The Apprentice star Claude Littner returned to the show in Thursday’s nail-biting episode after he was forced to pull out of last year's series to due a ‘freak accident’.
This week saw the return of the episode all Apprentice fans look forward to - the extremely tough, often hilarious and always savage 'Interviews' episode, which sees the candidates have their business plans ripped to shreds by Lord Alan Sugar's aides and business associates.
Littner, 73, was one of the interviewers who grilled Dani Donovan, Marnie Swindells, Megan Hornby, Rochelle Anthony and Victoria Goulbourne in the penultimate obstacle to become Lord Sugar’s next business partner.
However, the business executive was forced to pull out of the 16th series in 2022 after he suffered a horror crash while riding his bike and was left fearing his leg would be amputated the previous year.
Lord Sugar’s trusted aide was ‘pottering along’ near his home in north London on an electric bike when the accident occurred.
In an interview with PA in June 2021, two months after the accident, Littner recalled what he remembered.
“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.”
An ambulance rushed Littner to the trauma unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where he was joined by his wife and sons. The doctors decided they would have to amputate his leg, which didn’t end up happening.
He added: “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.”
Littner – who took over from Nick Hewer in 2015 - said he was doing ‘very well’ at that point and was sad to be missing out on taking part in series 16.
He was replaced by series one winner Tim Campbell for the duration of the 16th series.
The former chief of Tottenham Hotspur returned for the first episode of series 17 this year alongside Karren Brady when the candidates’ first task took place on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
But he was forced to pull out due to his biking injuries and was replaced by Campbell once again, who has served as Lord Sugar’s aide in the current series starting from episode two.
Ahead of the premiere of series 17, Lord Sugar said Campbell was the best replacement for Claude while he recovers.
He told Radio Times: "Unfortunately, Claude suffered some medical issues and so, I was asked to think of someone else and who better than somebody who's actually been through the process?
"So it was a bit of a no brainer, really, because when it comes to making excuses like these candidates do, you've got Tim there, who's been there, done that, seen it and heard it all.”
The Apprentice series 17 concludes 23 March on BBC One.Featured Image Credit: BBC