Lord Sugar calls on the BBC to axe half its staff to save ‘hundreds of millions’ – so they can pay on-screen talent more

6

LORD SUGAR has made a shock call for the BBC to axe half its staff — and pay top stars more.

The straight-talking Apprentice boss reckons his plan would save “hundreds of millions of pounds” which could then be spent on keeping hold of hit shows such as The Great British Bake Off.

 Lord Sugar said The Apprentice's future is in the BBC's hands

Lord Sugar said The Apprentice’s future is in the BBC’s hands

And after revealing last week his ambition to become Auntie’s next Director-General after Tony Hall, he is happy to wield the axe himself.

Lord Sugar told The Sun: “I ­actually think the problem with the BBC is that they don’t pay their ­talent enough.

“They can’t compete now. They don’t overpay for anything, they are restricted by the hierarchy not to be competitive.

“They can’t compete, that’s why they lost The Voice and Bake Off because they wouldn’t pay for the format.

 Lord Sugar aims to keep working like legend Sir Bruce Forsyth

WARNING: Use of this image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures’ Digital Picture
Lord Sugar aims to keep working like legend Sir Bruce Forsyth

“If I ran it I would kick out half of the people who work at the BBC, a lot of the suits there in-house, and keep the workers and shut down a lot of internal bureaucracy.

“It would save hundreds of millions of pounds, and I’d take that money and throw it into the Bake Off and The Voice, compete in the market place and pay presenters what they’re supposed to be paid.

“Then the BBC could come back and be the great broadcaster that it once was.”

Lord Sugar’s controversial ­comments come as the Beeb faces pressure to shave £800million off its payroll, and follow the release of details of salaries paid to top stars.

 The tycoon says the BBC should boot out the 'suits' and pay talent more

PA:Press Association
The tycoon says the BBC should boot out the ‘suits’ and pay talent more

Chris Evans came in as the best-paid when the figures were published in July, on more than £2.2million a year, with other top earners including Gary Lineker, on £1.75million, and Jeremy Vine on £700,000.

Whether or not he gets the chance to make himself comfy at the BBC’s top table, billionaire Lord Sugar is showing no sign of slowing down.

Tonight he is back on the hunt for a new business ­partner in the 13th series of The Apprentice, with trusty advisers Karren Brady, 48, and Claude Littner, 68, at his side.

The tireless tycoon has admitted he would like to follow in the footsteps of Sir Bruce Forsyth, working well into his eighties.

 Sir Alan Sugar has turned down reality television requests from I'm A Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing

Getty – Contributor
Sir Alan Sugar has turned down reality television requests from I’m A Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing

Lord Sugar, 70, said: “The future of The Apprentice is in the hands of the BBC. I’m quite happy doing it, I still feel young, Claude and Karren are great, so the ball is in their court. Absolutely I’d like to keep going the way that Bruce did, although in my own way in business, not necessarily singing and dancing.”

Since the show’s format change in 2011 — Lord Sugar now invests £250,000 into the winning candidate’s business idea rather than give them a job at one of his companies — his passion for the series has not cooled.

But he has no interest in taking part in other shows, having turned down Strictly, I’m A Celebrity and Have I Got News For You.

The peer said: “I don’t really want to do any other programmes. What keeps me coming back is the excitement of having a new business partner and generating a new business.

 Sir Alan Sugar believes Gary Lineker and Chris Evans should be paid a higher salary

Alamy Live News
Sir Alan Sugar believes Gary Lineker and Chris Evans should be paid a higher salary

“All my business partners are doing really well. That’s the exciting thing. I get a lot of enjoyment out of working with people and building up a business from scratch. I’ve been offered Strictly, the jungle, Have I Got News For You, lots of them — but it doesn’t interest me at all. I’m happy to go on Graham Norton, The One Show or even have a row with Piersy [Piers Morgan] on Good Morning Britain.”

Piers won America’s Celebrity Apprentice in 2007, a show then fronted by Donald Trump.

Lord Sugar finds the businessman’s rise from the boardroom to US President and so-called leader of the free world hilarious — though he’s laughing at him, not with him. He said: “I spoke to Trump a long time ago. He’s a character, isn’t he? You’ve got to hand it to him, he’s full of life.

