The Apprentice: Lord Alan Sugar addresses his future on BBC series

The milestone 20th season of The Apprentice is just a few years away (Picture: BBC/Fremantle Media/Ray Burmiston)

Lord Alan Sugar has opened up about how long The Apprentice viewers can expect to watch him on the series… and it doesn’t sound like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

This week, the BBC programme returns for its 2023 launch, introducing UK viewers to a brand new batch of candidates as they each embark on a journey to bag a £250,000 investment from the business magnate.

The new series will start with a spectacularly sunny challenge as the 18 enthusiastic entrepreneurs jet off to Antigua for their first task, while aides Karren Brady and Claude Littner keep a close eye on how they carry themselves and work in their teams.

During a press conference attended by, Lord Sugar was asked how long he reckons he’ll remain the face of The Apprentice, given next year will mark 20 years since its inception, despite the hiatus between 2022 and 2019.

The businessman first noted that given the 2023 season is the 17th series, it won’t be until 2024 or 2025 that the 20th series comes out.

‘I have agreed to do two more series, which will bring me up to 19 and depending on how well that is received, and the BBC do their statistical numbers and all that, I’d be delighted to do a 20th,’ he shared.

The 75-year-old added: ‘Bear in mind I’ve also done three Junior Apprentices. So in a way, you could argue that I’ve already done 20.’

While The Apprentice might not be celebrating its milestone 20th season quite yet, the 2023 series will be marking another occasion – the celebration of the BBC’s centenary, which will be recognised in a special theme for the third episode.

At the Q&A, Lord Sugar was also questioned on how he feels regarding the fact that The Apprentice has been placed on the BBC One schedule directly after Dragons’ Den, arguably a rival show.

Nonetheless, he didn’t seem phased by the competition, instead believing that it’s a ‘smart idea’ for the two business-themed programmes to be back-to-back.

Dragons' Den

Thursday evenings on the BBC are going to be full of business proposals (Picture: BBC/PA)

‘It’s the BBC’s rather smart idea to have a business Thursday, I suppose,’ he remarked.

‘For people who are interested in business, they can kick off with Dragon’s Den and then follow up with us. So I think it’s a rather smart idea, actually.’

Comedian Tom Allen, who was hosting the press conference, quipped that The Apprentice could be regarded as the ‘headline show’, considering it comes after Dragons’ Den.

The Apprentice 2023 stars

The 18 candidates for the 2023 series of The Apprentice have been unveiled (Picture: BBC/Fremantle Media/Ray Burmiston)

‘Thank you for saying that Tom,’ Lord Sugar responded light-heartedly, before Tom added that his own sister show, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, comes even later on BBC Two after the fired candidate’s identity has been revealed.

At the press conference, Lord Sugar also made sure to mention his talking personalised pens that are being sold in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, with all proceeds being donated to the children’s hospital.

This year’s line-up includes a variety of intriguing individuals who are all keen to conquer the competition, from the self-professed ‘Kim Kardashian of the business world’ to a cannon expert.

So who will end up winning Lord Sugar’s investment and his mentorship? We’re raring to find out.

The Apprentice returns on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One, followed by The Apprentice: You’re Fired at 10pm on BBC Two.


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