After fans criticised The Apprentice, Lord Alan Sugar promised to address and alter a crucial aspect of the long-running series.
Last year, viewers lambasted the business-style reality game show, accusing Lord Sugar and his advisors of ‘bullying’ competitors.
In one especially stressful episode, Marnie Swindells, who went on to win the series, Rochelle Anthony, Dani Donovan, Victoria Goulbourne, and Megan Horny were interviewed about their business concepts by Claude Littner, Linda Plant, Mike Souter, and Baroness Karren Brady.
However, the advisers were chastised for their activities during the contentious event in which the candidate’s business ideas were shredded by experts.
Megan had an especially difficult day, as Karren informed her that her internet sweet company was ‘crazy as it gets’ and had ‘no depth or substance’.
When Megan thanked Karren for the interview, the entrepreneur said, ‘It’s Baroness Brady to you; my friends call me Karren.’
Soon later, Lord Sugar announced that he had ordered a revision to the series, which premiered in 2005, after being dissatisfied with what he had seen.
After fans criticised the way the experts reacted to the participants, Lord Sugar confessed that an employee would not have been treated in the same manner in a real-life business environment.
‘I agree. I think we need to tone that down a bit. I found it hard to watch,’ he said in an interview with The Times.
‘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”.’
The following season, which begins this week, is expected to be far less savage after Lord Sugar stated that what happened was not ‘entertaining’.
‘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 agree with you. I’ve told them now. Believe me, it won’t be happening again,’ he added when speaking to the publication.
At the time, one spectator accused the advisers of ‘bullying the finalists’, while others vowed to boycott the show following the ‘nasty’ interviews.
However, Lord Sugar said Karren insisted she had been edited to look ‘hard’ and accused the production firm for making things appear worse than they were.
He went on to explain that the production firm ‘primarily wanted to deal with boom, bang, bang moments’.
At the time, a series spokesman stated that the interviews round was’more than simply a typical interview’.
‘Its purpose is to help determine whose business plan has the potential to secure the £250k investment,’ they said.
‘As such, every detail must be thoroughly scrutinised and advisors will at times need to ask difficult questions.’
They went on to say the stakes were ‘high’ for candidates and ‘emotions do run high as they want to secure a place in the final’.
This season’s contenders have a chance to walk away with a £250,000 investment, including a failed Dragons’ Den star, two pie gurus, a 00s one-hit wonder, and a body popper from Britain’s Got Talent.
The Apprentice returns on Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.