The Apprentice aide Claude Littner addresses ‘gutting’ absence from new BBC series

The Apprentice is returning to the BBC for yet another series without Claude Littner.

In 2023, Littner made a grand return after taking a year off the previous year when he almost lost his leg following a horrific injury.

However, Lord Alan Sugar was forced to drop his aide once again just one episode in due to “medical issues”.

Littner was replaced by series one winner Tim Campbell, who had also stepped into the businessman’s shoes for the previous outing, which aired in 2022.

With Littner back to full health, many expected to see him return to the boardroom once again – but this is not the case.

The 2024 series, which is set to begin on Thursday (1 February), will see Campbell return once more alongside Sugar and Baroness Karren Brady.

Littner himself revealed he would only be back this series for the interview stage, which occurs one week before the final. On X/Twitter, in response to a “gutted” Apprentice fan who asked: “Will you ever be back fully?”, Littner replied “Honestly it’s not my call.”

In April 2021, Littner underwent nine surgeries after falling off an electric bike. The accident occurred near his home in Mill Hill, London.

He was rushed to a trauma unit at St Mary’s hospital where doctors immediately said they would have to amputate. However, they were able to save his leg after rushing him into surgery.

Speaking about the incident in June 2021, Littner told PA: “I was just pottering along, I must have been doing no more than 10 kilometres an hour on this sort of two-track road. The next thing I knew, I was on the left-hand side of the street, my bike was in the middle of the road and I didn’t know what happened.”

Claude Littner addresses his continued absence from ‘The Apprentice’ (X/Twitter)
Claude Littner addresses his continued absence from ‘The Apprentice’ (X/Twitter)

He continued: “My wife and my sons were there as well and [the doctors] decided they were going to amputate my leg. And then they had another chat about it and they said, ‘Look, let’s get him into theatre right away tonight and let’s see if we can save his leg’. And I went into theatre and it was a very long operation and they didn’t take my leg off.”

At the time, Baroness Brady wrote: “I’m so sorry that my good friend @claudelittner won’t be with us on this year’s @bbcapprentice – he will be missed! Wishing him a very speedy recovery.”

Campbell previously said he was “excited to be looking after Claude’s boardroom chair while he recuperates”.

He added: “I was saddened by the circumstances which led to getting the call from Lord Sugar, but having been on the show myself, I know the hard work that goes into it – so I didn’t take the decision lightly. I wish Claude the very best as he recovers.”

The Apprentice continues Thursdays at 9pm on BBC One, followed by You’re Fired on BBC Two.