Lord Sugar Fitness is back in the saddle, excited about the new series from The Apprentice and looks as good as ever…if he says it himself!
The billionaire swears by healthy eating and an exercise regimen and scoffs at the idea that he might be tempted to try Botox or any form of plastic surgery.
He says, “Nah. What do I need to do? Look at me, I’m a perfect specimen of a 74-year-old.”
“I am thinking of whitening my teeth a bit because they look a little brown at the moment from drinking too much coffee. But my wife said to me, ‘You can go and buy this stuff at the drugstore and put it in your mouth’ — and I can’t be bothered.”
We pick up the money mogul after he flew from Australia – after a streak of The Apprentice there – to his home in Florida.
Despite only sleeping for an hour, he is eager to talk and overwhelmed with opinions.
Vegetarians get their ear banged, his slick TV friend Piers Morgan gets a reality check, Twitter trolls six get hit – and there’s a solid defense of the BBC’s licensing fee.
But back in health, Lord Sugar of Clapton credits his longevity to work and the good genes of his mother.
“I think it’s my mom,” he says proudly.
“My mom is a very strong lady, physically strong and that is where she comes from.
“I’m keeping fit. I do a lot of cycling, I play a lot of tennis, I moderate my diet – and I follow a low-fat diet.
“I’m not a vegan and all those blood nuts do all that vegan stuff. I just have a balanced, proper diet and tend to watch and make sure I’m not putting on any weight.
“And if I do, I turn it off as fast as I wear it, I think.”
It is this candor that makes Lord Sugar a golden acronym – especially when he despairs of candidates before offering the inevitable: “You’re fired!”
The Apprentice is back on Thursday, with 16 co-workers vying for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment. But in these times where celebrities can find themselves “canceled” by a casual comment or a thoughtless tweet, have they hit the self-editing button on their stinging tongue?
He replies, “I am well aware of saying things in a right and proper way, but in things I do not agree with I will say it as I want to say it.”
“If it is something I do not agree with, I will say what I want to say. In fact, young people encourage me to say more.
“What you have is a lot of trolls on Twitter and places like that, who cling to every word you say.
BBC / Boundless / Ray Burmiston)
And if I told you on Twitter, ‘Would you like to have some nice vanilla ice cream? “Someone will come up to me and say this is racist because vanilla ice cream is white, so why can’t I have chocolate ice cream? So you get idiots like those who will turn the story around and get it off the ground.”
Speaking of which, was he ever tempted to ask TV docks to take the place of junior assistant Claude Leitner?
He exclaims, “Oh my God, are you imagining? I don’t think so. I would have put him under a lot of pressure and he would have ended up with me like he did on ITV.”
“We made up our dispute, but that doesn’t mean we won’t stop criticizing each other for our stupid remarks.
“He thinks he deserves a knighthood, what a joke honestly…”
While assistant Baroness Karen Brady returns to our screens, Claude is missing after sustaining a horrific leg injury in a fall from an electric bike.
He was temporarily replaced by 44-year-old Tim Campbell – the show’s number one winner, back in 2005. Of course, Lord Sugar could have thought of his original friend, former Countdown host Nick Heuer, 77.
But with that in mind, he joked, “It would have been a good idea but I’d have to get him a Zimmer tire to ride with, or one of those scooters.
“Look, it was an inspiring move to get Tim because, unfortunately, Claude had a terrible accident. I had to come up with something and pick up someone who was not only a very nice fluffy – and a very bright villa – but who also sat across from the desk, so it’s better that Be there? He did a very good job.”
Before our meeting, Lord Sugar, a father of three, fiddled with other reporters about appointing future candidates for the task of arranging his funeral. “it was a joke!” say several times.
But is he aware of his own mortality and is he afraid of not achieving everything he wants?
“No,” he says realistically. “Look, a lot of my contemporaries have died, my brother died last year, my sister died two weeks later and they were sick. They were sick and my wife and I — and my family — priority is to stay healthy and that’s what we do.
“We do care about good health. I think a new generation of people needs to do that.
“I’ve said it many times, wealth is my family, my health and this is my wealth – that’s it.”
Speaking of wealth, the BBC has come under fire in recent months from critics seeking to scrap license fees or reduce broadcasting volumes.
Lord Sugar rushes off to defend the company. The license fee for years has ranged around £144 – 12 payments of £12.
But Lord Sugar says it has crept in and it now costs £159 – which is still a great value.
He insists: “The BBC is pretty good at what it does. It costs license fee holders £12 a month. It’s exceptional value for money.”
“Consider what you pay for your internet connection, consider what you pay for your mobile phone. If you work for the BBC and you are Head of the BBC I would advocate committing up to £20 a month. They are under tremendous pressure to try Produce programs within their budgets and I’m really annoyed with the people who criticize them.
“The people who criticize them don’t know what they are talking about half the time because the prices and costs of everything are skyrocketing – yet they have to put these programs where the costs are going up.
“I have great sympathy for them and say raise the price. It should be £200 a year.”
Karen husband’s “menopause nightmare”
Trainee assistant Karen Brady thinks her husband thinks she’s a “nightmare” since she started menopause.
Karen said that her symptoms started after she finished filming the current series.
“I have a terrible memory of menopause,” says the 52-year-old West Ham boss, who is married to ex-footballer Paul Bichisolido.
“I started it after we finished filming so it didn’t really have any effect and then I started on that, other than hot flashes and forgetting about the occasional stuff, I’m fine at the moment.
Work photos via Reuters)
“But I suspect it will get a lot worse before it gets better.
“My husband will tell you I was a nightmare, but I think I’m fine!”
Karen believes major companies need to support women during menopause. She also revealed that she will be leaving The Apprentice when Lord Alan Sugar does.
“When Alan steps down, I will be stepping down, but for now, we’re in it together.”
- The Apprentice Program on BBC1, 9pm, Thursday