The Apprentice has returned to our screens for another series and a Blackburn woman, who once appeared on the show, has spilled some secrets from behind the scenes of the popular programme.

Camilla Ainsworth, who was a finalist on the BBC show back in 2018, has revealed exactly what Lord Alan Sugar is like, and if contestants really do have 20 minutes to get ready in the morning.

Here are the questions we asked Camillia about her experience on the show – and there are some filming secrets that you might not know:  

What was Lord Sugar really like?

Candidates on The Apprentice are striving to impress Lord Sugar, in the hope of becoming his business partner.

According to Camilla, the straight-talking businessman prides himself on ‘dad jokes’.

She said: “He was quite scary but you can genuinely tell that he wants young people to do well and for people to succeed in life.

“I also love a dad joke and he is the king of them – I think he prides himself on those.

“I think he came up with them himself. If they are scripted then I think he writes them himself.”

Did you really only have 20 minutes to get ready in the morning?

Lancashire Telegraph: Camilla Ainsworth on The ApprenticeCamilla Ainsworth on The Apprentice (Image: BBC)

In the show, candidates are shown to be woken up by a phone call and told they only have 20 minutes to get ready.

They later appear on the show looking professional and well dressed leading many to question if this part of the show is scripted or real.

According to Camilla, it is completely true and the mornings are as rushed as they seem.

She said: “Yes that’s true you were genuinely woken up by that call.

“On one of the episodes during the gardening task, I only managed to draw one eyebrow on because I would prioritise staying in bed for an extra five minutes, which you’re not supposed to do, but I am very sleep driven.”

Did you get outside help on the tasks?

Some tasks on The Apprentice can seem nearly impossible for those who aren’t business savvy.

Creating original products, embarking on a scavenger hunt for niche items and hosting events are just some of the tasks candidates are asked to complete.

Camilla says the tasks are just as hard as they seem and all are completed without the help of the internet or a smart phone.

She said: “The tasks are miles harder than they seem.

“I don’t know why they actually see you using phones because it makes it look like you can call the other half of your team and liaise, but you’re not actually allowed to do that.

“The producers tell you to make a three minute phone call. A lot of the time when information isn’t passed on it’s because the phone call is cut short.”

Are you in complete isolation during the eight week process?

Camilla, 27, said you are in an “Apprentice bubble” for the duration of filming.

She said: “You’re in complete isolation.

“You don’t have your own phone as they are taken off you for the duration and you can’t go on it at all in the eight week period.

“This was challenging as you feel like you are in a bit of an Apprentice bubble, where everything is about the show.

“You can’t even speak to people in the street as you can ask for their opinion on a task.”

How long did each task take and did you get a lot of sleep?

Camilla said the process was intense and candidates don’t often get a lot of sleep.

She said: "Every task took two or three days. We didn’t get many days off either it was pretty back-to-back and intense.

“The tasks last all day so you might get up at 4am and you might not get back to the house until 11pm.

“We were functioning on hardly any sleep but I think that’s part of it, as you make decisions and mistakes you wouldn’t normally make, which is what makes for great TV.

“These are smart people who have gone through physical and mental tests.

“No-one is stupid, it’s just that the conditions are so hard.”

What was the hardest part of the show?

Faced with difficult tasks and the job of a lifetime on the line, Camilla said the lack of contact with family was the hardest part of the process.

She said: “It was hard not having any contact with friends and family, with minimal contact with the outside world.

“You didn’t really know what day or time it was. It felt like you were frozen in time.”

What was the interview task like?

Arguably, one of the most notable and entertaining tasks for viewers, but daunting for contestants, on the show is the semi-final interview process.

Here, candidates are ruthlessly questioned by up to four of Lord Sugar’s aides and business associates.

They tear the candidate’s business plans apart and don’t hold back.

A video of Camilla went viral when her episode aired after she greeted an unimpressed Claude Littner by saying  ‘yoo hoo’.

Camilla said: “The interviews were definitely very hard and lived up to their expectations.

“I have not ‘yoo hoo’d an interviewer since but I do think personality is much more encouraged in business than it used to be.

“I don’t regret doing that as it was just my personality and I will always be true to myself in that I am a friendly person.

“I had tears of elation when it finished and we were all just overcome with emotion.

"We knew the next stage would be all about your business and why you are actually on the show.”

What was it like back at the house?

When the cameras were off and the backstabbing and fighting in the boardroom is over, the candidates are sent back to their house where they have to live together.

Camilla said she got on well with her competitors.

She said: “My team were really close which I don’t think the producers would have liked as they want friction.

“We are still in a group chat and still speak about it to this day.

“I think it’s a skill to separate task life and home life. It wasn’t personal, It was a competition.”

What business ventures have you been working on since the show ended?

Camilla went onto the show in order to impress Lord Sugar with her vegan nut milk business M+lk Plus.

The chief executive of Holland & Barrett was impressed with her M+LKPLUS range and she went ahead to launch the dairy alternative into 645 of their stores nationwide.

Since then she has set up her own business consultancy agency called Camilla Consultancy.

Always up for a physical challenge, Camilla is also set to take part in a boxing match this April.

She said: “I run my own consultancy agency now which is doing really well in Manchester.

“I’ve worked with big businesses and I’ve been loving it.

“I am also taking part in a boxing fight in April which I am training for at the minute. My opponent hasn’t been chosen yet but it’s going to be in Cheshire.

“I try and set myself a challenge every year. The Apprentice was one and I ran a marathon last year. It’s something a bit different and am looking forward to this one.

“I watched too many boxing films and got too excited I think.”

If you had a chance to go on The Apprentice again would you?

“Yes, definitely,” said Camilla. “For me it was an amazing opportunity and one that I look back on very fondly.”

The Apprentice airs on BBC One at 9pm on Thursdays.