TV Overnights: Lord Sugar starts them young
If you sat through the last series of The Apprentice wondering what could be more soul destroying than watching a group of highly vocal, self-righteousness, blindly confident, know-it-all, joyless idiots - then wonder no more. Last night, BBC One provided that answer.
The third series of Young Apprentice (8pm) offered up the exact same format as its sibling show, apart from the blood-chilling fact that all the candidates are aged 16 to 17. Because we all want the future of this country to behave like Ruth Badger.
The show, a sneerfest comedy for some, a blueprint of professional life for others, saw the young hopefuls divided by gender and sanctioned with new team names. Thankfully, they were as cringe inducing as ever. Odyssey and Platinum (both sounding like available suites in a brothel) were tasked with rummaging through discarded clothes and turning them in to a profit.
The boys of Odyssey got off to a strong start as team leader Patrick had plenty of experience in the fashion industry (as much as a 17 year old can, I guess). Despite Patrick's valuable involvement with the industry (through a summer job in Topman, presumably?), it was Platinum that heralded the biggest profit in the end. Proving girls know about clothes and stuff.
3.7 million viewers tuned in for the first round of precocious nonsensical sound biting. An average audience share of 16% watched as Max, a fine academic but a useless people person, got turfed out on to the cold unforgiving austerity riddled streets.
The young whipper snappers were up against an over-abundance of Emmerdale programming over on ITV1. The first visit to the Dales had the little matter of Carl's funeral to deal with. 7 million viewers tuned in at 7pm, with a 33% audience share.
EastEnders (7:30pm) followed on BBC One and Lola was getting anxious about losing baby Lexi. After weeks of saying no, Sharon performed one of her 180 degree turnarounds and finally agreed to pretend to be Phil's fiancé in the residency application. The ongoing drama brought in 7.2 million viewers (a 33% share), securing the biggest audience of the night for BBC One.
The second episode of Emmerdale at 8pm saw the audience drop slightly but still managed to attract 6.8 million viewers. The 29% share was enough to beat the first half of Young Apprentice on BBC One. Emmerdale at 40 (ITV1, 8:30pm) had a nostalgic look back at the many, many crimes to take place in the sleepy village.
Among the pleasant memories we saw - Kim Tate coming back from the dead and watching her husband die in front of her, Patsy Kensit faking her own death by recreating a shotgun blast to the chest with lots of ketchup and bigamous Mark Wylde get his comeuppance in the woods. The clip show pulled in 3.5 million viewers and a 16 % audience share.
For the final time at 9pm, tough espionage drama Hunted (BBC One) squared off against Homefront (ITV1) with the military wives putting up one last fight. The fifth episode of the BBC's high octane chase show saw amnesiac Sam get in to a few more fights and string us along with promises of plot reveals. The latest episode saw the series' ratings fall once again with last night's hour of confusion attracting 3 million viewers and a 14% share.
The final episode of Homefront saw the audience jump up by half a million viewers, week on week. 2.5 million people tuned in to see the various stories tie up, netting an 11% share.
Meanwhile, it was time for the random documentary generator over on Channel 4. Last night we got The Human Mannequin (9pm), an unusually risky title given that it takes more than two seconds to figure out what it's all about.
2 million viewers watched the tale of teenager Louise, who wants to break in to fashion. Unfortunately for Louise she has a condition that slowly turns her muscles in to bone. At this stage it wouldn't be too far-fetched to assume they come up with the title first, then they find some poor soul to stretch it out for an hour. The documentary pulled in channel 4's biggest audience of the day and a 9% share.
Overnight data is available each morning in mediatel.co.uk's TV Database, with all BARB registered subscribers able to view reports for terrestrial networks and key multi-channel stations.