THE Apprentice star Karren Brady has confirmed that Claude Littner will be returning to the BBC show next series.
Lord Alan Sugar's assistant, 74, only appeared on one episode and was forced to take a step back due to "medical issues" on the latest series.
He then recruited series one winner Tim Campbell, who stepped into Claude's shoes for the later outings.
Karren – who is Simply Business Small Business Ambassador – said show favourite Claude will be back for the interview stage, as Karren also confirmed her return to the popular programme.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Karren said: "I will absolutely be returning to the next series.
"Claude will definitely be returning for the interviews. But I don't know about the rest of the process.
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"I like Tim [Campbell] – I've been lucky, I've like all of my colleagues, Nick, Claude and Tim.
"We all get on very well, Tim's a great person, he has great energy, a great vibe, he's a real pleasure to work with."
Karren, 54, said the BBC business show, which first aired in 2005, has been successful over the years for one simple reason.
"It's too early to say what the next series will involve – we're not on air until January.
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"I think what's fresh about the show, is that we have new candidates each year. The reason that it still gets nine million viewers every week is that people are interested in business.
"They like the authentic nature of Alan Sugar, they understand the format – it's pretty simple, they set a task and they have to go and deliver it and on the losing team one of those people get fired.
"They want to see how well the people do and what viewers like about it the most, is that the winning candidate gets to realise their dream of opening their business and being in partnership with one of the worlds most successful entrepreneurs.
"I think it has it's authentic nature running through it – it's entertaining where things go right and things go wrong and the outcome is really positive.
"It doesn't need any refreshing in my mind, we should just stick to what we know and keep delivering a great show and a great outcome."
Simply Business, the UK’s largest provider of small business insurance has partnered with Baroness Brady to help raise the profile of the challenges facing small businesses and SMEs across the UK.
As the UK recognises Mental Health Awareness Week, research shows small business owners are at breaking point as the survey showed a combination of acute financial worries, lack of time off, overworking and getting less than 5 hours sleep a night all contributing to poor mental health.
Stress, anxiety and depression are crippling small business owners across the country, as new research by Simply Business, one of the UK’s biggest providers of small business insurance, reveals that over half have experienced poor mental health in the last 12 months – an 124% increase compared with the national average.
Simply Business has partnered with Mental Health at Work, a programme curated by leading mental health charity Mind and offers a wide range of resources for SMEs to aid workplace mental health.
Karren said: "It's really important to highlight the importance of small business to the UK.
"There are five and a half million small businesses and they account for 99.2 per cent of the total business population in our country.
"They also employ 48 per cent of the British workforce and collectively turnover £1.4 trillion pounds a year. So the importance of small businesses cannot be underestimated.
"This is all about championing the small business owner, the person that has a dream to turn their idea into a business, back themselves, has relience, takes risks and launches this business.
"Obviously running a small business during a pandemic was particularly stressful because of the worries of keeping your business alive and as we come through that, we wanted to check on mental wellbeing – how are they all feeling at the moment.
"When we did the survey, we found that 60 per cent of small business owners have experienced poor mental health over the past 12 months. They are literally on the brink of burnout.
"A third are having less than five hours of sleep a night and we know how harmful that is for your wellbeing and they are working over 46 hours per week.
"It's 10 hours more than the average working hours clocked up and 73 per cent are taking fewer than 20 days of annual leave.
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"So significantly less time off, significantly longer ours, lack of sleep – so is it any wonder they are feeling burnout."
Karren added: "I guess what we want to say is that if you need support, we want to champion you and get you the resources that you need to run your business effectively."
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