GE­ORGE MICHAEL: FREE­DOM ‘Film­ing is ex­haust­ing, but I’m still alive!’

Lord Sugar’s right-hand man Claude Littner, 68, has his “eyes and ears on the ground”…

Closer (UK) - - What to Watch - By Han­nah Wright

EV­ERY­ONE WATCH THIS MON 16 OCT, 9PM, C4 On Christ­mas Day 2016, the na­tion lost one of its great­est su­per­stars – singer Ge­orge Michael. He was only 53, and just a few days ear­lier had been putting the fin­ish­ing touches to this film about his life. From celeb pals fondly re­mem­ber­ing a dear friend to clas­sic TOTP footage and a re­minder of his ace tunes; this is doc­u­men­tary-mak­ing at its very best.

Have you been en­joy­ing your­self film­ing this year’s Ap­pren­tice? I’ve en­joyed this year more than I have the last two [Claude filled Nick Hewer’s shoes as Lord Sugar’s ad­vi­sor in 2015] be­cause I feel more con­fi­dent of what is ex­pected of me. I won’t say this se­ries was re­lax­ing, but I felt I was feed­ing Alan Sugar the right sort of in­for­ma­tion.

Did you have a favourite task?

We went to Bruges, which vis­ually is a su­per episode. Did I sam­ple any Bel­gium choco­late? In the spirit of try­ing to gain more fac­tual in­for­ma­tion for The Ap­pren­tice, I did con­sume some. But not for plea­sure pur­poses – I want to make that quite clear…

The film­ing days are long though, right? I wish you hadn’t men­tioned that; we were do­ing so well! I’ve just about got over the trauma that my body has suf­fered af­ter get­ting up at 4am and wan­der­ing around un­til late at night. It’s not a joy­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. There is a phys­i­cal de­mand of get­ting up very early, day af­ter day, and be­ing alert and at­ten­tive to ev­ery­thing the Ap­pren­tices are do­ing and say­ing so I can re­port back.

How do you get through it?

It’s daunt­ing at the be­gin­ning, but it kind of moves along at a nice pace so you find that you’re get­ting through it – and I’m still alive! Though what hap­pens is, you’re wo­ken at 4am, you get to the venue for 5am – and then noth­ing re­ally hap­pens un­til 6am. I could’ve had an ex­tra hour in bed! But it’s TV, and things don’t al­ways work seam­lessly.

How do you man­age to look sprightly on cam­era? Look, I’ve got youth on my side so there you are. I’ve got a won­der­ful com­plex­ion and won­der­ful skin – even though I say so my­self. At my age, I should be a lot more wrin­kled than I am, and I don’t even mois­turise. I just shave in the morn­ing and hope for the best.

What’s the first thing you do af­ter a long day’s film­ing? There al­most isn’t time to wind down. When I do get home I’m nor­mally hun­gry but I’m too tired to eat. I’ve got to make sure that Alan Sugar is happy that I’ve sent him all my notes from the day be­cause that’s some­thing he is ab­so­lutely pas­sion­ate about. He’s try­ing to live vi­car­i­ously through what Kar­ren [Brady] and I are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing on the ground, so it’s only when I’ve made ab­so­lutely sure that I’ve got noth­ing left to say that I get in the bath, feel­ing tired and dirty from the day – and then I go straight to bed be­cause I’m ab­so­lutely knack­ered.

What would be your per­fect week­end? Well, I’m not sure I ever get a per­fect week­end but I’ve got chil­dren and grand­chil­dren so it is a de­light and thrill to be with them for a lim­ited time ev­ery week – be­cause I haven’t got the en­ergy to keep up with them. They’re aged seven, six and four, and I’ve also got four-month-old twins. I’m ab­so­lutely lov­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing with them, and I also love be­ing with my wife, go­ing on hol­i­day – those sorts of things. Be­ing on The Ap­pren­tice is also one of the things that gives me plea­sure. I’m in a very for­tu­nate po­si­tion and I re­alise how lucky I am…

A stern Claude on the job...

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