BBC Apprentice Episode 2: Maria O’Connor sleepwalks into a firing

Maria O'Connor - The Apprentice Series 8In week 2 the 15 remaining candidates were set the challenge of designing a new household gadget and then pitching their idea to major retailers. The team composition was kept the same as last week with the girls in team Sterling and the boys in team Phoenix.

Jane McEvoy and Katie Wright both put themselves forward to lead Sterling on the task with Jane getting the vote from the rest of the team. They decided to target bathroom products. Azhar Siddique picked up the project manager role for Phoenix who targeted products for the kitchen.

Sterling came up with Splish-Splash, a splash guard for children’s bathtime which could also be drawn on with waterproof crayons. The girls struggled with the margin calculation and confused gross margins and markup. They astounded one major online retailer by claiming the product could deliver  more than 100% margin and offered them a deal for a million units (the retailer eventually bought 7,500 units). Ambition is one thing but the suggested order size bordered on the ludicrous.

Phoenix developed the Eco-press for biodegradable composting of kitchen waste. Not the world’s greatest product but enough to attract a combined  order volume of 13,000 units from the retailers they pitched to, which gave them a win over Sterling.

As the girls reviewed their disastrous performance, the boys enjoyed private dining at the Ivy restaurant.

The Apprentice Series 8 - Maria O'Connor in the boardroom

Losing PM Jane McEvoy decided to take Jenna Whittingham and Maria O’Connor into the boardroom. Maria O’Connor was fired after a damp squib of a debate with Lord Sugar, it seemed to me primarily because she was filmed falling asleep in the taxi during the task. A sign of weakness but possibly not as bad a mistake as the financial mess that Jenna Whittingham made.

So far the tasks have been a little too one-sided for me. Roll on episode 3 when we look forward to a bit more fight from the girls.

Maria O'Connor - The Apprentice Series 8 - sleepwalking to get fired



  1. Tim says:

    To be honest, I think Maria was fired for her overall lack of contribution rather than just falling asleep, although obviously that didn’t help. The example of her taking a step back and not helping with the finances while Jenna floundered – choosing instead to shout down the phone at her – was not helpful to her. (Similarly, if Katie had been brought back in she would have been in trouble – we know from the past that Sugar hates Moaning Minnies.)

    Anyhow. the entire girls’ team was at fault. For once, it was not the product inventor (Laura) who was to blame. Yes, Splish Splash was her idea, but no one came up with anything better and it wasn’t like she tried to ram it down everyone’s throats, unlike Adam and his gloves.

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