The Apprentice double exit sees Shannon Martin quit and Kevin D’Arcy fired


Thursday’s episode of The Apprentice saw a shocking double departure, as Shannon Martin decided to leave the process before the results of the latest challenge.

The bridal boutique owner revealed that she opted to quit the show after deciding she ‘loved’ her business and ‘doesn’t need a partner,’ despite the girls team winning this week’s challenge.

Following her exit Kevin D’Arcy became the second candidate of the series to be fired by Lord Sugar, after being told that was ‘more focused on revenue than profit’ during the disastrous Bao Buns challenge.

Sacked! Her exit came before Kevin D'arcy was fired by Lord Sugar

Two are gone! Thursday’s episode of The Apprentice saw a shocking double departure, as Shannon Martin (left) quit the process before Kevin D’arcy (right) was fired by Lord Sugar

This week’s episode sees the remaining candidates tasked with creating and selling Bao Buns after meeting Lord Sugar in Hutong in The Shard. 

The candidates had to manufacture two types of bun – selling savoury bao buns to the public and pitching a bespoke sweet bun to a corporate client.

On the men’s team, Bradley was decided as the team project manager, while Megan led the girls’ team as they decided that she had ‘the most experience in food’.

Megan’s team went for a fish bao bun as they teamed basa and katsu sauce, while Bradley’s opted for a more traditonal chicken and chorizo bun with a harissa paste. 

New challenge: Thursday's episode saw the two teams being tasked with creating and selling bao buns

New challenge: Thursday’s episode saw the two teams being tasked with creating and selling bao buns 

Briefing: The groups met Lord Sugar in Hutong in The Shard to be briefed on their challenge

Briefing: The groups met Lord Sugar in Hutong in The Shard to be briefed on their challenge

As the boys went into negotiations, Bradley was quick to halve his price from £8 to £4 when meeting with their retailer, before dropping even further to £3.80 for 50 buns – as others worried they were underselling the product.

But going in with all guns blazing, the girls managed to sell theirs for £5 as they promised top notch quality from their product.

The two teams both had some trouble working out the ingredient quantities, as Joe questioned: ‘Are we just guessing the amounts to put in?’

Leader: Megan was voted team leader for the girls, as she made the decision to go for a fish-based bao bun

Leader: Megan was voted team leader for the girls, as she made the decision to go for a fish-based bao bun

Something different: Despite working in construction, Bradley was keen to take on the project managing role for this task as he showed interest in the food industry

Something different: Despite working in construction, Bradley was keen to take on the project managing role for this task as he showed interest in the food industry

Upon checking the buns after they were steamed, the boys then realised that they had been rolled too thin, as they decided : ‘We just have to pick out the good ones’. 

Shannon’s exit came before the two teams headed into the boardroom to learn the results of the latest challenge.

Explaining her decision to quit the series, she said: ‘I think that going into the process, I was already having some doubts of whether I should go in or not. 

‘But when you’re given such an amazing opportunity, you’re not ever going to turn that down, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime that I’m forever grateful for. 

Something different: The teams were put to work as they decided on the ingredients going into the buns, as the girls decided on katsu basa buns

Something different: The teams were put to work as they decided on the ingredients going into the buns, as the girls decided on katsu basa buns

‘During the bao bun task, I was there in the kitchen thinking ”Why am I here? What am I doing here making bao buns in a kitchen when I can’t cook as it is?”. 

‘I just really felt like I couldn’t focus on the tasks because I was constantly thinking about what was going on at home. What’s happening with the business? Is everything okay? I knew in the back of my mind that of course everything would be okay, the team are amazing. 

‘But I’m a perfectionist, I need to know what’s going on all the time and not being able to know how things were going on at home or what was happening at work was really hard for me. 

‘The unknown is definitely not something I’m good at. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, ”Am I in here for the right reasons? Do I really want a business partner? Is this what I want? Do I want my life to change?” and it really made me realise I love my life; I love the team and I love everything about my life. 

Meaty choice: The boys opted for a more traditonal chicken and chorizo bun with a harissa paste

Meaty choice: The boys opted for a more traditonal chicken and chorizo bun with a harissa paste

After a bao making masterclass, the teams had to create their products in the kitchen

After a bao making masterclass, the teams had to create their products in the kitchen

‘I knew that I could potentially win the show, and did I really want to win and have my life completely changed? No, I didn’t. I wasn’t in there for the right reasons. 

