The Apprentice episode 11 review: Marnie and Rochelle to battle it out in final after nail-biting interviews

Marnie Swindells and Rochelle Raye Anthony from The Apprentice (BBC)Marnie Swindells and Rochelle Raye Anthony from The Apprentice (BBC)
Marnie Swindells and Rochelle Raye Anthony from The Apprentice (BBC) | BBC
Just two contestants remain after the nail-biting semi-finals of The Apprentice

The five girl candidates for The Apprentice waited nervously for their interviews to discuss their business plans. As usual, most of them seemed to have used a back of a vape packet, finger-in-the-air type approach to business planning. They didn’t know the difference between turnover and profit, had forgotten they needed stock and that people wanted to be paid. They expected rational people to believe that they could build multi-million pound business empires from scratch within weeks if only people knew how determined they were.

Tears welled up as the interviewers humiliated them for their business naivety. A hard dose of reality was certainly called for, but the interview panel seemed intent on crushing their souls. Interviewer Linda Plant told Victoria Goulbourne to return to air stewarding, clearly implying that Victoria, who left school at 16, should stay in her lane because that was the only thing she was fit for. It was viciously cruel and untrue. These were bright, conscientious, young women striving to do their best and find their place in the world. They listened politely as they were trashed, not just their business ideas but their characters. Workplace bullying as light entertainment? Hmmm!

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Marnie Swindells responded to the hostility with “I’m sorry you can’t see what I can see” but if she’d stood up, kicked the table over and said in Mike Tyson’s words “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” we would have all whooped and declared her the People’s Choice Apprentice winner right there and then.

Marnie Swindells, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The ApprenticeMarnie Swindells, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The Apprentice
Marnie Swindells, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The Apprentice

It wasn’t a difficult decision for Lord Alan Sugar to eliminate Dani Donavan and Victoria from the final. Would they proceed with their business without Lord Sugar’s support, which up until five minutes ago they had touted as their life’s purpose? Would they heck! They are now both pursuing “other opportunities” as it seems that Dani is no longer interested in flogging mermaid themed hair extensions to wholesalers, nor is Victoria excited by her sweet kiosk kingdom. Let’s hope that they use this experience as a great conversation piece and their come-down from the celebrity whirlwind is gentle.

It was a more difficult decision to oust Megan Hornby who had already set up a successful cake by day, cocktail by night business. She had more business credibility. She’s a smart cookie, industrious and down to earth. Whether she continues with her business or pursues a more conventional corporate career, she’s likely to do well.

Rochelle Anthony, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The ApprenticeRochelle Anthony, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The Apprentice
Rochelle Anthony, one of the new candidates for this year's BBC One contest, The Apprentice

Rochelle Raye Anthony makes it to the final. An experienced business woman with a gentle manner she’s skilfully seen off her far more obviously scheming rivals. Underestimate her at your peril. She wants to extend her Milton Keynes hair salon business to Belgravia and beyond, but her innumerate fantasy business plan was pretty bald rather than bold. Local resident Karren Brady popping in for an occasional cut and blow is unlikely to be enough to persuade Lord Sugar.

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Marnie is deservedly in the final. Perhaps what changed for us as viewers this week is that while we knew how clever and capable she is, we didn’t know how serious she is about her boxing gym idea. Her single-mindedness, pushiness, fierceness and genuine passion for the sport, makes her the perfect entrepreneur and front person for this business, especially when complemented by Lord Sugar’s business acumen. A clear favourite to win and it would be a good result.

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