The Apprentice (UK) is a British reality competition television series in which a group of aspiring young businessmen and women compete for the chance to win a £100,000-a-year job as "apprentice" to the British business magnate Sir Alan Sugar.
The Apprentice, billed as a "job interview from hell", is modelled on the American series of the same name, which stars entrepreneur Donald Trump.
The series originally premiered in the UK on BBC Two on 16 February, 2005. It moved to BBC One from the third season onwards.
The Apprentice (UK) premiered in South Africa on DStv's BBC Prime (now BBC Entertainment) channel on Monday 9 June 2008, at 20h30. It moved to DStv's BBC Knowledge channel for the second season and to BBC Entertainment for the third. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 5 premiered on BBC Entertainment on Wednesday 20 April 2011, at 21h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 12 episodes in the fifth season.
There's only one winner on The Apprentice and no second prizes.
The 12-week competition sets the candidates through a gruelling series of tasks and the first prize is the job of Sir Alan Sugar's apprentice, with a six figure salary.
The rules are simple. Each week, the candidates are divided into two teams and Sir Alan briefs them on the new task. The team appoints a project manager and this person is responsible for leading the task.
Each task is set to stretch the candidates' creative and business skills, but the bottom line is can the team make that important profit? Sir Alan doesn't take kindly to candidates making a loss.
Throughout the task, Sir Alan's advisers Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer shadow the teams and report back to Sir Alan in the boardroom.
At the end of the task, the candidates are called to the boardroom to face Sir Alan and his advisers. The figures are tallied up and the team with the biggest profit win and are given a well-deserved celebratory treat.
The losing team are sent off to discuss their failings and then it's back to the boardroom for a grilling from Sir Alan. Finally, the project manager selects two fellow team-mates that he or she feels were responsible for the downfall of the team.
The final three face Sir Alan and one of them gets fired.
Season 5 Candidates
Career: Business Strategist
Qualifications: LLB in Law & Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice
Cricket fanatic Anita Shah is a qualified lawyer and self-confessed perfectionist. Anita hopes, one day, to complete a chick-lit novel and launch a new business providing emotional, psychological and spiritual therapy.
She is inspired by James Caan for believing that you can be successful by investing in relationships and being nice to people, rather than being ruthless or devious.
Anita considers herself to be a humanitarian with a 'Bridget Jones' alter-ego.
Career: Senior Sales Consultant
Qualifications: BA in English Literature
Outspoken saleswoman Debra Barr was awarded 'mouth of the year' at her office Christmas party and confesses to being a bit 'tenacious'.
Buckinghamshire-born Debra considers herself to be a direct and driven saleswoman with a passion for business and a love of horses.
At the age of ten Debra had a reading age of a six-year-old but she won her struggle with literacy and went on to study English Literature at university.
Inspired by Bill Gates and Richard Branson she is a go-getter who would rather ask for forgiveness than permission.
Career: Licensing Development Manager
Qualifications: BSc in Psychology and Management
Born in Staffordshire, Kate Walsh is confident and resilient with what she describes as an ability to develop and sustain business relationships at all levels.
The indie music fan lists cooking, snowboarding and gym workouts as passions she pursues with relentless enthusiasm.
Although she regrets not applying to Oxbridge, Kate continues to be a highly motivated and ambitious professional with an educated opinion on most issues.
She admires the ballsy approach to business of Sex & The City's Samantha.
Career: Marketing Consultant
Qualifications: BA in Music Management
Born in The Bronx, New-Yorker Kimberly Davis is an accomplished musician and business owner who believes that no dream is too big.
Kimberly's entrepreneurial spirit blossomed at an early age when, aged five, she started her own lemonade and ice tea stand. She has since gone on to launch highly successful marketing and development businesses.
With an impressive musical history, Kimberly has performed Mozart at Carnegie Hall, danced onstage at Disney World, played flute in Disneyland's Electric Light Parade, and toured the US East Coast playing violin with the Essex County Chamber Orchestra.
A strong believer in Karma, Kimberly insists she has no 'poker face' and lists Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Apple as her most inspiring brands.
Career: National Accounts Manager
Qualifications: NHC in Business Studies
Mother-of-two, Lorraine Tighe was born in London and left school at 16. Since then she has gone on to be the top sales person in every company she has ever worked for.
Talkative Lorraine admits to having very little education and has endured many trials and tribulations throughout her life.
She sums up her attitude to business as the ability to drive a dead horse to the winning line.
Career: Senior Business Manager
Qualifications: A Levels
Born in Karachi, former Tanzanian beauty-queen and stubborn mother-of-one Mona Lewis would love to have been the brains behind Tesco.
She sees herself as shrewd and honest in business and believes that personal emotions should never interfere with decision making.
Describing herself as an open-minded decision maker, Mona chose to apply for The Apprentice as a result of her desire to step out of her comfort zone and change the lives of herself and her son.
