Alan Sugar's Apprentice line-up includes 'Tasmanian Devil' and 'pocket rocket'

A business boss who likens herself to the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character, a self-professed “pocket rocket” and a salon owner who describes herself as a hustler are among the 18 candidates taking part in the new series of The Apprentice.

The popular BBC One show returns for its 12th series on October 6, airing for the first time ever on a Thursday after previously being broadcast on Wednesdays.

It will see the hopefuls tasked with impressing Sugar in order to secure his £250,000 investment in their business plan.

Sugar will be joined once again by his aides Karren Brady and Claude Littner as the boardroom antics get under way.

The business tycoon said of the competition: “You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up. That’s how competitive it will get.”

He added that he is only interested in seeing “who’s got a good business brain” and that if people taking part are unable to tackle the process and want to complain and moan, they can “send me an email at”.

Lord Sugar added that his £250,000 investment will “change someone’s life forever”, after previously investing £1.25 million in five businesses during the show’s run.

This year’s line-up of candidates includes nine women and nine men from a wide variety of business backgrounds between the ages of 24 and 38.

As has become TV tradition, those hoping to win the ample sum of money have talked themselves up in some rather creative ways.

Aleksandra King, 38, is a business consultancy owner who says she is “like the Tasmanian Devil in the famous cartoon” because she will “torpedo” her way to win.

Giving her a run for her money will be children’s clothing company boss Frances Bishop, 25, who describes herself as a “pocket rocket”, adding that “I’m quite fiery and live by the rule ‘kill them with kindness’”.

Natalie Hughes, a 30-year-old hair and beauty salon owner, said of her business technique: “I started at a young age, I’m a hustler, I’ve got the hustler’s ambition.”

The first episode will see the Apprentice newbies tackle a task testing their negotiation and selling skills.

Split into two teams, they will have to work together to pick out treasure from trash at a large lock-up containing antiques and collectables before selling them to the public.

The winning team will be the one that makes the biggest profit, meaning they will escape the threat of being fired by Sugar and his wagging finger in the boardroom.

Other tasks in the series will see the candidates coming up with an advertising campaign for jeans, manufacturing a range of sweets and creating their own brand of gin.

The Apprentice will air weekly on Thursdays at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD from October 6.

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