The Apprentice’s Claude Littner on the budding tycoons who make his blood boil and why he’s still a fan of Lord Sugar - interview by Victoria Wilson

As more aspiring entrepreneurs compete for a £250,000 investment in their fledgling business on The Apprentice, Lord Sugar’s ever-observant right hand man Claude Littner is on hand once more to shadow their every move.

Here, Claude Littner give TV Times the heads up on what’s in store in The Apprentice this year…

TV Times: Tell us about the tasks

Claude Littner: “This series is extraordinary, we start off with Malta so there is an international flavour. People are finding their feet and don’t know what’s expected. They have difficulty getting to grips with it. Then they’re designing comics and even getting involved with bodybuilding.”

TVT: What did you make of the candidates?

CL: “You’ve got some people who look clueless – and they are clueless! But with others, we learn there’s more than meets the eye. I don’t smile, as you know, but I’ve almost been smiling at their ability to come up with clever ways of getting around a sticky situation.”

Apprentice group

This year’s Apprentice hopefuls – can they impress Claude?

TVT: Are you still frustrated by some of their behaviour though?

CL: “Yes and some are just very annoying! Elizabeth last year was a super candidate but I wanted to shake her to make her stop behaving the way she did. So you get frustrated but there’s also the pleasure of seeing people doing brilliant things.  This year, one candidate is extraordinary at selling.”

TVT: Several previous candidates have gone on to become reality stars, how do you feel about that?

CL: “There are always people who are hungry for media attention. Some have done very well for themselves but others are quite clearly wannabes. It’s always disappointing to me when you see people who do stupid, foolish things having been on The Apprentice. But these are young people, they’re looking to make a career, and in a way, I don’t blame them.”

TVT: Can you imagine The Apprentice surviving without Lord Sugar?

CL: “You could get somebody else to do it but if he stops, I’ll stop. I couldn’t envisage working in that environment without him. He’s made the show his own and he’s the glue that holds the whole show together and makes it compelling viewing. I’ve been involved with him on and off for 30 years and there’s not a board meeting that I attend where he doesn’t surprise me with a clever piece of thinking. I continue to be really impressed with him.”

Apprentice trio

Claude on Alan Sugar: “You could get somebody else to do it but if he stops, I’ll stop”

TVT What do you love about working with Karren Brady?

CL: “We’re usually both knackered from having been up at five in the morning so we compare notes on how tired we are. Although I’ve got an advantage because Karren gets up an hour earlier to do her hair, whereas I don’t have that issue! But we do have a laugh together.”

TVT: Would you ever do a reality show yourselves like Strictly or I’m A Celebrity?

CL: “I’ve been asked to do Strictly and I can’t dance. I’ve been asked to do Mastermind but I don’t know anything. I was asked to do MasterChef but I can’t boil an egg or switch my oven on, so that’s hopeless. If they asked me to do something I felt able to do, I might rise to the challenge. But I’m wary of making a fool of myself!”

The Apprentice returns on Wednesday 3rd October on BBC1 at 9pm