Claude Littner felt ‘very strongly’ The Apprentice would end in 2020

Claude Littner has revealed his surprise that The Apprentice will continue beyond the next series

Claude Littner The Apprentice

Claude Littner was left shocked to discover this year’s series of The Apprentice is unlikely to be the last following a revelation from Alan Sugar.

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Littner has been involved in all 15 series’ of the show at the infamous interview stage, while he stepped up to fill Nick Hewer’s shoes as Lord Sugar’s right-hand man in series 11.

The 70-year-old businessman knew the show had one more year to run on its contract and fully believed it was set to be the final year of boardroom action.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com at the Radio Times Covers Party, Littner said: “I got a bit of a shock because we’ve got one more year to do on the contract.

“I felt very strongly that this was going to be the last year.

“But when a journalist asked him the question, he said ‘oh no, I’m carrying on for at least four or five more years’ so I can see myself wandering around after these candidates with my zimmer frame shuffling around in a few years time.”

However, Littner does still believe that when Lord Sugar decides to call it a day, the show will have to end.

He said: “My personal feeling is that he’s such a character, he’s the glue that sticks the whole thing together, that I do believe when he stops, I think the show would have to be retired.

“I can’t imagine someone coming along and really taking it on.

“Maybe in some years somebody may try to revive it, but I think he’s made it his own.

“We’re all getting a bit old – apart from Karren [Brady] who is still a spring chicken – so I don’t know how many years of life I’ve got, but if Alan wants to carry on, then I’m happy to carry on with him certainly.”

Littner loves his role on the hit BBC show, and despite being aware of the often strenuous nature of the process, he takes great pride in featuring alongside Lord Sugar and will hope to keep going for years to come.

“It’s very pleasurable being on the show, being with Alan and Karren is fun,” he said.

“The actual process itself is pretty arduous so I’m looking forward to doing it but with trepidation.

“Getting up early in the morning, working til late at night, wandering around with the candidates is not great fun but the process is fantastic.

“I’m very, very lucky to have been involved for all these years on The Apprentice.”

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The Apprentice Series 16 is expected to return to screens in October 2020