New Apprentice twist is “very difficult” for Lord Sugar and co

“Please don’t do it again,” groans assistant Nick Hewer as the tenth anniversary sees the last minute addition of four more candidates

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The Apprentice is having a 10th anniversary shake up by adding four extra candidates to this year’s line-up, making it twenty rather than the usual sixteen. But the boardroom panel definitely doesn’t want to see it happen again.

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“We thought, frankly at the 11th hour, that perhaps for the 10th anniversary we’d give it a try,” Lord Sugar revealed at today’s London press launch.

“Not that the production people enjoyed that because it gave them a lot of headaches managing another four people, I can assure you,” he added.

“There’s so many good candidates for various reasons,” he continues, saying it seemed right to give more people a shot at bagging his £250,000 investment into their business venture.

Indeed, the addition of four more faces doesn’t mean any “friction” for Lord Sugar himself. “It’s friction among them, isn’t it?” he says. But it doesn’t look like it’s a format that’ll stick around. “I don’t think we’ll be doing that again for the next series,” he adds, with the 11th series already in production.

Fewer candidates is certainly welcome news for his long-standing assistant Nick Hewer, who admits being out on the road following them during the various tasks – which this year range from selling t-shirts to running YouTube channels – is tough.

“It makes life very difficult for those following them,” he groans. “Trying to follow ten people for three days, writing down everything that everyone says to everyone else, trying to work out if it’s honest, if the reaction is honest, who said what…

“It’s hard. Please don’t do it again.”

“It was a bit manic out of the road when we were following them,” concurs Karren Brady, another familiar face helping Lord Sugar make this year’s decisions.

“Maybe in the twentieth series we’ll do forty candidates,” Lord Sugar jokes.

He may very well be on his own on that one.

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The Apprentice series returns Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th October at 9:00pm on BBC1