Five hopefuls who aimed to do the business for Leeds and Yorkshire on The Apprentice.

The Apprentice is back on the box tonight and flying the flag for the business brains of Yorkshire will be Ruth Whiteley.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th October 2015, 12:04 pm
Paul Torrisi.
Paul Torrisi.

One-time local radio presenter Ruth, 47, comes from Harrogate and owns a sales and training consultancy.

But she is not the first person from the Broad Acres to have tried to win Lord Sugar’s approval since the hugely-successful BBC One show began back in 2005.

Here we look at five of the other Tykes who have braved the boardroom desperately hoping to dodge the programme’s “you’re fired” catchphrase.

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Paul Tulip.

Leeds entrepreneur Paul Torrisi made it all the way to the final four in the first series of the programme.

Famously self-confident, he later said: “Let’s not pull any punches, I was good on the show.

“There are some people who thought the best thing to do was keep their head down and hope they would get through to the latter stages by not being noticed, but that was never going to be me.

“I’d never been in front of TV cameras before The Apprentice, but it felt quite natural.”

Andy Jackson.

Paul reportedly sold his property business for £4m in late 2005.

Another Leeds hopeful, Paul Tulip, reached the semi-final of the show’s second series in 2006.

Paul once secured a business deal after sending a pair of jeans with the knees cut out to a managing director with a note saying, ‘Look I’m on my knees’.

And the headhunter was in bullish mood going into the programme, declaring: “I have always been successful.

Claire Young.

“People have said I should be on stage as a career. I have always stepped up to the mic, and I think that will come across. Everyone should have a Paul in the house.”

Speaking about his Apprentice experience after his exit from the show, he said: “There’s always an element of editing, they’ve got 200 hours of film, so of course people’s characteristics are emphasised and of course what you see is not always the whole picture.

“But when you’re in that kind of environment, you do analyse yourself and when you watch yourself back you do think ‘I could do things differently’.

“I’m pretty happy with how I came across, more or less, it was pretty much the real me.”

Series three of The Apprentice featured Leeds car sales manager Andy Jackson – but not for long.

Andy crashed out in the first week after being picked to act as leader of the men’s team as they attempted to sell coffee.

Lord Sugar decided that the 36-year-old talked too much and gave him his marching orders.

Andy later said: “I don’t regret it for a second. Even though I failed spectacularly I’m still glad I gave it a go.

“The fact that Alan Sugar thought I had a one in 16 chance of being the right person to work for him is good enough for me.”

Claire Young got to the show’s final in 2008, with her no-nonsense style earning her the nickname The Rottweiler along the way.

The former Wakefield Girls’ High School pupil has put the entrepreneurial flair she demonstrated on the programme to good use in a successful career as a businesswoman.

She set up a firm, School Speakers, providing “experienced, interesting and knowledgeable” speakers for schools, colleges and universities.

Claire, from Wakefield, admits the level of recognition that came with TV fame was something of a surprise: “I can remember being in M&S packing some shopping and this man came up and started telling me his opinions about me!”

But she also stresses she has no regrets about her decision to appear, saying: “The show has changed my life.”

Leeds businesswoman Francesca MacDuff-Varley reached the final three of the programme – and its dreaded interview stage – in 2013 with her idea for a northern-based chain of dance centres.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post after being told “you’re fired”, she said: “The interviews were tough, emotional and took a lot of stamina.

“When Lord Sugar says those words to you, it feels like a mixture of disappointment and relief.

“But to get to the final three is an amazing achievement. I’ve never even watched the programme before – I do things on a bit of a whim.”

Asked about the good wishes she had received from Leeds and Yorkshire, Francesca said: “Some of the northern candidates have had a really big boost from the support they’ve had and for me it’s been a privilege to have Yorkshire people backing me. I love Leeds and live in the city and would never move.”