When does The Apprentice 2017 start on the BBC, who’s in the line-up and who else is on board with Alan Sugar?

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THE Apprentice is the BBC’s business-based reality show where candidates battle it out for Lord Sugar’s approval – and, more importantly, his money.

And now the 2017 series is nearly upon us – here’s everything we know about the new show…

 Alan Sugar is back with a band of new recruits

BBC Pictures
Alan Sugar is back with a band of new recruits

What is The Apprentice and when is it back on BBC One?

The Apprentice is a hit BBC reality show, now about to enter its thirteenth series, featuring hour-long episodes.

Each series of the programme aims to find a new apprentice for billionaire business mogul and Amstrad founder Lord Alan Sugar, who’s worth £1.4bn.

It aims to recreate the toughest of business environments and tasks for its set of contestants, but it is often very funny due to the incompetence and arrogance of the competitors.

The show began in 2005 and has a US equivalent that kicked off in 2004, with Donald Trump in Lord Alan’s equivalent role.

There are celebrity and junior versions of the UK show, too.

The Apprentice will return tomorrow on October 4 at 9pm on BBC One.

 Alan Sugar is joined by Karren Brady and Claude Littner

BBC Pictures
Alan Sugar is joined by Karren Brady and Claude Littner

How does The Apprentice work and who has won it recently?

Each series of The Apprentice begins with ten contestants – five men and five women, claiming to be the cream of entrepreneurial talent – being shoved into a posh house in London.

Then once a week they are woken up early, sent to a mystery location and split into two teams, with one of Lord Sugar’s aids spying on each.

The teams are given identical tasks and must assign a team leader and other roles before getting down to work.

As the teams compete against each other to see who can, usually, make the most dough, weaknesses inevitably appear in the teams’ infrastructures.

Sometimes their tasks last a day, sometimes they last longer – all we know is that at the end, one of the contestants from the losing team “will get fired.”

The episodes culminate in a nail-biting boardroom meeting, with Lord Sugar and his aids announcing the winning team, who are sent off to enjoy a prize.

After a tough discussion with the losing gang, Lord Sugar tells the team leader to bring back two people to the boardroom, and at least one of those three ends up getting sent home in a black cab.

“Fired” contestants are brought back to help in the final tasks.

The overall series winner is the contestant who survives until the end – and impresses Lord Sugar with their business idea.

Before the competitors reach that stage they must have a terrifying job interview with business experts, who pick their CVs apart like a plate of nachos.

The most recent winners have been Alana Spencer, Joseph Valente, Mark Wright, Leah Totton and Ricky Martin.

 The new contestants will be put through their paces

BBC Pictures
The new contestants will be put through their paces

Who is on the show’s board with Lord Sugar?

Lord Sugar needs “ears and eyes” on the ground during each week’s tasks.

He used to be helped by silver-tongued Nick Hewer and uber-shrewd Margaret Mountford.

But after legal aid Margaret left in 2009, West Ham CEO Karren Brady took over the role.

Then, in 2014, PR guru Nick left The Apprentice, and Claude Littner stepped into replace him after years acting as one of the official interviewers during the CV round.

This year, Karren and Claude will both return to the show to spot exactly who’s not pulling their socks up in the weekly tasks.

Who are the 2017 The Apprentice contestants?

The following people have been selected as the new contestants for this series:

Karen Brady looks baffled as The Apprentice candidates try to sell headphones

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