Career: Human Resource Consultant
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
Lives: Walsall, West Midlands
Fashion conscious Paula Jones is an academic with a love for interior design. Born and raised in Walsall, Paula, a self-confessed scatter brain, admits to liking being liked and shying away from conflict.
She finds that, as a result of this, she is often left with unresolved issues.
At the age of 18, Paula was a four star sergeant in the army cadets and represented the army at county level in shooting.
Qualifications: BSc Economic History With Population Studies
Highly ambitious restaurant owner and marathon runner Yasmina Siadatan was born in Hull and spent time living in Los Angeles and Iran before settling in London.
Yasmina, who first experienced the world of business in her dad's restaurant, describes herself as dominating yet adaptable and believes that business is about spotting a gap in the market and filling it better than anyone else.
She admires Richard Branson's attitude to personal-service and would love to have been the brains behind Microsoft, where the right idea at the right time led to riches.
Career: Trainee Stockbroker
Qualifications: BA (Hons) Economics & Business
Belfast born and bred, Ben Clarke is the rebellious stockbroker who considers himself to be ruthless and money-obsessed.
The former Gavin Henson lookalike is inspired by the Playboy brand and cites Hugh Heffner as one of his most admired business figures.
Rugby-playing Ben admits to being 'cocky' but insists that he takes business very seriously. He is a young professional with what he describes as a raw hunger to make as much money as possible.
Career: Retail Business Manager
Qualifications: CIMA Part-qualified accountant - BSc (Hons) Maths and Business Studies
Born in Surrey, Howard Ebison is an enthusiastic businessman who thrives in managerial positions.
Howard, an award winning dancer, self-trained musician and area manager of 10 pubs, believes that people enjoy working for him. His teenage jobs included a paper round he got sacked from and a fish and chip shop shift he despised.
He now describes himself as family-orientated, but also ambitious for his career. He hopes to set up his own consultancy specialising in customer service one day.
Career: Senior Commercial Manager
Qualifications: MA Hons in Economics
Family man James McQuillan describes himself as a 'schmoozer' who people feel comfortable around. Football referee, sports fanatic and former child chess champion James is inspired by people with passion.
He cites the likes of Al Pacino and JK Rowling as his inspirational figures.
James, who claims to suffer from 'foot in mouth syndrome,' has worked as a labourer, trolley collector and a nightclub doorman before finding his niche in commercial management.
He describes himself as likeable and selfless and would love to have been the brains behind The A-Team.
Career: Business Development Manager
Qualifications: BSc Computer Science
Reformed rebel Majid Nagra sees himself as loyal to the belief that business is the backbone to the world.
Coventry-born Maj, who describes his attitude as 'never say die,' was expelled from school for wayward behaviour. He subsequently changed his life around and now works with youth centres and charities while running his own car hire business.
Describing himself as funny and talkative, Maj says he never shies away from the spotlight.
Career: Science Teacher
Qualifications: GTTP, CIM
Science teacher Noorul Choudhury hopes to become a property development millionaire. Fashion-obsessed, he believes that Argos should be banned from selling jewellery and aims to start up a men's tailoring business one day.
Describing himself as a straight-talking leader, he loves being kept on his feet and confesses to always putting work first.
He believes that business is a cut throat, dog-eat-dog game that you must play to win.
Career: Estate Agent
Qualifications: NEBS Certificate in Management
Lives: County Durham
Born and raised in County Durham, Philip Taylor describes himself as 'confident and charming' and believes he can deal with people on any level.
As a self confessed control-freak he is passionate about all projects he involves himself in and considers himself to be a nice guy who people can relate to.
He believes that you should make friends, but make money while doing it.
Career: Sandwich Chain Owner
Lives: North Yorkshire
Rocky Andrews is this year's youngest candidate and already earns more than the salary on offer from Sir Alan.
He left school at 16 to pursue a football career with Middlesbrough United but was soon diagnosed with arthritis making it impossible to continue.
A year later, Rocky decided to start up a lucrative sandwich business which now includes 15 shops across the North East of England.
Season 1 (12 episodes)
Channel: BBC Prime | Premiere: 9 Jun 2008 | Finale: 25 Aug 2008 | Mon, 20h30
Season 2 (12 episodes)
Channel: BBC Knowledge | Premiere: 12 May 2009 | Finale: 28 Jul 2009 | Tue, 21h30
Season 3 (12 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 7 Oct 2009 | Finale: 23 Dec 2009 | Wed, 20h30
Season 4 (12 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 31 Mar 2010 | Finale: 16 Jun 2010 | Wed, 20h30
Season 5 (12 episodes)
Channel: BBC Entertainment | Premiere: 20 Apr 2011 | Finale: 6 Jul 2011 | Wed, 21h30