Sir Alan Sugar has criticised the BBC for portraying him as ‘Mr Nasty’ on hit reality TV show The Apprentice.

The tycoon, 60, is about to front the fourth series of The Apprentice. But he he says that his icy and fearsome boardroom image has been exaggerated.

Sir Alan, thought to be worth about £800 million, told Radio Times: “It’s a continual argument I have with the production people.

“But like it or not, and I don’t like it that much, there’s a perception of me just banging the table and shouting.

“The BBC has categorised me as Mr Nasty, so all the humour ends up on the cutting-room floor.”

This year’s 16 contestants are said to include a BBC radio sports presenter, a woman who claims to be descended from royalty, an IT expert who won a payout after suing her City law firm, two trainee barristers and a business analyst.

The winner of the BBC One show, which starts next week, will be given a job with a six-figure salary within Sir Alan’s business empire.

Last year’s winner was public school-educated Simon Ambrose, who beat single mother and the show’s favourite, Kristina Grimes.