Lord Sugar says that The Apprentice candidates aren't as daft as they may sometimes seem.
This year’s series sees sixteen budding entrepreneurs put through their paces by business heavyweight Lord Sugar as the search for his next business partner begins.
Baroness Brady and Claude Littner resume duties as Lord Sugar’s trusted advisors and his ‘eyes and ears’ on the tasks, reporting back on the candidates’ every decision in the boardroom.
Over the years, The Apprentice has become known for its blundering contestants but Lord Sugar says they're a lot more smart than viewers give them credit for.
"The whole point of the process is that you do find a winner in the end," he said. "The people try to fight for their position in the early stages, they say some things which sound a bit silly, but they're not that daft really."
Speaking at the launch of the new series, Claude added: "Can I also interject here and just say, not one of them is actually stupid."
He explained: "They're all working very, very hard, and the tasks - you may be watching the TV thinking 'I can do that', I assure you, you can't.
"It's a lot more complex than you think. And they're really trying hard, and it's very, very difficult.
"You get a group, they don't know each other, they're fighting for a position - it's much, much harder than it looks, believe me."
Lord Sugar also responded to claims that some contestants only apply to become famous.
He confessed: "I do worry a lot. In the selection process, sometimes I worry that people are there for the wrong reasons. And if I do come across them, they don't tend to last too long, let's put it that way.
"Having said that, a lot of the contestants come with the intention of winning the prize and getting the job.
"And what happens is they get fired, and there's that kind of withdrawal symptom after the show ends, where they're not spotted in Tesco anymore.
"They then want to do something else, because they got a flavour of being on TV.
"And I have to say, with the exception of only one that I can recall, that they don't get very far. They get used as dummies in quiz shows in things like that and get made fools of, and then fall away."