A burlesque dancer, a hypnotherapist with her own matchmaking firm and a pub quiz boss are among the candidates aiming to triumph in this year’s series of The Apprentice.

They’re each hoping to impress Lord Sugar and his advisors Karren Brady and Nick Hewer to survive the weekly boardroom massacres in an effort to win a quarter of a million pound investment in their businesses.

The Apprentice will this year feature 20 contestants – four more than normal – but the show will last the usual 12 weeks, which means more than one elimination on a number of shows.

The candidates for the 10th series of the BBC One show include 26-year-old Jemma Bird (pictured), a trained dancer with her own troupe whose repertoire includes burlesque routines.

Also featuring in the series, which begins next Tuesday, is Sarah Dales, 32, who set up a Harley Street hypnotherapy practice in addition to operating a dating firm.

Among the 10 male contestants is Daniel Lassman, 27, who has an events company which runs quizzes and has spent a year as a professional footballer and also a market trader. The boys also include Steven Ugoalah, a Canadian social worker who spent a year working in the Arctic Circle with remote Inuit communities.

Tasks which feature in the new series will range from designing wearable technology, creating an online video channel, running coach tours and launching a soft drink brand with contestants desperate to avoid facing Lord Sugar’s wagging finger as he despatches them from the show with his catchphrase: “You’re fired.”

The hopefuls also include a fitness instructor with her own DVD range – 27-year-old Katie Bulmer-Cooke – and Lindsay Booth, 29, who runs her own swimming academy.

Explaining the added pressures of having more contestants on The Apprentice this year, Lord Sugar warns them: “On certain occasions I may decide to dispose of more than one candidate at a time. Be prepared.”

The series begins with a double bill next week with programmes on consecutive days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, before settling into a regular midweek 9pm slot.