The Apprentice Star Claude Littner Reveals He Almost Ditched Lord Sugar


The Apprentice star Claude Littner has revealed that he almost dumped Lord Sugar and took a spot on rival BBC show Dragons’ Den a few years ago.

The businessman, 73, has opened up in a new interview about how he was invited to join the panel, but the show eventually changed its mind and went with Hilary Devey instead.

Claude – who joined the show in 2005 – will appear in the new series of The Apprentice which begins in a limited capacity on January 5 due to a cycling accident.

Career moves: The Apprentice star Claude Littner has revealed he almost dumped Lord Sugar and took a spot on rival BBC show Dragons' Den a few years ago

Career moves: The Apprentice star Claude Littner has revealed he almost dumped Lord Sugar and took a spot on rival BBC show Dragons’ Den a few years ago

Former winner Tim Campbell will take over for him again in the 2023 series alongside regular Karen Brady.

told Claude The Radio Times when asked if he was a fan of Dragon’s Den: ‘Of course! Several years ago they invited me to join the panel. I was really excited, but they called me and said they had changed their mind.

“They wanted a woman instead. I said, ‘That’s okay! I can put on a wig! That shouldn’t stop me from being on the show!’

Candid: The businessman, 73, has opened up in a new interview about how he was invited to join the panel, but the show eventually changed its mind and went with Hilary Devey (the 2021 Dragons pictured) instead

Candid: The businessman, 73, has opened up in a new interview about how he was invited to join the panel, but the show eventually changed its mind and went with Hilary Devey (the 2021 Dragons pictured) instead

Candid: The businessman, 73, has opened up in a new interview about how he was invited to join the panel, but the show eventually changed its mind and went with Hilary Devey (the 2021 Dragons pictured) instead

“But they chose Hilary Devey.”

The late businesswoman Hilary – who passed away in June this year at the age of 65 – joined Dragon’s Den in 2011 and left the following year.

For 10 years he was one of Lord Sugar’s hard-to-please interviewers of the candidates, before being announced as his new assistant in 2015 following the departure of Nick Hewer.

It comes as The Apprentice has reportedly added three more business hopefuls to its roster of contestants for the upcoming series after an alleged lineup was revealed earlier this month.

Conclusion: The late businesswoman Hilary - who passed away in June this year at the age of 65 - joined Dragon's Den in 2011 and left the following year

Conclusion: The late businesswoman Hilary - who passed away in June this year at the age of 65 - joined Dragon's Den in 2011 and left the following year

Conclusion: The late businesswoman Hilary – who passed away in June this year at the age of 65 – joined Dragon’s Den in 2011 and left the following year

A martial arts champion, luxury outbuildings salesman, and social care expert, who is thought to be duking it out in the hopes of becoming Lord Alan Sugar’s business partner.

Reportedly joining the trio in the lineup is a former Air Hostess and TikTok sensation, along with an actor who was previously in Waterloo Road.

According to The sunSohail Chowdhary, who owns a martial arts business, is one of the three newly revealed contestants.

The Southampton fitness teacher owns a martial arts fitness center in Hampshire called AGMA.

Lineup: Claude - who joined the show in 2005 - will appear in the new series of The Apprentice which begins January 5 in a limited capacity due to a cycling accident

Lineup: Claude - who joined the show in 2005 - will appear in the new series of The Apprentice which begins January 5 in a limited capacity due to a cycling accident

Lineup: Claude – who joined the show in 2005 – will appear in the new series of The Apprentice which begins January 5 in a limited capacity due to a cycling accident

While Brad Johnson, 28, who sells ‘luxury outdoor spaces’, is also reportedly on his way to the competition – whose prize is to become Lord Sugar’s business partner and receive a hefty £250,000 investment.

Brad, who is from Teesside, is the managing director of gardenrooms.co.uk – a company that supplies outdoor pods and sheds.

Despite no reference to the BBC show on social media, the businessman is followed by last year’s contestant, Stephanie Affleck.

Also tipped to hit screens soon is Simba Rwambiw, co-founder of healthcare company Palmlove Care Services Ltd.

Honestly, Claude told The Radio Times when asked if he was a fan of Dragon's Den: 'Of course!  Several years ago they invited me to join the panel.  I was very excited, but they called me and said they had changed their mind'

Honestly, Claude told The Radio Times when asked if he was a fan of Dragon's Den: 'Of course!  Several years ago they invited me to join the panel.  I was very excited, but they called me and said they had changed their mind'

Honestly, Claude told The Radio Times when asked if he was a fan of Dragon’s Den: ‘Of course! Several years ago they invited me to join the panel. I was very excited, but they called me and said they had changed their mind’

To add to the rumours, Simba and Brad also both follow each other on Instagram, with another rumor contestant Reece Donnelly commenting on the latter’s recent post that he’d be seeing him in January.

