The Apprentice 2019 - a look back at Yorkshire's contestants as the BBC prepares to air new series

The Apprentice hits television screens again next month - but no Yorkshire contestants made the candidate list for the 2019 showdown.

By John Blow
Wednesday, 25th September 2019, 6:00 pm
Sir Alan Sugar. Credit: PA/Owen Humphreys
Sir Alan Sugar. Credit: PA/Owen Humphreys

But Yorkshire has loomed large in previous bouts - so here's a look back at those from our region who went up against Lord Sugar.

Sian Gabbidon

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Sian Gabbidon at Trinity Leeds. Picture: Steve Riding.

Sian Gabbidon, from Leeds, entered the show last year aged 25 as the owner of a swimwear brand - and went on to win the show, earning £250,000 of investment.

She came to the show with clients including celebrities and celebrity stylists, saying that she identified with Coco Chanel as a role model in business because she "came from nothing and worked her way to the top".

Sian went up against Lancashire's Camilla Ainsworth in the final and came out on top.

Her brand Sian Marie Fashion is now popular Michelle Keegan, Kate Wright, Love Islanders Kaz Crossley, Haley Hughes and Georgia Steele, according to her publicists.

David Alden, from East Yorkshire. Credit: BBC.

The brand is also now being stocked in ASOS and available in the UK, America and Europe.

Now, Sian will be launching an exciting new podcast called The Wake Up Call where she, alongside celebrity guests, will be sharing their thoughts on the latest episodes of new series of The Apprentice.

David Alden

Frances Bishop. Credit: BBC/Boundless/Jim Marks.

The tax advisor from East Yorkshire was in the same series, but only got down to the last 15, later telling The Daily Express: "The pressure from every angle is massive on this and when you get to the boardroom, it’s just magnified.

“Honestly, what you see is what you get. There’s no retakes, no kind of nice introductions. Lord Sugar is exactly as you see him."

Going into the programme, David, who was then 32, said that he could speak to anyone about anything, though would get frustrated when others didn't share his "unwavering positivity", according to the BBC.

Frances Bishop

Francesca MacDuff-Varley. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Doncaster mum Frances owns The Pud Store, after starting the company with £600.

Before appearing on the 2016 show aged 25 - from which she was "fired" in week 11 - she described herself as talkative with a feisty personality, which she believed was what has got her so far in the business world. She wanted to impress Lord Sugar with her strong positive outlook.

She later told the Doncaster Free Press: “I didn’t have any retail experience before I opened this store. I was just winging it most of the time. I have been working since I was 14. I was a barmaid and a waitress, and then I went to university, but it just wasn’t for me.

“I dropped out in my second year and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Then I started working in marketing, and then in 2014 I thought of the idea of Pud store and now here we are. It’s been hard work, but it’s so worth it.”

Ruth Whiteley

The Harrogate sales training consultancy owner, who was 47 at the time, described herself as positive, colourful and driven, but was "fired" in week four of series 11 in 2015.

Her background was in telephone sales, though she previously worked as a DJ on a mid-morning show for her local radio station as well as a stint as a court reporter.

The contestant's biggest business achievement before entering the show date was setting up the telephone sales teams for an online schooling company in Scotland and Australia, as well as expanding the growth of the sales team in Philadelphia, USA.

She said: “Lord Sugar might think I’m a bit gushing, he might find me over-zealous, but I think he’ll think I’m great.’’

Francesca MacDuff-Varley

Dance and entertainment entrepreneur Francesca, from Leeds, came third in the 2013 competition.

A classically trained dancer, one of Francesca’s first jobs was teaching baby ballet at her local dance studios.

Ahead of the show, aged 32, she said: “I’m prepared to fight to the death to become Lord Sugar’s business partner.”

Speaking later to the Yorkshire Evening Post after being "fired", she said: “When Lord Sugar says those words to you, it’s a mixture of disappointment and relief.

“The interviews were tough, emotional and took a lot of stamina.

“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.”