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Who deserves to win “The Apprentice” final?

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As if the first 10 weeks of BBC One’s “The Apprentice” were not hard enough for the five surviving candidates, last night they faced their toughest challenge yet – gruelling interviews with some of Sir Alan Sugar’s most trusted business associates.

Every detail of their personal and professional lives was to be picked apart by the fearsome panel and there would be a further grilling by Sir Alan back in the boardroom.

The interview stage has thrown up some memorable moments in series past (remember Lee McQueen’s reverse pterodactyl?) but the remaining candidates; James, Kate, Lorraine, Yasmina and Debra all pretended not to be bothered, with Yasmina boasting: “I’ve never had an interview and not got the job.”

She was the first to be made to eat her words when Sir Alan’s trouble-shooter Claude Litner produced her restaurant’s accounts. Yasmina, supposedly one of Britain’s “brightest business talents”, did not know the difference between gross profit and net profit or what turnover is. “It’s what you are turning over,” she muttered. “You’re talking nonsense,” said Claude.

“The Apprentice” candidates are all washed up

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The task on last night’s episode of “The Apprentice” had to be the hardest of the series so far. Sir Alan Sugar met the candidates at the O2 Arena, formally the Millenium Dome, and gave them all a lesson in the art of re-branding.

Their challenge was to use their creative and marketing skills to re-brand one of the UK’s faded seaside tourist attractions – Margate.

Pants Man leaves “The Apprentice”

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After shouting his way through the previous tasks, estate agent Philip Taylor was booted off ”The Apprentice” last night for breaking that age-old rule: never mix business with pleasure.

Sent to Manchester and Liverpool to sell products pitched to them by inventors, loudmouth Phil instead spent the entire task flirting with Kate — favourite to win the competition — and cheekily saying things like “I’d buy anything off her” as if he was auditioning for a role in a Carry On film.

The invisible man leaves “The Apprentice”

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So long Noorul Choudhury, we barely knew you. Mainly because we did not even know you existed.

After surviving for five weeks by lurking in the background and hoping Sir Alan Sugar would not notice he was there, Noorul has finally been ejected from this series of “The Apprentice”.

“The Apprentice” candidates not worth very much

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The chief villain of the latest series of “The Apprentice”, now at the half-way stage, is undoubtedly Belfast-born Ben Clarke, who has wound up not just his fellow contestants and Sir Alan Sugar but everyone at home watching the show.

His claim three weeks ago that he should not be fired because he had “won a scholarship to Sandhurst” will surely become part of reality TV folklore. The former stockbroker is on top form again this week, when viewers finally get to see if he can live up to his own hype as project manager of team Empire.

Another one goes as “The Apprentice” candidates fail to clean up

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Cheerio Paula Jones! You may have had nice hair, but you were rubbish at counting.

It has to be said, however, that once again Sir Alan Sugar fired the wrong candidate in last night’s episode of “The Apprentice”. Charged with setting up their own cosmetics business, the two teams had to make and sell their own beauty products using all natural ingredients.

Beauty in the eyes of “The Apprentice” beholders

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Incompetence, in-fighting and all-round confusion. That’s right folks, “The Apprentice” is back on our screens tonight and this time “Britain’s best business prospects” (their words, not ours) are here to show us how not to sell beauty products.

Sir Alan Sugar shuffles the teams again (as if that will make any difference) and picks two of the “quiet ones” as project managers. Paula and Noorul lead the teams as they try to create and sell their own line of cosmetics and, for once, they both get off to a good start.

Candidates feel the heat in “The Apprentice” kitchen

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After a monumentally useless performance in last week’s opening task, “The Apprentice” candidates return to our screens tonight to add further ridicule to the claim that they are the “brightest business prospects in Britain.”

This week’s task sees them struggling to… make sandwiches. It is boys versus girls again and team Ignite and team Empire have to set up a catering service in the City of London, pitching for business, sourcing ingredients, creating menus and basically making a pig’s ear of the whole thing.

“The Apprentice” makes a welcome return

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You have to ask yourself, following last night’s opening episode of the fifth series of reality show “The Apprentice”, why lawyers even bother entering the competition. Sir Alan Sugar reportedly has little time for legal eagles and it was pretty clear, once her team had lost the first task, that poor Anita Shah, pictured, was going to be the first one booted out of the competition.

Mind you, she was pretty useless.

The show’s opening claim that the candidates, who are competing for a job with Sir Alan Sugar and a six figure salary, are “Britain’s brightest business prospects” is patently untrue. “The Apprentice” seems to have adopted the Big Brother mantra of selecting candidates not for their worth but because of their oversized egos, unwarranted self-belief and willingness (in some cases eagerness) to stab each other in the back.

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