The Apprentice: final five battle for Lord Sugar's nod

They've been tested by dodgy health snacks, kids' parties and cactus shampoo – so who will win?

Lord Sugar
Former Labour peer Lord Sugar says Khan has 'single-handedly wrecked the Labour Party'
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After ten weeks of entrepreneurial jockeying, TV reality show The Apprentice concludes this week on BBC One, when Lord Sugar finally chooses his future business partner – but who will make the grade?

The contest wraps up over two episodes on Wednesday and Sunday night. First is the gruelling interview stage on Wednesday at 9pm, in which the five remaining contenders – Charleine, Gary, Joseph, Richard and Vana - will be whittled down to two.

The candidates will have their CVs and business plans scrutinised by the merciless Claude Littner, who has made a name for himself with his tough interview style.

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Littner will joined by Mike Soutar, Claudine Collins, and newcomer Linda Plant, the owner of an international design business and long-time associate of Sugar.

The interview episode will be followed by The Apprentice: Why I Fired Them at 10.35pm, on BBC One. In this special episode, Lord Sugar will explain why the 16 other contenders didn't make the cut.

So who are the final five?

Vana Koutsomitis:

The 27-year-old, New York-raised social media entrepreneur speaks five languages and currently runs a networking site for finance professionals. She claims to have been an entrepreneur since the age of seven, when she sold her old toys on the streets of New York and cites actor Aston Kutcher as her inspiration.

Joseph Valente:

The 25-year-old runs his own plumbing company. He cites Hugh Hefner as one of his role models and says it is his "destiny" to become Lord Sugar's business partner.

Richard Woods:

A 31-year-old director of a digital marketing agency. Self-described as assured and ambitious, he names Richard Branson as one of his inspirations.

Charleine Wain:

The 31-year-old served in the Royal Navy before starting her own hair and beauty salon and online clothing boutique. A keen charity fundraiser, she says Patrick Cameron and Toni & Guy are her business models.

Gary Poulton:

A 34-year-old programme manager from Nottingham, Gary has worked in property and supermarket management.

So who is the favourite?

Bookmakers Betfair have tipped Joseph Valente to win and have him at short odds of 4/5. Joseph has performed well throughout the series, says the Daily Telegraph, and he is also seen as "a prototype Lord Sugar: rough diamond, London boy made good, something of the wheeler dealer". Shortly behind Joseph, the bookmakers list Vana Koutsomitis at 6/5, and Richard Woods at 5/2.

The final of The Apprentice is at 9.00pm on Sunday 20 December on BBC One.

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