‘The other candidates are just amazing and there’s so many amazing businesses there that I felt that they deserve to win. I’ve already got a very successful business. I just felt that there were more deserving people there than me and it was not right for me to stay in the process.

‘The experience has given me the confidence to know that I can do it on my own, and since leaving the process I’ve set up Nori Ivy and I am now designing and manufacturing bridal gowns in the UK.’

Despite quitting the series, Shannon admitted that taking part in The Apprentice was a ‘lifelong goal’ for her, explaining: ‘I applied about 10 years ago when I first came up with my business plan idea. I went to the interviews and spoke to a lovely lady who said, ”you’ve got a really good business idea, but you’re not right for us at this time, but you should come back.” 

Quantities: The two teams both had some trouble working out the ingredient quantities, as Joe questioned: 'Are we just guessing the amounts to put in'

Difficulty: While the girls disagreed on how much fish and veg would go into each bun

Quantities: The two teams both had some trouble working out the ingredient quantities,  as Joe questioned: ‘Are we just guessing the amounts to put in’

Disaster: Upon checking the buns after they were steamed, the boys then realised that they had been rolled too thin, as they decided : 'We just have to pick out the good ones'

Disaster: Upon checking the buns after they were steamed, the boys then realised that they had been rolled too thin, as they decided : ‘We just have to pick out the good ones’

‘She really spurred me on to open the business. The business got going and I’ve never really been able to step away from it until this last year where I watched the first two episodes and thought, you know what, I’m going to do this. 

‘I’m not going to sit here and keep saying I’m going to apply, then not do it or I could do a better job and then not actually show that I could. I’ve always wanted to do it and it’s been a whirlwind since the point of applying to actually getting in.’

Having become such a die-hard fan of the show, Shannon admitted that getting to meet Lord Sugar was a ‘daunting’ experience.

She said: ‘I remember sitting in the waiting room when we first met everybody and thinking ”Gosh it’s enough meeting everybody and seeing them all here. Now I’ve got to walk through that door and he’s there.” 

‘I think I caught a glimpse of his shadow walking in at one point and I was like ”Oh my god, he’s behind those doors!” It’s so surreal, you feel like you’re inside the TV and I didn’t dare speak. It’s amazing being able to meet him.’

Tense: Following the task, it was time for both teams to take to the boardroom to see who had managed to bag the win

Tense: Following the task, it was time for both teams to take to the boardroom to see who had managed to bag the win

Another one? After a win during week 1, the boys' team were hoping history would repeat itself in the boardroom

Another one? After a win during week 1, the boys’ team were hoping history would repeat itself in the boardroom

Asked who she would like to win the process, Shannon added: ‘It’s a hard one because there are a fair few people that I’d like to win, but if I have to pick one, I would pick Dani. 

‘I just think that Dani’s background, where she’s come from, everything about Dani…I see Lord Sugar in her a lot of the time, and I do see a bit of me in her. 

‘She’s just so passionate about her business and I know she can do it if she absolutely focuses, and she will go all the way and do really well.’

The star also reflected on her favourite moments from the show, adding: ‘There were quite a lot of memorable moments, I remember being on the plane to Antigua and I think we were sat behind Brad and Kevin. 

‘They were playing Who Wants to be A Millionaire? and literally played it for eight hours solidly. 

‘Honestly, we were all like ”Brad, just give it up!” and he was like ”No, I’m not giving in” and that’s when I knew ”Ooh, you’re one to watch because you’re not giving in at this!” He kept going and going and he couldn’t win the £1 million. 

Out: But before a verdict was reached, Shannon decided to depart the process

Out: But before a verdict was reached, Shannon decided to depart the process 

One down: Shannon was missing from the team as they were given the challenge results and profits from Lord Sugar

One down: Shannon was missing from the team as they were given the challenge results and profits from Lord Sugar

‘Anyway, we kept chipping in and answering bits, then on the way back he sat down next to me, and Dani and he want ”I’m going to play Who Wants to be A Millionaire?” and we said ”Oh, here we go. Another eight hours of this.” 

‘He put it on, he got through loads, we helped him with a load of questions. Got to the last question and got it right, the first time! He’d done eight hours on the way there!’

