This week sees the final five in BBC’s The Apprentice face the dreaded interview task, where their business plan will be put through the ringer by Lord Alan Sugar’s trusted advisors.

However, it is expected to be a different process than usual this year, following backlash to last year’s episode.

Lord Sugar has ordered The Apprentice to “tone down” its interview round in future series, after finding the episode “hard” to watch.

The BBC business reality show faced criticism this year when the contestants were reduced to tears after their gruelling grilling from Claude Littner, Mike Soutar, Linda Plant and Baroness Karren Brady.

Lord Sugar admitted he agreed with the backlash in an interview with The Times Magazine, saying: “I think we need to tone that down a bit. I found it hard to watch. Unfortunately, when that was recorded I wasn’t there.

"Anyway, I’m not making any excuses. When I saw it in the end I thought this is too harsh, and we’re going to tone it down now.

“I don’t think it’s entertaining. It used to be entertaining. All the previous boardroom [episode] 11s were entertaining. This one was very harsh.

“I’ve told them now. Believe me, it won’t be happening again.”

The final five candidates remaining on The Apprentice, who will take on the interview round are:

  • Flo Edwards
  • Dr Paul Midha
  • Phil Turner
  • Rachel Woolford
  • Tre Lowe

The Apprentice interviewers

The final five Apprentice candidates will be interviewed by some of Lord Sugar’s closest advisers in the penultimate episode of The Apprentice 2024. 

The interviews as part of next Thursday's (April 11) challenge on The Apprentice will be conducted by business experts:

  • Claude Littner
  • Mike Soutar
  • Linda Plant
  • Claudine Collins

Each of the candidates' business plans will be interrogated, CVs picked apart and white lies exposed as they battle it out to make the final in the hope of securing Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.

You can catch all the action on The Apprentice next Thursday (April 11) on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 9pm.