Sugar denies asking BBC for better pay deal

'Apprentice' boss Alan Sugar today denied suggestions that he has demanded more money for his starring role in the reality TV show.

Record audiences tuned in to watch Wednesday night's final on BBC1 when milkman's son Lee McQueen was crowned the winner of series four.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that although a fifth series has been commissioned, Sugar said he has not decided what to do after that and has been approached by other broadcasters.

"I am a loyal fellow, but the BBC should be able to pay the market price," he told today's paper. "That said, I will do my utmost to stick with the BBC. Unless, of course, they fire me."

Sugar's comments sparked rumours that he was on the lookout for a better deal.

However, a spokesman for the Amstrad entrepreneur said this was not true and that terms for both series four and five were agreed before last year's series was even filmed.

He added that Sugar has always donated his 'Apprentice' fee to good causes. The main beneficiaries are Great Ormond Street Hospital and Cancer Research UK, according to the spokesman.

He said: "Following recent media speculation around series five of 'The Apprentice', Sir Alan Sugar would like to clarify the situation to avoid further confusion.

"Sir Alan would like to make it clear that the terms for a fifth series of 'The Apprentice' have already been agreed between himself and the BBC and he is not seeking to renegotiate these.

"The terms surrounding Sir Alan's participation in series five of 'The Apprentice' are the same as those for series four and both were agreed at the same time.

"Sir Alan's entire fee for 'The Apprentice' is donated to good causes."

The spokesman would not reveal how much Sugar is paid for appearing on the show.

This year's final was seen by an average of 8.9 million viewers.

In the last five minutes 10.3 million tuned in, while the 15-minute peak - the slot most often used to measure TV viewing - attracted 9.7 million.

The previous record for 'The Apprentice' was 7.5 million viewers for last week's show.

McQueen, 30, was a surprise winner, beating favourite Claire Young to the £100,000 (€126,867) job working for Sugar.

The recruitment sales manager with eight GCSEs and a BTEC diploma was hired despite being caught out for lying on his CV.

McQueen, from Princes Risborough, Bucks, has been given the task of launching a digital advertising product which will come under one of Sugar's "portfolio of companies".

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