Apprentice hopefuls survive the second showdown of series

Katie Wright
Katie Wright
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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WANNABES Katie Wright and Ricky Martin were last night spared the axe in the second episode of The Apprentice.

The two business hopefuls will battle it out for another week along with 12 other remaining contestants on the hit BBC 1 show.

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

Last night’s episode saw multi-millionaire business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar set the two competing teams the task of designing a household gadget to pitch to retailers Amazon and Lakeland.

Self titled ‘blonde assassin’ and former University of Portsmouth student Katie Wright, 26, had a tough round as she first lost out to fellow contestant Jane McEvoy who was named project manager for the girls’ team.

Then she was out voted by other members of the team – called Sterling – who decided to plump for a splash mat called ‘Splish Slash’ to stop children from splashing water in the bath as their product.

This was despite editorial and research director Katie’s idea of a ‘tap cosy’ – a bath cushion product – receiving more positive feedback.

Meanwhile Ricky ‘reflection of perfection’ Martin’s team Phoenix came out on top with their waste compacting bin.

Ricky, from Stubbington, who works as a recruitment team leader at Whiteley firm Matchtech Group, had another quiet-ish round.

He celebrated with this fellow teammates with a slap-up meal in a private dining room at exclusive London restaurant The Ivy after their product won the challenge.

But the 26-year-old had time for a dig at fellow contestant Azhar Siddique who was project manager for the second task, saying: ‘The guy is slick. He looks cool, he’s got all the gear – but no idea.’

Despite Sterling receiving 7,500 orders for their product, they were blown out of the water by Phoenix, whose ‘Eco Press’ attracted 13,000 orders.

But second in the firing line was Maria O’Connor, who was axed by Lord Sugar after falling asleep during the task.

The 21-year-old – who opened up her first Greek restaurant at the age of 19 – now plans on running five restaurants by the time she turns 25.

Speaking after becoming the second contestant to be booted out of the show, she said: ‘I’ve watched the whole thing.

‘I cringed – I’ve never fallen asleep on the job before.

‘I’ve had stick for it from friends, family, the lot.

‘But when you get back very late and someone gets up at 4am to do their hair and you’re not meant to be up until 7am, you’re losing out on three hours of sleep.’

Lord Sugar will now whittle down the remaining 14 candidates with the help of Nick Hewer and Karen Brady.

Lord Sugar will invest £250,000 in the winner’s business idea and become a partner in their venture.

n The Apprentice is aired on BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesdays. Have your say during the programme on the live blog at