First look at new series of The Apprentice released as Claude Littner replaced

The BBC has released its first look at the 16th series of its hit reality show The Apprentice – as Lord Sugar’s aide Claude Littner has been replaced for the first time since he joined the show.

Claude made his debut as an aide in 2015, taking the place of Nick Hewer by Lord Sugar’s side and making a step up from his sporadic appearances on the programme during the final interview round.

Instead, Tim Campbell MBE will be stepping into Claude’s shoes as he takes a "series break" after suffering health issues this year.

The 72-year-old suffered a "serious" e-biking accident in April 2021 which left him relearning how to walk and undergoing an eye-watering nine surgeries to fix his right leg.

Doctors initially worried they’d have to amputate the limb altogether.

Tim will join Baroness Karren Brady when the show returns in January, in a new Thursday night slot.

Speaking about his new role, Tim said back in July: "I’m excited to be looking after Claude’s boardroom chair while he recuperates and look forward to seeing what the candidates come up with on this year’s tasks.

"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."

16 new candidates are set to attempt to compete to win a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar, and it’s all systems go from the off.

The first task sees the candidates aboard a brand-new cruise ship laid on by the business mogul, and tasked with designing an advertising campaign for a destination cruise. It’s definitely set to determine who will sink and who will swim.

Other tasks this series will include a visit from a Tooth Fairy as they plunge into the world of children’s oral care, attempt to boost Welsh tourism with zip lines and steam trains, and even develop a new video game concept.

The entrepreneurs will also be expected to sell live on TV, organise a racing inspired corporate away-day at Silverstone, and navigate fishy waters in Cornwall.

Lord Sugar isn’t letting up after nearly two years of Covid restrictions, either, as he can be heard announcing from the Boardroom: “I must say, we are glad to be back in the boardroom again. But don’t for one minute think I’ve gone soft.

“Due to the pandemic, the world of business is tougher than ever before and the same goes for this process. In this boardroom you don’t get furloughed, you get fired.”

Meanwhile, fans can expect to see a whole host of familiar faces elsewhere, as comedian Tom Allen returns to host spin-off show The Apprentice: You’re Fired, set to air each week on BBC Two after the main show.

As usual, the series will also include two special episodes – The Final Five and Why I Fired Them will both return ahead of the grand finale to reflect on the candidates’ journeys.

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