'The Apprentice' 2020 axed due to lockdown restrictions

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Baroness Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner will have a year off from the boardroom of The Apprentice. (BBC/PA)

Coronavirus

The BBC is to axe The Apprentice 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Producers have decided delays to the schedule due to lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules required for filming mean the business reality show cannot go ahead.

 A BBC spokesman confirmed: “Sadly we have decided to postpone The Apprentice for 2020.

"Production safety and the wellbeing of everyone involved in the show is our number one priority.”

During filming for The Apprentice, in which aspiring entrepreneurs compete for a business partnership with Lord Sugar, contestants live in a house together.

They are often challenged to take part in tasks based around hospitality and customer service that involve interacting with members of the public.

Read more: 'Apprentice' star Claude Littner tells nurse to get a second job to make ends meet

Lord Alan Sugar has presided over the boardroom of The Apprentice for 15 years. (Getty Images)

It will be the first year since The Apprentice began in 2005 that it will not air.

Instead the BBC will air highlights from the past 15 series. The show has also spawned spinoffs, including four charity series featuring celebrity candidates, and Young Apprentice, which ran for three series between 2010 and 2012.

The BBC added: “While this is understandably disappointing news, viewers will still be able to get their weekly fix of memorable tasks, favourite candidates and boardroom bust-ups alongside brand-new insights from Karren [Baroness Brady], Claude [Littner], Lord Sugar and many more from the past 15 years in a special highlights series airing on BBC1.”

Sugar, 73, has not yet commented on the news, but he did take the opportunity to plug the recruitment company run by 2012 winner Ricky Martin.

Read more: Fired Apprentice candidate accuses producers of 'ignorant racism'

The 2019 series was won by artisan bakery owner Carina Lepore. The series also featured controversial candidate Lottie Lion, who was accused of racism.