“I find him humorous, although the warmongering between him and Kim Jong-un isn’t very funny.

 Lord Alan Sugar described President Trump as a 'humorous character'

AP:Associated Press
Lord Alan Sugar described President Trump as a ‘humorous character’
Lord Alan Sugar forks out £5,000 to silence ‘arch-enemy’ Piers Morgan

“They’re like kids in the school yard threatening to whack each other with sticks.

“It’s hilarious that every time someone disagrees with him in his cabinet he chucks them out. There was one bloke who lasted a day. It’s unbelievable. It’s like he’s still ­running The Apprentice.”

Lord Sugar is not impressed by fame-hungry candidates, with former hopefuls such as Katie Hopkins, Luisa Zissman, Jessica Cunningham and Karthik Nagesan all ending up in the Celebrity Big Brother house.

He said: “We pride ourselves in weeding out people who are putting themselves forward for The Apprentice for the wrong reasons.

 The Apprentice has had many contestants that have entered the Celebrity Big Brother house like Luisa Zissman

BBC
The Apprentice has had many contestants that have entered the Celebrity Big Brother house like Luisa Zissman

“One of the reasons why The Apprentice is very successful is that there are 18 new personalities and everyone has a different story to tell. But it’s difficult for them in the end, as they get withdrawal symptoms that they’re no longer on TV and people no longer recognise them in the pub. It wears off.

“So the producers of these other programmes look at the characters and grab them afterwards.

“Some of them are quite clever and are insulted by being approached and flatly refuse, but others accept it because they think it’s going to lead to some ongoing media career, which of course it never does. It’s human nature and there’s not many of them. They’re a certain type of person — the loud ones, like Karthik.”

Away from the boardroom, Lord Sugar enjoys watching his beloved Tottenham Hotspur and tweeting along to TV shows, admitting he and wife of 49 years, Ann, are “telly addicts”.

 Lord Alan Sugar says personalities like Karthik's make the show successful

Lord Alan Sugar says personalities like Karthik’s make the show successful

For all her husband’s rants, Ann appears to be the only one who can keep Lord Sugar in check.

He holds her opinion in high regard and often references her on the show. He said: “I think the trick to a long-lasting marriage is putting family first. It’s the culture that we both come from and growing up in the East End of London. My brother has been married for nearly 60 years, my sisters were married for over 50 years. It’s not unusual for us.

“We’re a very close family. We’ve got three children and seven grandchildren and live in a circle among ourselves in Chigwell, Essex.

“Of course, my wife would have liked me to work less over the years, but it’s too late now.

 The Apprentice is back on Wednesday 4 October on BBC1 at 9pm

The Apprentice is back on Wednesday 4 October on BBC1 at 9pm

“I work less now, and with the advent of the internet and email I don’t have to be anywhere, so I can spend four to five months of the year in Florida and still run my business in the same way.”

Lord Alan Sugar feels like a teenager at heart and credits his healthy lifestyle for keeping him energised for his ­business ventures. He said: “I like to think I’m still 18, but my wife keeps telling me I’m not. I like cycling, tennis and flying planes.

One thing Lord Sugar will not give in to is cosmetic surgery, despite probably being able to ­wangle a freebie from 2013 ­Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton, who went on to launch her own clinic in Essex.

He said: “Dr Leah is doing excellently. She is building up a great clientele thanks to my brilliance in making her use the title Dr Leah as her company’s name.

“She wants to get her hands on me and do some work. She would love to do a before and after on my face, but I’ve said, ‘No thanks, it’s just not for me.’ ”

MOST READ IN BIZARRE

SHOCK DEATH

Coronation Street’s Gary Windass killed off in Ukraine explosion

DOCTOR IN THE OPERA

Doctor Foster writer to turn hit BBC show into an epic opera

Return to Enders

Masood Ahmed is set to return to EastEnders one year after quitting show

DAN WOOTTON

D-list divas are ruining celeb interviews as they seek to control what we read

TAKE FLIGHT

Gary Barlow is going solo next year for a string of intimate UK tour dates

TOO CUTE TO BEAR

Cheryl and Liam Payne’s baby Bear is ‘really handsome’, says Nick Grimshaw

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here