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Public no longer want ‘really mean’ Apprentice interviews, says Claude Littner

Claude Littner featured as an adviser to Lord Alan Sugar from seasons 11-15 and will return for the interview stage.

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Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner from The Apprentice (BBC/PA)

Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner from The Apprentice (BBC/PA)

Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner from The Apprentice (BBC/PA)

Claude Littner has said he will be less harsh to contestants on The Apprentice as he returns to the BBC show for the interview stages.

The 72-year-old business mogul will return for the penultimate episode of The Apprentice on March 17 to help Lord Alan Sugar decide which business person he will invest £250,000 in.

Littner was on the show from seasons 11 to 15 as an adviser to Lord Sugar but could not take part in this season as he was still recovering from serious injuries sustained after falling off an electric bike in April 2021.

When asked about his interview techniques, he said that it was still important to “interrogate” the finalists but that the public no longer want to see a “really mean” interview.

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Lord Sugar with the candidates who feature on this year’s show(BBC/PA)

Lord Sugar with the candidates who feature on this year’s show(BBC/PA)

Lord Sugar with the candidates who feature on this year’s show(BBC/PA)

He said: “I have mellowed with age but it’s important when we get to the interview stage that we really interrogate the finalists.

“By this stage in the process the candidates are, whilst apprehensive, full of confidence and they think they’re brilliant.”

He added: “You can’t expect a mild-mannered, gentle interview because that’s not the idea. Very quickly the interviewer has got to get to the core and uncover all these different elements.

“All that said, I also think the truth of the matter is that both the viewers and the general appetite for being really mean has changed.

“In this day and age a change of approach is probably more appropriate, and I certainly don’t think I am as forthright as I once may have come across.”

Tim Campbell, the winner of the very first series of The Apprentice in 2005, replaced Littner for season 16.

Littner raised the hopes of viewers on March 3 when he posted on twitter confirming that he would be back for the next series.

He said he is “very optimistic” about returning for the next season of The Apprentice, but is currently focused on finding the winner of this year’s show.

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The penultimate episode of The Apprentice will air on Thursday March 17th at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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