all.



Stephen Brady, 33: Ireland born Stephen loves learning new languages, reading and writing stories.  He is a national sales manager and believes “Enthusiasm is a huge asset of mine and I believe it’s caught and not taught”. He also once played in the FA cup as a semi-professional footballer.




The Girls

Maria O’Connor, 20: The youngest contestant in the process ever, Maria is a restaurateur, who opened her own Greek restaurant at the age of 19 and is inspired by Gordon Ramsey. She admits that she is headstrong and cunning when it comes to business and says her persuasive charm helps her always get what she wants. Although she doesn’t seem the brightest tool in the box, you should never judge a book by its cover and she has achieved plenty in business for someone so young.


Bilyana Apostolova, 25: Bulgarian born Bilyana, is a Risk Analyst and started in business as young as six, when collecting snails from her grandparents’ farm to sell to pharmaceutical companies. “I got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the London.” Although she seems to be strong willed, she admits herself that her greatest weakness is dealing with confrontation. Seeing as the series if full of confrontation, this should be the perfect opportunity for her to get plenty of practice or completely crumble.


Gabrielle Omar, 29: “When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top.” Hopefully Gabrielle’s business sense is better than her metaphors! She is an architect, who seems to be very creative which will obviously help her in the range of tasks throughout the series. She also claims that she rules her life on gut feelings, and as a result never has regrets.



Jade Nash, 29: Who seems the most down to earth of all the female contestants, grew up helping at her parents’ caravan park. She lists her parents as her role models, as they both have their own businesses. Her passions are her friends, life and money and her favourite hobby is attending drag racing events. “What I want is to be able to retire when I’m 45, but I’m such a workaholic that I’ll probably carry on until I’m 80.”


Jane McEvoy, 28: A mother of one from Ireland, Jane is a co-founder of a food manufacturing company. She is also an animal lover, claiming if she didn’t have to worry about money she would open a shelter for cats and dogs. “Anything is achievable if you have drive, determination, and a seriously good work ethic.” claims Jane, who also admits to being an opinionated workaholic. She should be a good addition to the contestants this year.


Jenna Whittingham, 25: Homebody Jenna has never been away from home for longer than a week and can’t cook or clean. In other words, this show might help her get a life! Jenna is a beauty salon owner who spends her spare time horse riding and competing in show jumping events. So not so dull after all! Her ambition is to earn a million before she turns 30. Five years to go, it’s do-able!



Katie Wright, 26: “I would call myself ‘The Blonde Assassin’. I let people underestimate me just so I can blow them out of the water.” Sounds like the plot for Legally Blonde 3, but you can’t take anything away from this intelligent Editorial and Research Director, who admires Barack Obama for his charisma. Katie is a huge football fan who enjoys attending Fulham’s home games in her spare time.



Laura Hogg, 28: is a Scottish bridal shop owner, who claims her strength is that she will go out of her way for others, however she admits to sometimes being stubborn. Being a proud Scot, her inspiration is successful business woman, Michelle Mone. One thing that many people won’t know about Laura is that she is a former ice-skater and once skated with Torvill and Dean, so if her business acumen isn’t up to scratch, expect her to be on ITV’s Dancing On Ice in 2013!


So there we have it, an enthusiastic bunch of contestants all passionate and finally all out of cringe worthy comments. It’s now time for them to walk-the-walk, instead of just talking it.

The search for Lord Sugar’s next Apprentice continues. Tune in on BBC1 9pm Wednesdays.


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamHWard