The Apprentice 2012 – Nick Hewer and Karren Brady size up the remaining eight candidates

Who possesses the ideal balance of honesty and guile to impress Lord Sugar's trusted aides?

Lord Sugar’s advisers Nick Hewer and Karren Brady give their verdict on the final eight vying to be his next business partner…


Tom Gearing


NICK SAYS: What an enigmatic bloke! He is very quietly spoken with remarkable composure, which means that when he does talk people listen to him. And he is bright, a strategist, thoughtful. But is he a salesman? Is he a leader? Can he enthuse his troops? I don’t know that he can. Where is his passion? Would his troops follow him through a minefield? I’m kind of surprised he has done as well as he has — I’m still waiting for him to ignite.

KARREN SAYS: Very mature, with a real ability to look at a situation and pluck the best opportunity from it. While the others jump straight into a task he takes the time to think of a strategy. He isn’t afraid to take a risk, and that is something that Lord Sugar likes.

Jade Nash

NICK SAYS: She has a lot going for her. A creative lady who is also tough and determined, which is a lethal combination. As the competition goes on she will shine and show she has a lot of steel to her. She is a strong woman and Lord Sugar has employed lots of strong women in the past. Lord Sugar is an absolute demon for detail and the great thing about hiring a brilliant woman is that they are much better at detail than men.

KARREN SAYS: I love Jade’s no-nonsense approach to business. Having followed her on the fitness task and seen the way she handled Adam Corbally I was very impressed — he was just so annoying. She showed more patience than I ever could and tolerated him in a way few people could have. She is direct and honest with a lot of potential.

Stephen Brady

NICK SAYS: He is very quick on his feet — he has the fastest sidestep in the boardroom — but he is bound to trip up soon. He is able to divert responsibility for a task on to anybody else, when the blame should fall on his shoulders. Sometimes it is a good thing to accept responsibility for your mistakes and Lord Sugar actually admires that in a candidate. You can tell he is a salesman — he has got the gift of the gab. But having the gift of the gab is great if nobody realises you have it; once you have been clocked you lose all credibility and everything you say is questioned.

KARREN SAYS: At 33, he is the oldest in the process and at the beginning that earned him respect. But as the other candidates grow in confidence they think less about experience and more about themselves.

Nick Holzherr

NICK SAYS: A straightforward and honest character, intellectual in his analysis of events and sophisticated in his thinking. He is bright and I like him. I don’t know how much guile he has, though. A naturally decent guy, but sometimes you need a bit of cunning. Would he barge the competition out of the way? He may have it in him, we’ll just have to wait and see. Lord Sugar hasn’t seen much of him — he hasn’t been in the boardroom yet, so he is a bit of a mystery.

KARREN SAYS: He is quiet but very well respected by the rest of the candidates. His real strength lies in the technology aspect of tasks and he hasn’t had a chance to show that yet. He is also a team player, and he can get on with a task without needing to be managed, which is very important.

Adam Corbally

NICK HEWER SAYS: He is a bit of a conundrum to me because he seems to be insufferably thick, but he then turns on an extraordinary sales technique that really gets results. He knew nothing about street art — it was a million miles from where he comes from — and yet he sold it well. The northern greengrocer takes on the southern trendies and does brilliantly well. I have my doubts that Lord Sugar could work with him, though — I fear he would find him a little too simple.

KARREN BRADY SAYS: Bless him, whatever the task is, Adam will get involved and you have to admire that to a degree. He’s terrified that if the camera isn’t on him Lord Sugar will forget him — he doesn’t realise it’s not the quantity of contribution, it’s the quality.

Jenna Wittingham

NICK SAYS: She’s a lovely girl from Preston — very down to earth, pleasant to work with and full of northern charm. She’s also a very good showjumper, but it’s yet to be seen whether she can jump the hurdles in front of her in the next few stages of the competition.

KARREN SAYS: Her voice grates on you a bit, but I like her. As the tasks get harder and harder towards the final, it will be interesting to see how she copes with the pressure — and with her fellow team mates. She has had a couple of knocks during the process so far and those can either ruin a candidate’s confidence or be the making of them. She needs to be careful when it comes to her finances because they have let her down a couple of times and are a real weakness.

Ricky Martin

NICK SAYS: Ricky “The reflection of perfection”, as he calls himself, has really surprised me. He has proved to be a smart young man, structured in his thought process, a good presenter and numerate — all the qualities necessary to be a good businessman. Whether he has the creativity to be an entrepreneur is another question. He comes from a recruitment background, where he spends his days following a brief, which explains his lack of imagination so far, and may prove to be his downfall.

KARREN SAYS: Ricky the wrestler has been on the biggest journey of all of the contestants. He came in happy to point the finger of blame at everyone but himself when things went wrong. But he soon realised that to win you have to get the best out of your team. Now he has come full circle.

Gabrielle Omar

NICK SAYS: I like her for her honesty, innocence, enthusiasm, creativity and passion, but has she got that killer instinct? I think not. She is an honourable soul and lacks the guile necessary to succeed in business. She lacks the steel to come up with a successful strategy and to see it through. Will she plunge the knife in to close a sale, to beat someone in the boardroom or ensure success? I don’t think Lord Sugar would have the patience for her as a business partner.

KARREN SAYS: A nice young woman. Bubbly personality, easy to get along with and as the pressure increases towards the final she is a breath of fresh air. She manages to keep people light and relaxed. She is creative, arty and a great team player, but she lacks the cutting edge to make it in the business world.

The Apprentice is on BBC1, Wednesdays at 9.00pm 


This is an edited version of an article first published in the Radio Times (19-25 May)