THANKS to hit show The Apprentice, Phil Taylor has come a long way from his job at Durham City estate agents Robinsons, on Elvet Bridge.
Since appearing in the 2009 series of the BBC show, Phil has left his native County Durham to live in London with the series’ runner-up Kate Walsh.
He is now kept busy selling his Body-Rocka fitness device, which was first seen in one of the challenges on the reality business series.
Phil, who shot to fame creating cartoon character Pants Man to promote a children’s cereal in one of the show’s tasks, is one in a stream of supremely confident contestants to compete on the show.
They were all out to win a £100,000-a-year job as an apprentice to British business magnate Lord Alan Sugar.
Billed as a “job interview from hell,” The Apprentice puts contestants through a series of business-related tasks with one being fired every week.
Past winners have gone on to work at Amstrad, an electronics manufacturing company founded by Lord Sugar, or one of Sugar’s other companies, Viglen, Amsprop or Amshold.
This year, however, the stakes are even higher. The series seven winner is set to win an investment of £250,000 into a start-up business of their choice, a prize which is set to get sparks flying in the boardroom.
The winning contestant will be able to choose what type of business they wish to set up, and will have the backing and mentoring of Lord Sugar, with each taking a 50/50 stake in the company.
As well as Lord Sugar, the 16 contestants will be out to impress fellow Apprentice board members, West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady and former PR impresario Nick Hewer.
The Apprentice starts tonight at 9pm on BBC1.
PHIL TAYLOR’S view of this year’s Apprentice contestants ...
ZOE BERESFORD My tip for the top. Zoe looks exactly like the type of candidate Sugar likes. Grounded, strong with a quiet confidence.
JIM EASTWOOD This bloke’s audition tape was brilliant. Is he an android or a genius? No emotion in his eyes which means we’re in for a meltdown. Can’t wait.
MELODY HOSSAINI The poor lass was kidnapped once and her house was blown up! That’s sad but Sugar doesn’t do sob stories.
ELLIE REED A down-to-earth sort of girl, but her body language is a little negative.
GAVIN WINSTANLEY He should have applied to Big Brother. He wants a TV career but won’t get it – time waster.
LEON DOYLE A decent bloke but also a bit wet. Sugar doesn’t like posh boys so I don’t hold much hope.
HELEN LOUISE MILLIGAN I’m all for supporting the local lass, but from her video I’m not seeing much personality. Let’s hope she can loosen up a little – come on Helen!
TOM PELLEREAU The type of guy I would want on my team. Smart, logical thinker and very creative. He may be a bit of a geek for Sugar. Others may see him as easy prey.
EDWARD ‘Atta’ HUNTER Now this bloke I really like. He looks like Sugar and talks like Sugar. A beard can do you wonders in the boardroom.
SUSAN MA “I’m short, sweet and smiley.” Oops, bye Susan.
VINCENT DISNEUR He says: “My positive approach and good looks make me stand out from the crowd.” Nope, it’s the silly moustache and ladies hair cut.
ALEX BRITEZ CABRAL I learned from my mentor George Robinson at Robinsons Estate Agents. With estate agent Alex’s attitude he wouldn’t have lasted five minutes with big George.
FELICITY JACKSON She says: “Lord Sugar will probably find it difficult to ever say anything negative to me because I always turn it round to a positive.” I’m sure he’ll find something. Good audition tape. Positive and the right amount of confidence.
NATASHA SCRIBBINS Started as a cleaner at 15. Good work ethic and a switched-on girl. She could rub people up the wrong way but one to watch.
GLENN WARD Not sure what to make really, not likeable but I didn’t dislike him either. I didn’t like his tie much. Mid-way performance I reckon.
EDNA AGBARHA “Weak people in business are a waste of space.” Yes Edna and so are nutters. Edna looks to be this year’s token ‘fruit loop’.