The Apprentice: The final five

By: Rachel Miller

Date: 8 July 2011

Missed the eleventh episode? Catch up here.

There’s no task in this episode — but it’s a chance to find out more about the final five and remind ourselves of how they managed to get to this point. So who are the final five?

Jim Eastwood

Jim describes his special powers: ”I can read people. I can gauge others. I can take their hearts and I can take their minds and I’m good at getting them to do what I need them to do.”

Natasha on Jim’s powers: “People seem to get jim-onised. And it’s almost like he’s got the ability to hypnotise them.”

Karren Brady on Jim’s powers: “Jim has the ability to control people and they don’t even know he’s controlling them. Actually I’ve never seen anything like it in Lord Sugar’s boardroom before.”

Lord Sugar asks an important question: “I don’t know what you’re made of mate — is it brains or bollocks?”

Nick Hewer sums it up: “Nobody would argue that Jim is not a great salesman and a great negotiator. But is he just a salesman? Has he got the creativity, the versatility to lead a business?”

Moment of glory: When Jim persuaded Leon not to pick him in the boardroom.

The bottom line: The man can sell and he can twist people around his little finger. But can he control Lord Sugar? I very much doubt it.

Natasha Scribbins

Jim on Natasha: “I would liken her to a Tasmanian devil. A ball of energy.”

What Karren Brady says: “Natasha is a really canny girl. She’s the only candidate that saw straight through Jim.”

What Lord Sugar says about her poor performance in the reinvestment task in week ten: “Are you having a laugh?”

Moment of glory: Natasha proved to be a brilliant lads’ mag editor. Could she be a future editor of a new Sunday tabloid perhaps?

The bottom line: She’s got all the things that Apprentice candidates like to brag about: a fighting spirit, determination, drive. She’s certainly got a tough exterior — but is she a bit of an empty vessel?

Susan Ma

What Nick Hewer says: I think she’s quite a force to be reckoned with.”

But then he adds: “She has an unhappy knack of rubbing people up the wrong way.”

And then he warns her: “You cave in too fast to weightier voices. Sometimes you talk great sense but you don’t push your point strongly enough because you’re overawed by those around you.”

What Jim calls her: “The meek little mouse.”

What Lord Sugar calls her: “The mouse that roared.”

Moment of glory: She excelled in Paris selling the universal gripper and leading the winning team.

The bottom line: Yes she needs to be more forceful to get her points across. But the problem is, she doesn’t actually always get it right. She’s inconsistent and perhaps just too young to be a contender.

Helen Milligan

Karren Brady on Helen’s presentation skills: “She delivered an absolutely perfect pitch. I’ve been in business a long time and it takes years of practice to deliver one as good as that.”

But Lord Sugar spots a weakness: “Suddenly the most simple principle of business and you made a big mistake.”

Karren Brady asks the big question: “The truth about Helen is she’s got the best record. Nine wins and one loss. And in fact the only question mark against her is why hasn’t she set up her own business? What has she been waiting for?”

Moment of glory: Undoubtedly the La Redoute pitch in Paris where she got a €214,000 order. Closely followed by her success on the biscuit task that saw her bring in a record-breaking order for 800,000 units.

The bottom line: Helen is composed, confident, intelligent, charming, organised and refreshingly free of bullshit.  And she’s totally focused on the prize. She’s clearly boardroom material but is she an entrepreneur? 

Tom Pellereau

Tom reveals his ambition: “I think I wanted to be an inventor since I was four.”

Jim on Tom’s number-crunching: “He can give you the information that you need that you would get from an accountant in a real-life business.”

Nick Hewer on Tom’s run of bad luck: “Tom has got to be one of the most frustrating characters we’ve ever had. He has the most appalling record of losses and yet we know that he’s smart. He needs a bit more steel.”

Nick Hewer appears to back Tom: “If Lord Sugar was going to go into business with Tom he could certainly rely on Tom for all those detailed calculations, the money and all the rest of it. And added to that, Tom’s got one huge benefit, he can conceive and design products and take them to market. But — and it’s a big but — Tom lacks backbone. But, on the other hand, Lord Sugar’s got plenty of that.”

Moment of glory: When he’s finally on the winning team in episode six, the rubbish task.

The bottom line: Tom’s got the credentials. He’s a proper inventor and entrepreneur. But does this clever and slightly eccentric nice guy have the necessary fire in his belly?

What’s next?

So far, it has been a bit of a popularity contest. Let’s face it, Lord Sugar has to work with these people in a 50/50 business partnership so he’s got to get rid of anyone he couldn’t stand to work closely with, regardless of their skills. Right now, it looks like Tom and Helen are the front-runners. But once the business plans are unveiled, things could look very different.

Missed this episode? Watch it on BBC iPlayer.