The Apprentice mentor Karren Brady has admitted some of the contestants on the show are only interested in fame, and aren’t willing to put the effort in.

Sir Alan Sugar’s sidekick, who is about to return in a new series of The Apprentice, said contestants needed to knuckle down and work hard if they wanted to survive Sir Alan’s boardroom.

Karren told the Radio Times: “TV and real life are two different things,” she said. “Some people who come on the show enjoy the TV side but aren’t ready to roll up their sleeves and work hard.”

The 44-year-old mother also claimed being a housewife is more difficult than running a £82 million business.

Karren, 44, who became managing director of Birmingham City Football Club at the age of just 23, famously returned to work when her daughter was just three days old. But the businesswoman spent three months at home between selling the club for £82 million in 2009 and beginning work at West Ham, where she is now vice chairman.

She said: “I was still in my dressing gown at midday. I found it the hardest work I have ever done and the least respected. You spend all day cooking the most beautiful meal and the kids come home and say, ‘I’ll have beans on toast’.

“I told my husband I’d cleaned out the airing cupboard and he looked at me like I’d gone mad. There’s no appreciation for such chores. And when you phone someone and their PA asks where you’re calling from, you think, ‘My living room!’ I couldn’t wait to get back to work.

“It’s harder to run a home than an £82 million business.”