Former Apprentice winners make surprise boardroom appearance in new series opener

In the first episode of the new series, Lord Sugar brings in some familiar faces to provide inspiration for the latest batch of candidates

The Apprentice's Lord Sugar, Karren Brady and Claude Littner

With Lord Sugar, his advisors Karren Brady and Claude Littner, plus a bumper crop of 18 candidates, the Apprentice boardroom is set to be crowded enough as it is this year – but when the show launches next month, it will be squeezing in a few more bodies as four former winners make a surprise appearance.

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Before Lord Sugar sends the new bunch of aspiring business moguls off on their first task, he’ll introduce them to last year’s winner Alana Spencer, series ten’s Mark Wright, series nine champ Dr Leah Totton and series seven’s Tom Pellereau to offer some wise words – or in the case of Totton, who for some reason doesn’t manage to get a word in, an encouraging smile.

“This process has changed my life,” says online ranking specialist Wright. “My business that does digital marketing just opened our fourth office, we’ve got over 40 staff now and we’re on for a profit of over £800,000 this year.”

Everyone’s favourite geeky inventor Pellereau has a similar success story, following the launch of his curved nail-file and other products. “I came here a naïve inventor with a notebook of ideas and now we actually turn over over £250,000. I would not have been able to achieve any of that without this process so this is a huge, huge opportunity,” he tells the candidates.

“I really didn’t have any idea of how to grow a big business until I sat down with Lord Sugar,” admits Spencer.

Having seen them in action, that’s something a lot of the new candidates will already be able to relate to…

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The Apprentice returns to BBC1 at 9pm on Wednesday 4th October