Lord Sugar will be without one of his key advisers when the next series of The Apprentice begins filming after Claude Littner was seriously injured in a cycling accident, the BBC has confirmed.
The 72-year-old TV star and businessman suffered a horrific cycling accident back in April that nearly saw his leg get amputated. Littner injured his right leg so badly that doctors performed nine surgeries and he will now need to learn how to walk again.
“I was just pottering along, I must have been doing no more than 10 kilometres an hour on this sort of two-track road,” Littner told PA News Agency. 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.
“I suspect I hit a pothole or something like that, but I must have blanked out at the moment of impact, because the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground.”
The businessman went on to describe how he was transported to St Mary’s Hospital and seeing doctors standing over him but was not able to understand what they were saying.
“My wife and my sons were there as well and they (the doctors) decided they were going to amputate my leg,” he said. “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.”
Littner said he has lost two stone since the accident but has the “absolute determination” to recover.
With Claude out of commission, Lord Sugar has tapped former winner Tim Campbell to fill in for him while he recovers at home.
**New series announcement**
Lord Sugar has appointed former winner of The Apprentice, Tim Campbell (MBE), to cover the role of Claude Littner as he takes a one series break. pic.twitter.com/1q0mCBsoX0
— The Apprentice (@bbcapprentice) July 8, 2021
“Claude has been part of the series since the beginning and is leaving an important boardroom chair to temporarily fill,” Lord Sugar said in a statement. “I’ve been speaking to him regularly about his recovery, and of course hope we see him back in the boardroom very soon.”
He added: “In the meantime, my former winner Tim Campbell will step into Claude’s seat and be my eyes and ears as the candidates face a tough set of business challenges in the upcoming series.”
Campbell won the very first series of the show back in 2005 and joined Lord Sugar’s staff at Amstrad as Project Director of Amstrad’s new Health & Beauty division.
“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,” Campbell said in a statement.
Littner may be down but he’s not out. He went on to say he’s determined to get back to the boardroom and look after those candidates again.
“Whilst I’m disappointed that I won’t be out and about covering the tasks or in the boardroom for this upcoming series, I’ll most definitely be glued to the action from my sofa,” he said.
The Apprentice returns to BBC in 2022.