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Alan Sugar walked out on me at an interview, says Claude Littner

Published 06/10/2015

Claude Littner is a feared interviewer on The Apprentice (BBC/PA Wire)
Claude Littner is a feared interviewer on The Apprentice (BBC/PA Wire)

The Apprentice newcomer Claude Littner has revealed that Lord Alan Sugar walked out on him during a job interview years ago.

The 66-year-old, who joins Sugar and Karren Brady in the new series of the show, recalled how Sugar didn't make eye contact, and then just left the room.

"He had my CV in front of him," he told the Radio Times, "We sat at a table and he didn't look at me at all. He didn't ask me any questions, so after a few minutes I said, 'Would you like me to tell you a bit about myself?'

"He just looked of the window and started whistling. Then every so often, this is absolutely true, he would look at my CV and go, 'huh'.

"I realised this was probably not going to work out, so I stopped talking. He got up and walked out, and as he went, he just said, 'Bored'.

"I had another job lined up, so I didn't care, but I wondered why I'd even turned up - he obviously had zero interest. Within a few minutes the marketing director came running in and said, 'Alan likes you, you've got the job,' and that was it."

Littner will be stepping into the shoes of Sugar's old friend and right hand man, Nick Hewer, and these days he and Sugar are good friends.

The new batch of Apprentice contestants are in for a tough ride, especially if Littner gets angry.

"My problem," the former Amstrad and Tottenham Hotspurs chief executive explained, "is that I am a Jekyll and Hyde character. I mean, I am a very nice bloke, aren't I?

"But if you put something in front of me that isn't right, I will get angry. What's that guy who turns green when he gets upset?"

The tough-talking executive made a name for himself interviewing prospective Apprentice winners for Lord Sugar during the show.

As the "chief interrogator" during the final interview rounds of the show, he has shown no mercy to candidates, with many leaving one of his famous interviews in tears.

These days though, due to a health scare in 1997, he's infinitely more "chilled."

At just 48 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare blood cancer, which he says was "l ife-changing".

"I was a young man, at the height of my career, and I could have died, I really could."

He went on to say: "Today, my life is completely different, I barely recognise myself.

"For many years I was absolutely obsessed with being successful, and successful doesn't necessarily mean money; it meant feeling good about myself, knowing that I had achieved whatever I could.

"But I'm now comfortable with what I've achieved and I'm happy. Financially, I'm secure and I've made sure my family is completely secure. So from that point of view, I have nothing more to achieve."

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