The Apprentice: Lord Sugar 'threatened to quit' the BBC show five years ago

'That was the only basis on which I was going to continue doing it'

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The Independent Culture

The twelfth series of The Apprentice starts tonight, Lord Sugar returning to point his infamous finger at contestants he deems not worthy of his investment. 

However, several years ago the business magnate almost quit the show because the winner’s prize was a highly paid job at one of his firms.

Speaking to The Sun, Lord Sugar said the prize “wasn’t a good idea,” adding that adjusting the prize to a £250,000 investment in the winner’s idea was the only way he would continue on the show.

“That was the only basis on which I was going to continue doing it,” he told the publication. “Giving someone a job was turning out to be quite difficult.

“It was problematic as far as other employees were concerned. You don’t just create a job out of thin air. Otherwise, you don’t have a good business, do you? There was never an empty job. I would frankly not be still doing this if I hadn’t changed the format.”

Follow along with our live blog here.

Since the switch in format five years ago, Lord Sugar has invested £1.25 million in various winners but fears £250,000 may no longer be enough money to set their career off.

He said: “The only change could be if it goes on for the next 20 years, it won’t be £250,000, it’ll be £25 million.”

With The Apprentice starting tonight, eighteen new candidates will be battling it out for Lord Sugar’s money. Follow along with our live blog here.