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The New Series of the BBC’s Young Apprentice Returns, but Are Lord Sugar’s Candidates Compelling?

Posted on the 31 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
The new series of the BBC’s Young Apprentice returns, but are Lord Sugar’s candidates compelling?

Lord Sugar returns. Photo credit: damo1977,

Alan Sugar is back, this time assessing the business skills of twelve teenagers to decide who will win a £25,000 prize. But after seven series of the popular BBC programme, not to mention assorted Comic Relief spin-offs, are we getting Apprentice fatigue? Can the fresh-faced hopefuls of The Young Apprentice reinvigorate the format?

First task for the Young Apprentices: to make and sell “frozen treats”. The girls won.

Love to hate. Writing in The Telegraph, Catherine Gee pointed out that the teenage candidates are showing the same annoying traits as past Apprentice wannabes – but that this is what makes the show compelling: “That’s why we watch, right? To decide which candidate we hate the most,” she said.

Can’t be mean? By contrast, Paul Jones argued at The Radio Times that it feels wrong to be too brutal about the contestants as they’re so young. However, Jones wasn’t exactly impressed with one candidate’s boasting: “I don’t need a 16-year-old to help me feel inadequate, thank you very much, I’m quite capable of doing that on my own,” he wrote.

Teenage kicks. As in past years, the contestants are housed in a luxury mansion. Lisa McGarry said on Unreality TV that she was worried about the consequences of throwing together a group of teenagers in a house: “I honestly felt that at one point they would decide to ditch the whole ice cream task and instead throw a Skins-style house party inviting everyone they knew on Facebook,” she said. Health and safety concerns aside, McGarry felt the teenage tycoons were rather more pleasant than their adult counterparts: “These sixteen and seventeen year olds don’t have much of an agenda and a lot less cynicism,” she said.

Brilliant. Daniella Graham was even more enthusiastic about the teenage candidates at Metro: “If the rest of the series matches up this brilliant opening episode people may start to wonder why we don’t dispense of the adults altogether,” she said.

No growth. Meanwhile, The Huffington Post UK reported that this series of The Young Apprentice saw no improvement in viewing figures on last year – and that it was beaten in the ratings by ITV drama Doc Martin.

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