When asked about whether he was surprised at contestants‚Äô blunders 14 seasons into the show, Lord Sugar said: ‚ÄúThe program itself is an entertainment program as well as a business program.
‚ÄúThose ‚Äėstupid‚Äô people you‚Äôre talking to run six very successful businesses, one of which has made a million pounds this year, and the others are closely far behind them.‚ÄĚ
He added: ‚ÄúThe process is that we do find a winner in the end and the people try to fight for the position in the early stages, they sometimes say things that sound a bit silly, but they‚Äôre not that daft really.‚ÄĚ
Lord Sugar‚Äôs defence of contestants comes just one week before the broadcast of the first episode of season 14.
Claude Littner agreed with the celebrity entrepreneur, noting: ‚ÄúNot one of them is actually stupid, they‚Äôre all working very very hard, and the tasks ‚Äď you may be watching tv thinking ‚ÄėI can do that‚Äô ‚Äď I assure you, you can‚Äôt.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a lot more complex than you think,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôre really trying hard, and it‚Äôs really difficult when you get a group who don‚Äôt know each other ‚Äď they‚Äôre fighting for a position ‚Äď it‚Äôs much much harder than it looks, believe me.‚ÄĚ
The first episode of the new series sees the budding business moguls sent on a plane to Malta to carry out the item-collection challenge, in which they have to pick up nine specific purchases with a number of barriers in their way.
One mistake made by the boys‚Äô team, who were followed by fellow adviser Karren Brady, included buying a real octopus rather than a piece of diving gear named after the mollusc.
Karren also chimed in and added that sometimes mistakes like this can still be difficult not to giggle at.
‚ÄúI had to step outside when they bought the octopus, because I just thought I would be laughing so much they would know that they were buying the wrong thing.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThey do work hard, they‚Äôre not all stupid,‚ÄĚ she added. ‚ÄúBut they do do some stupid things. I mean, if you actually really thought about it, who would ask for an octopus with a ‚Äėfourteen inch hose‚Äô ‚Äď and think it‚Äôs a real octopus?‚ÄĚ¬†
Karren added that being overly-ambitious and overly-motivated can be a learning curve for contestants early on in the series. ‚ÄúThe problem is they all think they‚Äôre brilliant, they think they‚Äôre the perfect person who‚Äôs going to win, and they‚Äôre full of enthusiasm and energy, but immediately they begin to realise that it is difficult, everything takes a lot more time.‚ÄĚ
Karren said, however, that this willingness to get stuck in is nonetheless impressive: ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs incredible is that literally Alan says to them: ‚Äôthanks very much for coming, here‚Äôs a map, here‚Äôs some euros, go and find me nine items, and off they go.‚ÄĚ
Episode on of the new season of ‚ÄėThe Apprentice‚Äô will air at 9pm on 3rd October, on BBC One.