The Sun previously revealed the alleged lineup to date, including former Emirates flight attendant Victoria Goulbourne, who has 5.9 million likes on TikTok.

The beauty, whose Instagram feed is filled with bikini snaps in exotic locations, runs a pic’n’mix business called The Sweet Life.

Victoria went viral on TikTok when she shared a video of her luxury hotel in Bali, which turned out to be right next to a swamp, and the clip has been viewed more than 29 million times.

Victoria is said to have started her pick’n’mix business during the pandemic and hopes to open stores across the UK.

Next is reportedly Megan Hornby, who owns a confectionery shop called The Candy Shop.

Her company reportedly employs a team of 20 people, with sales increasing during the pandemic as customers opted to have their treats delivered.

Megan said, “I really didn’t think I’d do so well.”

Here we go: It's because The Apprentice has reportedly added three more business hopefuls to its roster of contestants for the upcoming series (Sohail Chowdhary, pictured, who owns a martial arts business, is one of three newly revealed contestants )

Here we go: It's because The Apprentice has reportedly added three more business hopefuls to its roster of contestants for the upcoming series (Sohail Chowdhary, pictured, who owns a martial arts business, is one of three newly revealed contestants )

Here we go: It’s because The Apprentice has reportedly added three more business hopefuls to its roster of contestants for the upcoming series (Sohail Chowdhary, pictured, who owns a martial arts business, is one of three newly revealed contestants )

Reported contestant Reece is no stranger to the spotlight, having previously appeared on Waterloo Road.

The actor reportedly got his first job in television when he was just six years old with CBBC, while also auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent in 2012.

He also founded a performing arts school called The Theater School of Scotland in 2017 and works as director of a talent agency.

Meanwhile, hopeful Avi Sharma previously worked at Barclay’s Bank, a job he quit to work on ‘Avi TV’, which he now does full-time.

Director: While Brad Johnson, 28, who sells 'luxurious outdoor spaces' is also reportedly heading to the game

Director: While Brad Johnson, 28, who sells 'luxurious outdoor spaces' is also reportedly heading to the game

Director: While Brad Johnson, 28, who sells ‘luxurious outdoor spaces’ is also reportedly heading to the game

The hopeful has previously been interviewed on ITV News and on his show he talks about ‘business, wealth and success’.

He also offers public speaking and coaching on topics such as “setting goals for winners” and “how to crush your interview.”

According to reports, Dani Donovan is also in line and is the owner of Mermane Hair Extensions in Essex, which opened her first store before she turned 21.

In addition to hair transformation in her salon, Dani also regularly treats her Instagram followers to a slew of bikini snaps.

The hopeful alluded to a TV stint earlier this year when she said on Instagram that she had been away for two months to work on a new project.

Rounding out the group would be Rochelle Anthony, owner of The Dollhouse Salon in Milton Keynes.

The beauty, who founded her company in 2018, has more than 22,000 followers on Instagram and describes herself as a wife and mother.

In the upcoming BBC series, the candidates will be flown to Antigua where they will be tasked with making and selling excursions for tourists.

Lineup: Contestants for The Apprentice's new series have been revealed - and many of them are no strangers to the camera (Victoria Goulbourne pictured)

Lineup: Contestants for The Apprentice's new series have been revealed - and many of them are no strangers to the camera (Victoria Goulbourne pictured)

Lineup: Contestants for The Apprentice’s new series have been revealed – and many of them are no strangers to the camera (Victoria Goulbourne pictured)

While those who are not lucky enough to be taken to the sunny location on the first task, face their own tough challenges at home.

Other challenges that await the candidates of this series include creating their own cartoon, making and selling street food, organizing immersive events and delving into the world of male beauty.

With more challengers facing them, the stakes are higher for Series 17 than ever, as the wannabe businessmen and businesswomen battle it out in the boardroom in hopes of evading the dreaded black cab.

In addition to the main show, comedian and actor Tom Allen returns as the presenter of The Apprentice: You’re Fired, which airs weekly on BBC Two after the main show.

Contestant: Megan Hornby owns a confectionery shop called The Candy Shop

Contestant: Megan Hornby owns a confectionery shop called The Candy Shop

Contestant: Megan Hornby owns a confectionery shop called The Candy Shop

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