I was an Apprentice finalist – here’s why they film two endings and blunt warning producers give about TV edit

IT’S not long now until 18 fledgling entrepreneurs battle it out to win Lord Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment.

It’s a highly sought-after prize – but according to last series’ finalist Kathryn Burn, sometimes you’re better off coming second.

Kathryn Burn lost out in the final of The Apprentice last yearCredit: PA

Glam Kathryn was a hit with fans

Glam Kathryn was a hit with fansCredit: Instagram

The pyjama business owner, 30, from Swindon, says it was a “win-win” to get to the finals of The Apprentice, and she’s glad to have lost after landing deals without Lord Sugar‘s help.

She tells The Sun: “I didn’t get the £250,000 investment but I still got as much airtime, which was incredible exposure. 

“I’m still getting deals, such as with The Hilton, on my own – and the benefit is I don’t have to give away 50 per cent to Lord Sugar.”

Now Kathryn, who runs Pyjamily and My Christmas Pyjamas, spills the beans on what it’s like to be on the show and shares behind-the-scenes secrets.

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Practice tasks

Having been an avid fan of The Apprentice for years, Kathryn decided to apply in January 2020 but had a lengthy wait to appear due to the pandemic.

When auditions were held in July the following year, there were four different days and up to nine different stages before she was confirmed for show.

Kathryn says: “Firstly, The Apprentice never approaches people; it’s all based on your application, your business plan and auditions. 

“You chat with producers, Lord Sugar’s aides and the production team, then there are group tasks which are similar to the show but not as extreme.

“You don’t have to run around getting items, but you do come up with a product, choose a PM and show your communication skills.”

Choose your lie

During the auditions, contestants take part in mini tasks like on the show

During the auditions, contestants take part in mini tasks like on the showCredit: BBC

To avoid rousing suspicion among friends and family, Kathryn says contestants are encouraged to come up with a lie to explain why they have “disappeared for two months”.

She explains: “You could say you’re doing jury service or travelling.

“Different people use different stories dependent on what feels right for them.”

Producers’ edit warning

Reality show contestants sometimes complain about how they are portrayed on TV – but on The Apprentice, candidates are given a blunt reality check.

Kathryn says: “They will never edit something into the show that has not happened, and the production team tell you this before.

“They can’t make you look like a horrible person if you have not said anything horrible.

“There may be moments where you aren’t at your best, but if you’re nice you’ll never come across badly.”

Intense filming

Kathryn says one of the biggest misconceptions about the show is how much filming goes into each episode.

She recalls: “I used to get up at 4am and we wouldn’t finish until between nine and 11 o’clock. 

“If we did have a late finish, it would usually be before our day off so we could sleep a little more. You don’t get a lot of sleep but they make sure you get enough. 

People yell ‘Bouji’ at me

Kathryn came up with the name 'Bouji Cruises' for one task and was mocked online

Kathryn came up with the name ‘Bouji Cruises’ for one task and was mocked onlineCredit: BBC

In episode one last year, the candidates were tasked with devising a marketing campaign for a new cruise liner. 

The ladies’ team chose the name “Bouji Cruises” but industry experts didn’t appear to understand what the term meant.

Kathryn, who came up with the name, was asked what a “bouji experience” and a “bouji activity” was, leading to an awkward exchange.

She explained: “I’m talking beach club, cocktail bars, something a little bit fancy, something a little bit extra. 

“‘Bouji activities’ definitely mean many things. It could be having a brunch, I would say [that] is bouji, you could also do dressing up [and] socialising could be ‘bouji’ depending on how you do it.”

Despite winning the task, Kathryn says she was mocked online for selecting such an unusual name.

But she stands by the name, adding: “I love Bouji Cruises, I think it’s really memorable.

“People come up to me on the street and say ‘Bouji Cruises’ to me, it’s all positive though.”

‘All-you-can-eat snacks’

Kathryn says there were lots of snacks on offer and constant coffee runs

Kathryn says there were lots of snacks on offer and constant coffee runsCredit: BBC

During more intense tasks, it seems like the contestants have no time to stop or take a break for lunch.

Kathryn says: “You only cook for yourself on your days off. There are caterers on tasks and sometimes they ordered Wagamama for us to eat on set.

