Claude will be back for the 2023 season of The Apprentice (Picture: BBC/Naked)
Since 2015, Claude has been one of Lord Alan Sugar’s trusted aides on the business-themed reality programme, having previously put contestants to the test in gruelling and often savage interviews.
In 2022, he was replaced in the boardroom by former winner Tim Campbell MBE after being involved in a horrific accident, having fallen off an electric bike in an incident that resulted in him undergoing nine surgeries.
The 73-year-old is due to appear in two episodes of the 2023 season, with Tim remaining at Lord Sugar’s side and Baroness Karren Brady also set to return.
However, in a new interview, he revealed that he almost joined the cast of Dragons’ Den, which presumably could have resulted in him exiting The Apprentice.
When asked by The Radio Times via MailOnline if he was a fan of Dragons’ Den, Claude responded: ‘Of course! Some years ago they invited me to join the panel.’
Claude said his role on Dragon’s Den was instead offered to the late Hilary Devey (second from left) (Picture: BBC)
He said that he was ‘very keen’ for the role… but it wasn’t meant to be after they ‘had a change of heart’.
‘I was very keen but they phoned me up and said they’d had a change of heart,’ he recalled.
‘They wanted a woman instead. I said: “That’s OK! I can put on a wig! That shouldn’t inhibit me from being on the show!” But they chose Hilary Devey.’
Claude’s no-holds-barred approach on The Apprentice has made him a fan-favourite (Picture: BBC/PA)
Businesswoman Hilary Devey CBE was on Dragons’ Den from 2011 until 2012, before appearing on other programmes including The Intern, Running The Shop and Loose Women.
She died in June this year at the age of 65 after suffering from a long illness.
Earlier this month, the first trailer for the 2023 series of The Apprentice was released, teasing Claude’s return in the sun-soaked location of Antigua.
For the first time since series 13, the show will return with 18 new candidates, all competing to win a life-changing £250,000 investment in their businesses.
The Apprentice returns to BBC One in 2023.
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He was ‘very keen’ for the role, but his offer was taken back.