The Apprentice is down nearly a million viewers on last year’s series opener

The search for Lord Sugar's next Apprentice wasn't quite as popular as an appointment with Doc Martin

Alan Karren Claude Apprentice

BBC’s The Apprentice recorded a loss in its first task of 2017, as the series premiered to 4.64 million viewers – that’s around 900,000 less than last year .

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5.54 million people tuned in overnight for the first episode of The Apprentice in 2016, down from 6.35 million in 2015 and 6.65 million viewers for the 2014 premiere.

While Lord Sugar’s newest recruits were attempting to push burgers to punters on the streets of London in the series opener, Martin Clunes’ Doc Martin was having better luck over on ITV, where the drama won the 9pm slot.

4.73 million viewers tuned in to watch the good doctor feeling a bit put out in episode three of the current series. The GP wasn’t best pleased when he heard a voicemail left for his wife, Louisa, inviting her to interview for a place on a child and adolescent counselling course.

BBC2’s documentary The Detectives – following the Greater Manchester Police investigation into the disappearance and murder of Darren McMinn this week – was watched by 1.36 million viewers.

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And Kevin McCloud examined plans for a Roman-inspired home in the protected lands surrounding one of Britain’s most historic abbeys in Hertfordshire on Channel 4’s Grand Designs, which drew in 1.29 million viewers.