While fans have been missing Claude Littner from the current series of The Apprentice, we have some good news for you – the long-time aide of Lord Sugar has said he feels "well enough" to return to the show next year.
The businessman, who took over from Nick Hewer as Alan Sugar's aide back in 2015, pulled out of the 2022 season to recover after sustaining injuries in a cycling accident last year.
However, Littner – who was replaced by The Apprentice's first-ever winner Tim Campbell for the 2021 series – told press ahead of his return in next week's episode that he's ready to get back to the show.
"I certainly feel well enough to come back and am very optimistic, but the focus for the moment is about shining the spotlight on the remaining candidates in this series and finding the next successful business for Alan to invest in," he said.
The 72-year-old added that he was "feeling absolutely fantastic" and couldn't wait to return for the interview stage of this year's competition.
More like this
"I had written off this series, but it would seem Lord Sugar and the production company had other ideas!" he said. "I’ve had so many messages on social media too from viewers saying they hope I’m coming back for the interviews and how much they miss my smiling... but obviously I’ve not been able to say anything until now."
He continued: "It was quite funny how it came about; Alan arrived at my house one day (although he phoned me almost daily!) and he just said, 'You will do the interviews, won't you?' and I replied, 'Yes, of course'.
"The moment it came out of my mouth I was thinking, 'How on earth am I actually going to do it?' The truth is, by the time it came to filming I was feeling better but the team had been so kind and gone to so much trouble so I could be involved."
The Apprentice airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Thursdays at 9pm. Catch Claude’s return for the penultimate episode of The Apprentice on Thursday 17th March, 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.