UCL News


BBC’s The Apprentice filmed at UCL

14 January 2022

Candidates in the latest series of BBC’s The Apprentice cut their teeth at UCL Eastman Dental Institute (EDI), when they were asked to design a new electric toothbrush for children.

Episode 2 of the Apprentice was filmed at UCL Eastman Dental Institute & UCL's Here East facility

In episode two, dubbed ‘Toothbrush’, the remaining 15 contestants were given access to the EDI’s new state-of-the-art teaching and research facility, based at UCL’s Rockefeller Building in the heart of London.

The two teams, split into men and women, were debriefed in the EDI’s world-class Clinical Skills Lab, by a Lord Sugar cartoon avatar, depicting the host as the tooth fairy.

Tasked with creating a toothbrush and app for children aged six to eight, the teams then broke out across the EDI, able to take inspiration from the phantom head (dental manikin) workstations and the latest 3D technology, used to plan dental restoration and 3D print dentures, bridges crowns and implants

Commenting Professor Stephen Porter, Director of the EDI, said: “We are absolutely delighted The Apprentice chose the UCL Eastman Dental Institute to host its ‘Toothbrush’ episode.

“Our state-of the-art facilities, teaching expertise and highly talented staff, along with our colleagues in UCL estates and security teams, combined to help pull off a fantastic programme, which befits such a high-profile show.

"As the programme alluded, oral health care is extremely important to welbeing and quality of life, and it is great to see Lord Sugar and his team showcase this."  

The contestants had earlier arrived in blacked-out people carriers to UCL’s quad, at the main entrance off Gower Street, and descended up the steps of UCL’s Wilkin’s Building and landmark Portico, before entering the Flaxman Gallery.

Following the EDI briefing, the candidates were taken down to UCL’s engineering facility at Here East based at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, to help further finesse their designs.

Episode two of the Apprentice can be watched here: Toothbrush

UCL Eastman Dental Institute

The new UCL EDI was formally opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal last year, and is home to around 350 postgraduates and 60 PhD dental students, along with more than 120 academic, technical and professional services staff.

A further 500+ dentists a year will also use the cutting-edge digital workstations to undertake specialist training as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Previously located in Grays Inn Road, the EDI’s move to University Street in the heart of Bloomsbury, ensured it remains close to UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital – one of Europe’s largest hospitals specialising in complex oral health care and advanced ear, nose and throat treatments – which relocated to entirely new premises in Huntley Street in 2019.

The investment in the creation of the new EDI’s facilities both in Bloomsbury and the Royal Free Hospital, London, along with the Eastman Dental Hospital by UCLH NHS Foundation Trust totals over £130m - represents one of the greatest investments in education, research and clinical care (relating to oral health) in the world in the past two decades

In 2018 the UCL EDI celebrated its 70th year. The quality of its research has been demonstrated through successive high rankings in UK Government research assessments, high rates of citation of publication in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, innovative and extensive knowledge transfer, the ability to attract staff of international standing and to establish an NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Oral Theme. Together with UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital, the EDI provides advanced specialist care to patients with complex orofacial disease. Jointly, the Institute and Hospital have one of the highest concentrations of oral health care specialists in Europe, with many being leading experts in their clinical field.



  • All images from BBC's the Apprentice

Media contact

Henry Killworth

Tel: +44 (0) 7881 833274

E: h.killworth@ucl.ac.uk