The Apprentice returns: Seven of the most memorable Yorkshire candidates

Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry
Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry
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As lovers of The Apprentice gear up for the start of the 11th series next Wednesday, we look back on some of the most memorable candidates from right here in Yorkshire.

Read about this year’s candidates, including former Harrogate court reporter and DJ Ruth Whiteley, here.


Michelle Dewberry

Claire Young

Claire Young

The businesswoman from Hull became the second winner of The Apprentice in 2006. Back then, the series winner was given a £100,000-a-year job with Lord Sugar - then simply known as ‘Sir Alan’.

She stayed in the job 11 months, before setting up her own consultancy firm.

Kristina Grimes

Harrogate sales director Kristina was the runner-up in the third series in 2007 - the year Katie Hopkins rose to infamy.

Yasmina Siadatan won in 2009

Yasmina Siadatan won in 2009

She lost out to Simon Ambrose in the final, despite saying: “There’s only me, there’s only me. I am going to be in the final and that is it.”

Claire Young

Nicknamed ‘The Rottweiler’ for her tenacious personality, Claire, from Wakefield, came runner up in series four of the show.

She now runs her own business, School Speakers and co-founded a social enterprise working with teenage girls.

Sanjay Sood-Smith in the boardroom

Sanjay Sood-Smith in the boardroom

Yasmina Siadatan

Our second Yorkshire winner, and another businesswoman from the East Riding, Beverley-born restauranteur Yasmina beat Kate Walsh to be hired in the fifth series of The Apprentice in 2009.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Yasmina’s latest project sees her offering start-up companies help to navigate ‘global new markets’.

Leon Doyle

The Harrogate-born entrepreneur appeared in series seven of the show and describes himself as the “one that should have won” on his website.

The University of Huddersfield graduate, who was fired in week eight, now runs a tech business in Leeds.

Francesca MacDuff-Varley

The classically trained dancer from Leeds appeared in series nine. She made it through to the semi-final, eventually coming third.

Sanjay Sood-Smith

We had an inkling that Sanjay wouldn’t be ‘hired’ when it turned out he was working as assistant manager at Leeds’s Meat Liquor restaurant as series ten was been aired last autumn.

The 27-year-old told the YEP he intended on setting up his own eatery in London bolstered by his experience in Leeds.