Lord Sugar has revealed that the BBC is "working around the clock" to bring back The Apprentice this year.
The long-running business reality show was cancelled in 2020 due to coronavirus, with Sugar instead travelling to Australia to film The Celebrity Apprentice for a local Aussie broadcaster.
As we previously revealed, the BBC is intending to film a new UK series in July and August, once coronavirus restrictions are expected to have been lifted.
In a statement, Lord Sugar confirmed those plans, saying: "There has been a devastating impact on business throughout the world of late and the economy has taken one hell of a battering recently but over the coming months businesses across the country will be fighting back against this bloody terrible virus as very best they can. It is going to be a huge challenge, make no mistake about that, but it is one I am confident that British business can rise to.
"Speaking of bouncing back, I know that many people will have been disappointed that we weren't able to make a new series of The Apprentice last year, myself included.
"I am pleased to say that there is some good news to share - we are going to be cracking on with a new series of The Apprentice very soon. In fact, the pre-production phase has already begun and plans are coming together to make sure that we are back on air later this year.
"We've got to be real though. We are living in an ever-changing environment right now, where rules and regulations can literally change at the drop of a hat. It's frustrating, but it's reality, and right now we have no choice but to accept it.
"So let me tell you, putting something together that is as complex as The Apprentice means that the production team need to be flexible, but we have one of the best teams in the business working around the clock and I can assure you that they will do their absolute damnedest to get the show back on TV.
"The return of the programme will also show the world that Britain is back on track and open for business once again. It is an exciting prospect indeed."
Applications for the new series remain open until next Monday.