The barrow boy turned business guru tells us all about the sixth series of The Apprentice, premiering on BBC1 on Wednesday, October 6…

We are very excited by the return of The Apprentice – what can we expect this year?
“The more we make the show, the better it gets. We learn every year what makes the show good, and improve on it. This year’s contestants are the best yet.”

What is the line-up like?
“We never set out to find a new Ruth Badger or another Syed. This year we wanted to give opportunity to those that had been hit by the recession. So there are a couple of people who’ve been made redundant by their companies. A couple of people have struggled to start their own businesses and we also have a couple of graduates fresh out of university who’re finding it hard to get a job.”

Does the credit crunch affect how you make the show?
“I am not looking for a ‘steady Eddie’ or a ‘Cautious Carol’. Steady people tend to stay steady in life. I’m looking for a risk taker, someone with fire in their belly who has great ideas.”

This time Karren Brady has joined the main show as one of your sidekicks. How has that gone?
“Great. I’ve known Karren for many years and she’s great at what she does. The shame of it is that there’s no more Margaret Mountford, but she’d really had enough and wanted to leave.”

What are your favourite tasks during this series?
“I love the first task. We send them off in the middle of the night to start the task [a sausage manufacturing and selling challenge] and that threw a real wobbler their way. They have to work under pressure. We also send them to Germany later in the show to try and sell crisps to the Germans – that is very interesting! There’s a tourism task too, involving London tour buses and the old favourites return, like the advertising task and the sourcing 10 items on the list task.”

You’ve joined Twitter – will you be tweeting throughout the shows?
“If I have time. I’ll be checking in and seeing what people say. Most people don’t believe it’s me. Actually, they need to sort the managers of Twitter out, but it seems like they’re off on holiday somewhere. I do enjoy it, it’s something new to get enthusiastic about.”