'The Apprentice' just broke news enough to make any self-aware candidates for the next series of the show quake in their boots.
Lord Sugar's sidekick Nick Hewer announced his departure last year after a decade on the show, and now it's been confirmed that Claude Littner - yes, terrifying Claude! - will be the person filling his boots.
Claude Littner has known Lord Sugar for 25 years, having served as a director of Amstrad plc, Amstrad International, Dancall, Viglen and Tottenham Hotspur. He currently chairs a number of Lord Sugar’s companies.
Claude is already a familiar, and frightening, face to 'Apprentice' viewers, after ten years as one of the most formidable panellists during the key interview episode of each series.
The new series will find him joining Baroness Karren Brady in following the candidates around as they strive to complete the tasks, and then reporting back to Lord Sugar on the makers, breakers and weak links of each team.
Claude said: “If the candidates think I am soft and fluffy, they haven't been watching me on The Apprentice over the past decade. I will now be assessing their performance in the process, individually and within their teams. I will be reporting to Lord Sugar to play my part in ensuring that his personal investment of £250,000 goes to the best candidate. I'm ready, and this won't be a walk in the park!”
Lord Sugar said: “I first worked with Claude in 1990 and trust his judgement completely. He will no doubt take a very different approach to Nick. It’s great to have him on board.”
Claude is not known for breaking it gently to the candidates - here are some of his key putdowns over the last few years...
“Don’t compare yourself to Lord Sugar. Don’t compare yourself ever to him” – to Luisa Zissman Series 9
“I’ve told you how pleased I was with your CV… And then I came on to actually look at the proposal you’re pitching for Lord Sugar, and quite frankly it’s a bloody disgrace. It’s a bloody disgrace. The ten years I’ve done this, I’ve never seen something… two bloody pages… You can leave. Goodbye… There’s nothing to argue, you’ve given me pictures of sailboats… You’re taking the piss… please leave… That’s not the way out.” – to Solomon Akhtar, Series 10
And more succinctly...
“You’re not a big fish - you’re not even a fish” – to Stuart Baggs “The Brand”, Series 6
'The Apprentice' returns later in the year. Be afraid.