Shannon also gave fans a tease of her future business plans, adding: ‘My business plan that I went on with was to design and manufacture wedding dresses, made in the UK. 

‘There is bridalwear manufactured here, but not anywhere near as much as overseas, almost 80% of the dresses come from abroad. I have managed to set up ‘Nori Ivy’ on my own (named after my little girl) and we’ve found somebody to manufacture them in the UK, so Gaia Bridals in Wales are our manufacturers.

Congrats! It was a victory for the girls' team, who celebrated by heading out for drinks together as a reward from Lord Sugar

Congrats! It was a victory for the girls’ team, who celebrated by heading out for drinks together as a reward from Lord Sugar

First loss: But it was a disappointing result for the boys, who took in less profits than the girls in total

First loss: But it was a disappointing result for the boys, who took in less profits than the girls in total

‘Anna who has worked with me since day one is our designer and we’ve designed the collection together, had them made and they’ve just launched literally last week. It’s fabulous!’

Following Shannon’s departure, the two teams learned the results of their bao buns challenge, with Lord Sugar announcing that one of the boys team would be fired.

He then admitted that ‘with regret’ he had decided to fire Kevin, after he appeared to put more focus than revenue instead of profits.

Asked whether he has any regrets about his time on the process, Kevin said: ‘I think I would have tried to put myself on the corporate team for the bao bun task, that’s where the ship sank, and I think those guys steered it straight for the iceberg. 

Crunch time: It was back to the boardroom for Bradley, Avi and Kevin - with the latter ultimately was fired from the show

Crunch time: It was back to the boardroom for Bradley, Avi and Kevin – with the latter ultimately was fired from the show

‘I was fired because I wasn’t able to deploy the lifeboats quick enough. I clearly watched Titanic over Christmas! 

‘As an accountant cooking is probably the furthest thing away from what I do day in, day out. Brad said he was a great cook, then put himself on the opposite team…’

Discussing his experience on the show, the accountant said: ‘Looking back, you remember the best bits and the fun times. You remember how much you laughed and got on with the other candidates. 

‘Overall, I think I met some amazing people. People I perhaps wouldn’t meet in my normal life, and I think being one of the slightly older contestants (32), it was interesting to meet some of the younger candidates and understand what they’re into and what their interests are.’

Discussing the challenge itself, Kevin added: ‘The market was fun. We had this thing when we steamed a new set of buns, we’d have a countdown ”three, two one…fresh bao buns!”. 

‘That stopped the entire market, and everyone would come over to see what was going on. 

‘I think Greg in the chef suit was a favourite too. If he has a career in politics, that’s definitely something he’ll look back on and regret. But overall, he was the best man for the job. There were plenty of laughs along the way.’

Kevin also revealed that his next focus will be to tie the knot with his fiancée Alana on the Amalfi Coast in April.

He also revealed that he would like Bradley Johnson or Reece Donnelly to win the process.

Last week, Emma Browne became the first candidate eliminated from The Apprentice last week.

The senior account executive insisted she had ‘no regrets’ following her short time on the show after Lord Sugar booted her off for being disruptive in the team. 

Despite her driven work ethic, it wasn’t enough to keep her as a prospect for Lord Sugar, as she was eliminated after just one week.

Lord Sugar said he didn’t want to put with disruption within teams and so she had to go.  

Following her exit, Emma insisted during an interview that she ‘applied because of my outstanding and profitable business idea.’

However she appears to be leaving the show bearing no ill feeling, as she revealed  the experience ‘was positive as can be’. 

She said: ‘Everyone’s there for the same reason so naturally, there were clashes etc but there were absolutely no hard feelings at all.’

The Apprentice continues on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

THE APPRENTICE 2023: MEET THE CANDIDATES

AVI SHARMA

Occupation: City banker

Location: London

Key info: Youngest candidate and believes that Lord Sugar’s investment will get him out of the “rat race” of city banking

He says: ‘Some say I’m delusional, I prefer the term optimistic.’

DANI DONOVAN 

Occupation: Hair salon owner

Location: Hertfordshire

Key info: Believes she deserves to win the programme because her business fills a ‘huge gap’ in the market, saying: ‘It baffles me that no one has done it yet!’

She says: ‘I think I’m a different kind of business owner, someone who is a lot more relatable to people.’

