Claude Littner, one of the stars of Lord Alan Sugar’s BBC reality show The Apprentice, will not feature in the forthcoming 16th series of the programme after almost losing a leg after crashing while riding his e-bike in north London.
The 72-year-old said that doctors initially told him they would have to amputate his leg following the crash in April, which happened near his home in Mill Hill, reports The Independent.
Doctors at the trauma unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington managed to save the leg, however, with Littner undergoing nine separate operations.
The circumstances surrounding the crash are unclear, with Littner telling PA: “I was just pottering along, 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.
“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,” he added.
— Claude Littner (@claudelittner) October 22, 2019
Littner’s place on the show, which is due to air from next January, will be taken by Tim Campbell, who won the debut series in 2005.
He said that he is “excited to be looking after Claude’s boardroom chair while he recuperates, adding: “I was saddened by the circumstances which led to getting the call from Lord Sugar, but having been on the show myself, I know the hard work that goes into it – so I didn’t take the decision lightly. I wish Claude the very best as he recovers.”
An accountant by training and turnaround specialist, Littner acted as chairman and chief executive of several companies in the Amstrad Group in the early 1990s, and was also chief executive of Tottenham Hotspur FC when Sugar owned the club.
He has appeared in every series of the UK version of The Apprentice since it was launched in 2005, initially as an interviewer and, since 2015, accompanying one team of contestants on their weekly tasks as one of Sugar’s aides, along with Baroness Karren Brady.
She wrote on Twitter: “I’m so sorry that my good friend @claudelittner won’t be with us on this year’s @bbcapprentice – he will be missed! Wishing him a very speedy recovery.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.