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Celebrity Diary: I'd hire Sean Og to star as my hunky Celeb Apprentice...

IT'S been quite the week for my Apprentice co-adviser Brian Purcell and I, as we've been the centre of attention with our new Cadbury's Spots and Stripes campaign.

We're used to taking more of a back seat on the series and letting Bill take charge, but for this particular project Brian and I are going head to head and I don't mind telling you the competition between us is fierce.

Brian happens to be my nephew but it doesn't stop us being competitive on The Apprentice every week.

The Cadbury's people picked up on that and they said 'Why don't we make one of you a spot and the other a stripe?'


I said I would only agree if I got to be the stripe because they're long and lean and slim and spots are blobs. I certainly don't want to be called a big blob.

So I'm calling Brian a big blob at the moment. He doesn't take offence... at least I don't think he does.

We both really want to win so we're taking it very seriously. Even on the show it doesn't matter which team we have or who is on it, we're always rooting for our own one to win.

Our individual TV ads have been getting a lot of attention and I think they're very funny, they're great.

We did them a couple of weeks ago around the Cadbury's campaign that was highlighted on last week's episode of The Apprentice and it's a campaign that's going to carry on right through to the Olympics.

The episode itself was very funny. Viewers will have seen how Panos had us all splitting our sides laughing in the boardroom.

Even Bill had to break down laughing, which is unusual for him.

Obviously, Panos plays it up a bit for the cameras but I think he's great. He's one of those characters everyone will remember.

Having said that, all the candidates are great this year, we've had some great fun ones and then some not so fun ones, but either way I think it's a great show.

People have really been captivated by it and we're lucky in that every year is keeps getting better. Sometimes things get stale and they go downhill if it's the same old, same old.

Myself and my partner Bill were actually in the air somewhere over the Atlantic on Monday night when this week's episode went out as we spent the weekend in Boston enjoying a short break.

We were over there for some family business and it was nice to relax and get away from it all for a couple of days. Bill has three sisters there, so we spent a few days there.

When it comes to that old chestnut about us getting married, our answer is still the same. We're happy as we are.


We didn't get back until Tuesday morning at 6am and I literally had to get straight into a car to drive to Ballymount where TV3 is based, to launch the Cadbury's challenge on Ireland AM.

Luckily the plane wasn't delayed or I would have been in trouble. There was no time to go home and recover from the jetlag as we had to drive straight to Kerry to check on our hotel, The Muckross Park and Cloisters Spa in Killarney.

I believe while we were away Brenda (Shanahan, the first contestant to win the Apprentice in 2008) made some comments about her time working with us at the hotel. I'd rather not really comment on them other than to say it was kind of disappointing for us. We always got on well with Brenda and had a lot of time for her so it's a bit disappointing when that happens.

The hotel is doing very well and we stayed there on Tuesday night as we had a big photoshoot on Wednesday morning. It's going to feature in the RSVP Christmas edition of their magazine, which is a big coup for us.

It was straight back to business once we finished the shoot, as myself and Bill had to hop in the car and travel back to Dublin to help launch a new book called With Love From Me To Me.

It's basically a collection of letters and pictures from various recognisable names written about their time as a 16 year old.

The launch took place at Eason's bookstore on O'Connell Street and we were delighted to be there as both Bill and I contributed to the book.

Miriam O'Callaghan was there to officially launch it and she made a lovely speech about her own experience and about writing her letter.

Personally it took me ages to do. I found it a very difficult thing to do as you have to advise yourself almost. It's a bit like looking through the rear windows.

Eventually, I just sat down and did it so hopefully people will enjoy reading it.

All proceeds are going to the Irish Youth Foundation, which Bill and I are heavily involved with. They brought us into the organisation about 25 years ago, so it's a long time ago now.

We also had the chance to catch up with Senator David Norris on the night, who is another contributor. It was nice to see him as he's always a lively character.

I've actually been saying that if our Celebrity version of The Apprentice ever gets the go ahead he would be a great candidate.


We might get Breffny Morgan back as well, now that he's a celebrity in his own right. He's absolutely done a marvellous job at making a name for himself since the show.

I always say as well that we'd like some hunky candidates like Sean Og O hAilpin or one of the O hAilpin brothers.

Some nice guys like that or some rugby players would make for great viewing, I think.

We're still not sure what's happening with it. Obviously we really would love to do it and we had hoped to do it last year but it didn't happen unfortunately.

Funding is difficult without a doubt. We were very lucky to get nononsense.ie behind us for this series but, again, it took a while. It certainly didn't happen overnight.