EMMA BROWNE

Occupation: Senior account executive

Location: County Kildare

Key info: Laser focused on making her unique business idea a resounding success

She says: ‘I am disgustingly competitive. I will go to any lengths to win this investment.’

JOSEPH PHILLIPS

Occupation: Safari Guide

Location: Worcestershire

Key info: The “James Bond of the business world” with a degree in Zoology

He says: ‘If Lord Sugar wants to invest in a business to help save the ocean, one lip balm at a time, then I’m his guy.’

MARK MOSELEY

Occupation: Pest control company owner

Location: London

Key info: A former soldier who says he can ‘sell to anyone’ with the gift of the gab

He says: ‘If Lord Sugar doesn’t pick me, then he’s missing a trick.’ 

MEGAN HORNBY

Occupation: Sweet shop and café owner

Location: East Yorkshire

Key info: She says her business fills a gap in the market and has the potential to be nationally recognised.

She says: ‘I think that no matter what situation I am thrown into, I will always give one hundred percent truth, even if it’s hard to hear.’

ROCHELLE ANTHONY

Occupation: Hair salon and academy owner

Location: Bedfordshire

Key info: Describes herself as ‘tenacious, fierce and determined’ and says together with Lord Sugar they would be ‘an absolute force to be reckoned with.’

She says: ‘I’m always being compared to the Kim Kardashian of the business world because I’m doing business with a hint of glam.’ 

SHAZIA HUSSAIN 

Occupation: Technology recruiter

Location: London

Key info: Wants to champion a varied representation of diverse women in the world of business

She says: ‘I don’t need any friends in business. I am here to win this.’

SOHAIL CHOWHARY 

Occupation: Martial arts school owner

Location: Southampton

Key info: Raised in a council house and worked hard to create business and warns other candidates to be ‘wary’

He says: ‘I am calm and collected, but if they do come at me? I will bite and I will sting, and I will leave my mark.’

BRADLEY JOHNSON 

Occupation: Director of construction company

Location: North Yorkshire 

Key info: Self-made business that turns over half-a-million after being made redundant just four years ago

He says: ‘I have a business plan that will see us turn over seven figures after year three and who knows where else that could take us.’

 DENISHA KAUR BHARJ 

Occupation: Financial controller

Location: Leicestershire

Key info: Says she wants the investment opportunity because she wants to ‘be mentored by the best to be the best’

She says: ‘There’s only one Denisha Kaur.’

GREGORY EBBS

Occupation: Owner of an online antiques marketplace

Location: Shropshire

Key info: Previously worked as a professional cannon-firer in Malta

He says: ‘I would say, a willingness to try different things and not being afraid to be slightly different is one of my biggest strengths.’

KEVIN D’ARCY

Occupation: Accountant

Location: Dublin

Key info: Started his water sports equipment business during lockdown, whilst working in his job in the financial services

He says: ‘With Lord Sugar as my business partner, I know we can ride that wave into the UK and beyond…’

MARNIE SWINDELLS 

Occupation: Court advocate

Location: London

Key info: A gold medal-winning boxer and imaginative businesswoman

She says: ‘I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I have given my blood, sweat and tears to my business.’

REECE DONNELLY

Occupation: Theatre school owner

Location: Glasgow

Key info: Is determined to become the first Scottish candidate to secure Lord Sugar’s investment and claims to be the youngest CEO of a further education college in the UK

He says: ‘I’m here to prove that Scotland is filled with forward-thinking entrepreneurs and that we are not in fact a haggis-eating, kilt-wearing nation.’

SHANNON MARTIN

Occupation: Bridal boutique owner

Location: West Yorkshire

Key info: Is hoping to be the first business partner to bring Lord Sugar into the lucrative bridal industry.

She says: ‘Lord Sugar needs to be my next business partner, so I can make him millions.’ 

SIMBA RWAMBIWA

Occupation: Senior sales representative

Location: Birmingham

Key info: Is a self-confessed ‘perfectionist’ who says his business will improve the quality of people’s lives

He says: ‘If people can’t buy into you, they’ll never buy anything from you.’

VICTORIA GOULBOURNE 

Occupation: Owner of online sweet business

Location: Merseyside

Key info: Former flight attendant who started business in lockdown which grew into social media success

She says: ‘I’ve travelled all over the world and am not afraid to take on a challenge.’

 

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