Preview: Young Apprentice

The candidates aren't quite as easy to make fun of but Apprentice fans will still enjoy this junior spin-off

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So the formerly Junior entrepreneurs are now merely Young. There’s no longer the suggestion of primary school children swamped by over-sized suits or clopping around in mum’s high heels. Is this a signal that they’re now fair game – that we’re free to lay into them in the same way we do their slightly more grown-up counterparts?

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Somehow it doesn’t seem quite right to be so brutal about 16- and 17-year-olds who are still selling themselves on the basis that they got eight A stars at GCSE (clearly, I’d like to be able to say the same – but I’d be cool and nonchalant about it, maybe accidentally leave a few certificates lying about the place, you know, not go on about it).

There’s material here, of course. The GCSE-boasting girls team, for instance, turn out not to be able to do basic maths. And if you were desperate, you could make fun of the fact that they’re such overachievers…

I immediately resent one girl who tells us “Everybody has dreams but there’s a difference between the people who lie in their bed at night dreaming of all that they could do and the people who start doing the work so that they can live that dream.” 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.

Ditto the boy who has already run three businesses and sold one for a massive profit. I mean, I could have done that at his age, I was just too busy being scared of everything.

Mostly though, it’s a lot easier to feel sympathetic towards young people making a mess of business than it is adults.

That negative aside, Young Apprentice looks like having most of the fun of the main show. There are the same stupid mistakes, the same silly costumes and the same pretentious team names (surely both of those chosen tonight have already featured in the main show in the past?).

There’s Nick Hewer’s trademark gurning, Karren Brady’s uptight hair and Lord Sugar’s puns. This week it’s that Apprentice stalwart, the ice-cream task. Cue Uncle Alan with “Forget Ben and Jerry, this is more like Tom and Jerry” and “You’re gonna find out I’m no Mr Softie.”

All in all, this could be an entertaining way to bridge the gap until the next Apprentice proper. Yes, we may have to be a little less damning in our criticisms of the candidates. Then again, who among us couldn’t stand to learn a little humility? 

Just kidding – next year’s Apprentice candidates are toast!

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Tune in to Young Apprentice tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.