The Apprentice star Claude Littner will be absent from the next series of the BBC programme as he recovers from multiple surgeries after a serious accident.

The TV star and businessman, 72, had an accident in April while riding an electric bike around a mile away from his Mill Hill home.

He will now have to learn to walk again after injuring his right leg so badly that he has required nine surgeries to date and doctors initially thought they may have to amputate.

Littner told the PA news agency: "I was just pottering along, I must have been doing no more than 10 kilometres an hour on this sort of two-track road. The next thing I knew, I was on the left hand side of the street, my bike was in the middle of the road and I didn’t know what happened.

"I suspect I hit a pothole or something like that, but I must have blanked out at the moment of impact, because the next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground."

Littner said he thought he would "just get up" and retrieve his bike, but realised upon looking down that he was seriously injured as bone was sticking out of his leg.

He was rushed to the trauma unit at St Mary’s Hospital in an ambulance and says he awoke later to find "some surgeons looking at me and talking but I didn’t really know what they were saying".

The TV star recalled: "My wife and my sons were there as well and they (the doctors) decided they were going to amputate my leg. And then they had another chat about it and they said, ‘Look, let’s get him into theatre right away tonight and let’s see if we can save his leg’. And I went into theatre and it was a very long operation and they didn’t take my leg off."

Following multiple surgeries he has returned home for three weeks before undergoing another operation on July 19.

Times Series: Claude Littner. Credit: PA/BBCClaude Littner. Credit: PA/BBC

The businessman said he has lost two stone since the accident, but said that he is "untouchable mentally" and has "absolute determination" to recover.

Praising the team at St Mary’s as his "saving grace", Littner said his recovery has been aided by the fact that the doctors have "kept me informed, and they’ve been superb at their job".

Former Apprentice winner and entrepreneur Tim Campbell will join Lord Alan Sugar and Baroness Karren Brady in the boardroom in his place when the upcoming BBC series returns in early 2022.

Times Series: Tim Campbell will replace Claude Littner when the upcoming BBC series returns in early 2022. Credit: PA/BBCTim Campbell will replace Claude Littner when the upcoming BBC series returns in early 2022. Credit: PA/BBC