“The producers are always running to Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero to get us hot drinks and there are always snacks. 

“There’s food around at all hours of the day and every snack you could think of. There’s everything you need and more all of the time.”

Family calls

Candidates’ mobile phones are confiscated during the series, but Kathryn says they are allowed to call loved ones once a week. 

She explains: “On your day off you can call your family or a friend.

“But if you’ve had a rubbish day, producers let you use their phone, or sometimes the big phone in the hallway.”

Overnight bag

The losing team must pack an overnight bag

The losing team must pack an overnight bagCredit: BBC

After losing a task, two teammates are brought back to the boardroom by the project manager, and ahead of a grilling from Lord Sugar, the contestants are seen sitting outside with their suitcases.

“You have clothes and other stuff in there,” Kathryn reveals. “You have to pack at least one change of clothes.  

“You spend a night in a hotel and then go back to the house to collect your belongings while all the other candidates are out on a task.” 

‘Worst failure ever’

During one hostile face-off in the boardroom, Kathryn and fellow contestants Akshay Thakrar and Alex Short were slammed by Lord Sugar.

The business mogul, who’s worth £1.4billion, told them: “This is without a doubt the worst failure I have ever experienced in this boardroom.”

Kathryn was lucky to avoid the chop but says she didn’t take Lord Sugar’s words to heart.

“I took everything he said with a pinch of salt,” she admits.

“You’re going to get comments like that on The Apprentice and can’t take it personally, you have to move past it.”

Offered separate rooms for final

Kathryn reveals there are two endings filmed - one where she won and the other where she lost

Kathryn reveals there are two endings filmed – one where she won and the other where she lostCredit: BBC

Kathryn says she was happy for Harpreet

Kathryn says she was happy for HarpreetCredit: BBC

In the final Kathryn was pitted against Harpreet Kaur, but she insists they remained friendly right until the end.

She says: “When everyone left the house, producers asked if we wanted our own rooms but we were like, ‘No thank you.’

“We literally shared when there were four massive empty rooms because we wanted each other for comfort and to help one another work on our pitches.”

Two endings

The final moments, where Lord Sugar deliberates over who will be his future business partner, are tense for viewers watching at home.

But Kathryn reveals two endings are filmed – showing both candidates winning – and it’s a long wait for them to find out who’s bagged the cash.

“I knew I hadn’t won a week before it was aired,” Kathryn says.

“But I was genuinely happy for Harpreet.”

“It was weird not knowing whether I had won or not but even getting to the final felt like a win-win.”

Kathryn has her own theory about why the double-ending is filmed – she believes it’s to give Lord Sugar more time to choose a winner.

“I think he likes to go away and have a look at the business plans in detail so he’s not being rushed,” she says.

“It’s a lot of money to be investing in a business and he needs to make the right decision, so I don’t think he does it that quickly.”

Free advice from Lord Sugar

Kathryn didn't win, but says Lord Sugar stays in touch

Kathryn didn’t win, but says Lord Sugar stays in touchCredit: PA

Despite finishing second, Kathryn says she still has a direct line to Lord Sugar.

“The day after the final was broadcast, Lord Sugar Whatsapped me,” she says.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘OMG he’s just messaged me, what the hell?’

“He asked me if I thought about selling snoodies, and I did add them to my collection. It was nice for him to give ideas.

“Then when I relaunched my Christmas company, I Whatsapped Lord Sugar to ask if he could retweet a post about my business.

“He did it within seconds, which was nice – and he has millions of followers so that was brilliant.

“He didn’t ask any questions, he just did it, which was really kind of him.”

Surprise TV award

While Kathryn didn’t win the show, she did bag another prize – Reality Personality Of The Year 2022 at the National Reality TV Awards. 

Despite being flattered by the gong, the TV star, who also appeared on The Island With Bear Grylls in 2017, was surprised.  

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She says: “I don’t know who put me up for a nomination. I had no intention of becoming a reality TV star but it was good, I enjoyed being on TV and hope to be back again in the future.”

Kathryn has since signed with Crown Talent Group. She adds: “My hope is to get into presenting and inspire the next generation and help younger people with money, finance and starting a business.”


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