Bored of the boardroom? The Apprentice loses 1.4m viewers

Returning reality show attracts far fewer viewers than tuned in for last year's launch

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The Apprentice returned to BBC1 last night with 6.4 million viewers, more than a million fewer than tuned in for last year’s launch.

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The business-based reality show’s eighth series kicked off with a 25.9 per cent share of the audience between 9 and 10pm on Wednesday and scored a five-minute peak of 6.8 million, whereas the launch of last year’s seventh season drew an average of 7.8 million viewers, a 30.9 per cent share.

In fact, last night’s launch figures are the lowest for The Apprentice since 2008 when the series opener also only managed to draw 6.4 million viewers.

The show’s highest first-night ratings came in 2009, when 8.1 million people tuned in, a figure that fell to 6.9 million for the 2010 run, perhaps owing to the season’s delay until October following the general election.

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The first episode of the show’s maiden series, which went out in 2007, was seen by 5 million viewers.