Why did Claude Littner leave The Apprentice?

1 February 2024, 17:54

Why did Claude Littner leave The Apprentice?
Why did Claude Littner leave The Apprentice? Picture: BBC Pictures

Claude Littner was an important feature on The Apprentice alongside Lord Alan Sugar, but why did he leave the show?

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Claude Littner, 74, became a fan-favourite on The Apprentice during his time on the show.

Known for his deadpan expressions and fierce interviewing skills, Claude was Lord Alan Sugar's right-hand man from 2015-2021.

Replaced by Tim Campbell, 46, in season 16, Claude has made some guest appearances on The Apprentice, but fans have been wondering why he exited the show.

Why did Claude Littner leave The Apprentice? Here is everything we know.

Claude Littner in 2017. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Claude Littner in 2017. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Why did Claude leave The Apprentice?

Claude Littner left The Apprentice due to an injury. The ferocious interviewer had to drop out of the 16th series in 2021, after being involved in a 'freak accident' in which he was knocked off his bike.

Speaking about the incident, Claude said: "I must have been doing no more than ten 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.

"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."

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Claude Littner smiles
Claude Littner is a businessman. Picture: Alamy

He was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, with Claude adding: "My wife and my sons were there as well and [the doctors] decided they were going to amputate my leg.

"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."

Claude Littner has been married to his his wife Thelma since 1976. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Claude Littner has been married to his his wife Thelma since 1976. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Losing two stone throughout his ordeal, Claude Littner did eventually make a full recovery, revealing to Good Morning Britain in 2023 that he was doing "wonderfully well".

Claude explained: "It was a freak accident. I think someone was looking out for me but if someone was looking out for me better, I wouldn't have had the accident."

"I was lucky to have the ambulance driving behind me. I am very grateful to the ambulance crew for looking after me and of course the surgeons at St Mary's who put me back together."

Littner very nearly had to have his leg amputated after his "freak accident". (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Littner very nearly had to have his leg amputated after his "freak accident". (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images). Picture: Getty

Who is Claude Littner?

Claude Littner is an American-born British business executive with over fifty years of experience in high-powered, influential positions.

After starting his career as an accountant, he became a successful turnaround specialist, and chief executive of various high-profile companies including football club Tottenham Hotspur between 1993 to 1998, when he would first meet Lord Sugar.

He became notorious for almost declining The Princess Royal's (Princess Anne) request for tickets during his stint at the North London-based football team. During this time - at the age of just 48 - Littner was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was given six months to live.

He joined The Apprentice from the very first series in 2005, and became publicly renowned for his controversial interviewing style. When Nick Hewer left the show in 2015, Littner became Lord Sugar's aide on The Apprentice.

Since 1976, Claude has been married to Thelma Littner who he shares two children with. They also have five grandchildren.

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