Lord Sugar's The Apprentice winner named in battle of gyms vs pies

The business mogul has chosen the latest candidate he wants to invest in as the 2024 series draws to a close.

The Apprentice s18,18-04-2024,12,Phil and Rachel,Phil and Rachel in the boardroom,FreemantleMedia Ltd,N/A
The Apprentice winner has been named. (BBC)

What did you miss?

Lord Sugar has picked his business partner for 2024 in The Apprentice final, where he had to choose between fitness or pies.

Rachel Woolford's boutique fitness studios went up against Phil Turner's family pies empire but Lord Sugar opted to go with Woolford's gyms as his latest investment.

The final also saw the traditional return of the previously fired candidates as they were split into teams to help the finalists pitch their business plans to industry experts.

What, how, and why?

Rachel Woolford has been named as the winner of The Apprentice 2024 as Lord Sugar chose her gym business North Studio to be his investment from this series.

Woolford went up against Phil Turner, who lost nine tasks in a row during the series, and his family pies business Turner's Pies as Lord Sugar asked his finalists in the boardroom: "Do I choose to make people fitter or make people fatter?"

Rachel Woolford wins Lord Sugar's The Apprentice 2024. (BBC)
Rachel Woolford wins Lord Sugar's The Apprentice 2024. (BBC)

He eventually decided to go with Woolford's boutique fitness studios and back her plans to expand from Leeds and Harrogate into Newcastle, York and Manchester.

Lord Sugar told the finalists: "This is a very tough decision, I’ve got to say because I’ve got two very, very credible people in front of me.

"I’ve got Rachel who claims she’s making money and that she’s going to make even more when she gets the second gym up and running but gyms are, with all due respect, two-a-penny.

"Specialist pies are not and it’s a market that I’m very interested in, but how can I be interested in it if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel? There’s a loss-making business at the moment which you tell me is going to turn around and be okay and that’s my dilemma."

He continued: "It’s very, very hard for me. I’m having trouble here. But my gut feeling is telling me that, Rachel, you’re going to be my business partner."

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Rachel Woolford went up against Phil Turner. (BBC)

Woolford follows 2023's winner Marnie Swindells, who got Lord Sugar's investment for her gym chain Bronx Boxing Club, but says her chain is unique because each studio will have a small, local feel with a nightclub vibe to classes and juice bars on site.

From her winner's taxi, Woolford said: "To take part in the process has been incredible and to come out a winner is just something beyond my wildest dreams. I was 24 years old when I started North Studio. I was just a girl from Leeds and now I cannot believe it, I’m going into business with Lord Sugar and he’s investing in me."

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Rachel Woolford's business plan impressed. (BBC)

Commenting on the result, one viewer wrote on X: "Gym beats pies. Not in my house it doesn't."

Another viewer wrote: "A very worthy winner. Congratulations to Rachel." While someone else agreed: "Rachel was the most impressive candidate throughout the series, she worked hard for that investment and it was really an investment in HER."

But someone else added: "Kinda wanted Phil to pull it off you know we all love an underdog story to comeback and win it after 9 losses would have been mad."

What else happened on The Apprentice?

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Phil Turner's pies by post idea was not popular. (BBC)

Turner's downfall in the final was linked to his keenness to expand the delivery side of his family's business.

His company has more recently started to offer a "pies by post" service that Turner was keen to focus his energies on and which was the main feature of his business proposal.

But industry experts at his presentation advised against it because of high costs for the customer, while Lord Sugar told him that it was a "bad idea".

However, the final nail in the coffin came when rather than taking on board Lord Sugar's advice about dropping pies by post, Turner told the business guru that running a business "isn't all about making profits".

One viewer commented: "Think Phil shot himself in the foot in that final grilling." While someone else agreed: "Phil dug his own grave in the boardroom."

Another person wrote: "Methinks Phil talked himself out of an investment by refusing to back down on the posting of pies!"

The Apprentice full series streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more: The Apprentice