The BBC's controller of entertainment Kate Phillips has insisted that the broadcaster did everything possible to work out a way that The Apprentice could make it to air this year.
The long-running business reality show, hosted by Lord Sugar, was due to film as usual in the Spring but production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the last few months many TV productions have managed to return to filming, including Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off, but the BBC has instead taken the decision to rest The Apprentice for this year.
"That was a really hard call because we all love The Apprentice and it's such a big part of the autumn schedule," Phillips explained at the Edinburgh TV Festival.
"We had long discussion with the production team. They could not have tried harder to make it work, they did so much work on it, but we felt in the end that the compromises that would have to be made to bring it to screen - a lot of things about The Apprentice that people love like running around the streets and grabbing people for testing and all being housed together - we just couldn't do.
"It was that factor, with the increasing costs and having to spend the licence fee responsibly, that we just thought we'd rather bring it back when it can be The Apprentice that everyone knows and loves. So that is paused until next year."
Phillips added that a series of 'best bits' episodes will air on BBC One later this year.