Spoiler alert: Croydon’s Apprentice looks to be the business

Has Bianca Miller, the Croydon-based contestant in Sunday night’s final of the BBC’s Apprentice, let the cat out of her Mulberry handbag over the outcome?

Croydon businesswoman Bianca in the Apprentice boardroom with Mark Wright. Who will be hired?

Croydon businesswoman Bianca Miller in the Apprentice boardroom with Mark Wright. Who will be hired?

The 10th series of the programme reaches its climax at the weekend, with Miller in a head-to-head with Aussie web marketing whizz Mark Wright, competing for £250,000 of investment from Lord Sugar.

The outcomes of the various pre-recorded tasks in the 12-week elimination process have been a carefully guarded secrets, to maintain the air of mystery over who will finally be pointed at by the millionaire East End market trader and be told, “You’re hired”.

This has been a particularly sensitive issue for this series, recorded much earlier in the year but delayed in transmission while his Lordship had a bit of a legal wrangle with one of his former contestants.

So far, there’s been few, if any, leaks. But with just a couple of days to go, a social media campaign for what appears to be Miller’s business idea – “bringing nude hosiery to all skin tones!” – has been launched on to the interweb.

It appears to be an identical idea to that which Miller presented in her business plan. Has someone pressed the publish button 48 hours too soon to make the most of the Christmas rush and the attendant publicity with the series finale?

Bianca Miller Twitter

The linked website comprises simply a holding page at present, with the message, “Bianca Miller London will offer a comprehensive range of skin tone hosiery that is representative of all women,” and asking for email addresses from interested potential customers.

We asked Miller if perhaps, given the final is just a couple of days away, this was a little premature, but we had not received a response at the time of publication.

Miller will be seeking to complete a Croydon hat-trick of successes in televised competitions, following the victory of Ben Haenow in X Factor and England rugby player Kay Wilson, as part of the Team of the Year in Sports Personality of the Year last weekend.

After a sometimes tearful semi-final episode this week, when Miller and her business plan were subjected to close examination by Sugar’s resident “firing squad”, the 25-year-old survived for the final test.

Brought up in Croydon,  she attended Beulah infants and then went to Sydenham High private school. After graduating with a degree in business management and economics from Sussex University, Miller spent time working for Accenture consultants and a financial recruitment agency before, in 2012, setting up her own company, the Be Group, where she offers careers advice, styling (oh yes) and mentoring for “unemployed individuals seeking employment in tough economic times”.

Miller was reduced to tears in Wednesday’s Apprentice episode when she was asked if she is too professional, and has some kind of business “mask”, so further criticisms from former contestants that she is like a robot and has no personality will not have been well-received. Lord Sugar seemed to think her coloured tights business idea had legs, though, and that is the only thing that matters.

The latest series of the Apprentice has not escaped criticism, as Sugar has tended to make his hiring and firing decisions in the latter weeks more on the basis of what is in the contestants’ business plan – at least, for those who actually had a business plan, unlike the immature Solomon Akhtar – than on their relative performances in the tasks.

“Sugar could have saved himself a lot of hassle by picking the most impressive business plan in episode one and crowning the winner there and then,” the Torygraph’s reviewer realised, about a month after this flaw had been evident to other viewers. “The current system makes a mockery of the show’s premise.”

And launching a website and Twitter account around the basis of one of the businesses proposed to Lord Sugar might be seen to make a mockery of any attempts to keep the outcome under wraps.

Coming to Croydon


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