The Apprentice renewed for two more series

Lord Sugar has confirmed that The Apprentice will air for two more seasons after the upcoming 2023 competition.

The businessman, who has helmed the BBC One series since it first began in 2005, told press at a Q&A for the 2023 season that he’s agreed to two more turns in the boardroom – and would sign up for more.

“This is officially the 17th series so next year is 18,” he said. “I have agreed to do two more series, which will bring me up to 19 and depending on how well that is received, and the BBC do their statistical numbers and all that, I’d be delighted to do a 20th.

“Bear in mind, I’ve also done three Junior Apprentices so I mean, in a way, you could argue that I’ve already done 20 [seasons].”The business magnate and media personality rose to fame as the founder of electronics company Amstrad before becoming the chairman and part-owner of Tottenham Hotspur in 1991.

He joined The Apprentice as its head judge in 2005 and has since welcomed five aides onto the show: Margaret Mountford, Karren Brady, Nick Hewer, Claude Littner and Tim Campbell.

The upcoming episodes will see Brady return for her 11th season, however Littner – who joined in 2015 – will be taking on a reduced role this year, appearing in just two episodes.

Lord Sugar explains Claude Littner’s reduced role on Apprentice 202

The Apprentice returns for its 2023 season this week and while Claude Littner is back as one of Lord Sugar’s aides in Thursday’s premiere, fans will notice that he’s again replaced on the show by season 1 winner Tim Campbell in future episodes.

While the BBC previously revealed that Littner would be taking on a smaller role on The Apprentice 2023, Lord Sugar has explained why he’s missing from the majority of the season.

Speaking to and other press at a Q&A for the new season, Sugar said that Littner took a step back due to “medical issues”.

“Obviously it’s been a great journey starting with [former aide] Nick Hewer and then Claude. Unfortunately, Claude suffered some medical issues and so I was asked to think of someone else – and who better than somebody who’s actually been through the process,” he said, referring to Campbell

“So it was a bit of a no-brainer really, because when it comes to making excuses like these candidates do, you’ve got Tim there, who’s been there, done that, seen it and heard it all,” he continued.

“And that’s why I warn the candidates also that there’s no pulling the wool over his eyes, so to speak.”

Campbell added: “To be clear, [Claude is] back again so he will be there towards the end as well for the interviews. He’s very good.

Littner joined The Apprentice as Nick Hewer’s replacement for season 11 and has appeared in every outing since, however he took part in just the interview stage of the 2022 competition following a serious bike accident.

Campbell, who was the first winner of The Apprentice, stepped in to be Lord Sugar’s aide alongside Karren Brady for last year’s season, which saw Harpreet Kaur emerge as the champion.

The BBC recently revealed the line-up for The Apprentice 2023, including a safari guide, a sweet shop owner, a technology recruiter, the CEO of a theatre school and an accountant.

The Apprentice airs on 5th January at 9pm on BBC One

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Stevie Flavio
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