As another series of the Young Apprentice dawns, we embrace a new set of mini monsters - 16 year olds with such ferocious determination and egos so over-inflated it makes you ask, “Where did you come from?” From their audition tapes and introductory clips they seem to have gathered an eclectic mix, as seen by the generous handful of upper class toffs, a few country bumpkins, an overachieving head girl who aspires to be like Richard 'Branston' and such charming sentiments as, “no-one intimidates me because I know I'm better than them”.
The contestants’ first project is to produce and sell ice-cream and frozen yoghurt to the general public, but first they are split into boys and girls teams (predictably named ‘Atomic’ and ‘Kinetic’) and are assigning a promising looking Harry H and pickle-loving head girl Hayley as the team leaders.
For the girls, it starts disastrously as they start to make their ice-cream: Hayley works out their potential profit by calculating three multiplied by four as twenty-eight, and afterwards, they are forced to dump a large quantity of their mix down the drain due to not buying enough fruit. The boys fare better with their maths skills, but James' insistence on apple and watermelon frozen yoghurt is questionable.
However, when it gets down to selling, the girls are surprisingly good. Their Child Catcher method of luring children into their corporate money trap with sprinkles and strawberry sauce (before accosting their parents with an extortionate price) seems slightly unethical, and their decision to make people pay for their cones seems an issue for trading standards, but Haya's decision to relocate to the animal show to bully more people shows a good use of business acumen.
The boys, who had a more unlucky position at the beach competing with other ice-cream vendors nearby, seem to treat their customers a little less like prey. The pirate concept of their 'Shiver me timbersss' stall fronted by James as Captain Vanilla works well. When Mahamed's sales technique of cornering people as if he is about to mug them doesn't work, they decide to go along the more unusual route of an ice-cream delivery service along the beach, which is a success, although their apple and watermelon frozen yoghurt sells painfully and unsurprisingly slowly.
When it comes to the boardroom, the backstabbing is out in full force as each contestant tries to impress, accompanied by typical girlish squabbling, disdainful looks from Nick and occasional scripted funnyman comments from Sir 'I'm no Mr. Softy' Alan. The girls win with a considerable margin mainly due to their dodgy trading practices, so the boys are sent on a trip to the infamous Bridge Café.
A heated boardroom follows, with Harry H bringing in James mainly for his poor flavour choice, and Mahamed for his aggressive sales patter. Mahamed seems to suffer an unfortunate case of short-guy-syndrome as he angrily claims credit for everything that he didn't do, which unfortunately conflicts with James' notion. Overall, the right person leaves, although Mahamed's Saturday Night Fever and BacoFoil suits will be sorely missed.
After only one episode there are already some characters to look forward to, including the more bolshy females competing for the title of this year's Zoe Plummer, and a few candidates that seem to have potential, such as the two team leaders, Lewis and Harry M. However, whilst it’s admirable that Alan Sugar has such dedication to helping young people achieve their ambitions, if £708 profit in a day doesn't make you want to quit uni and start selling ice-cream, I don't know what will.
Young Apprentice continues on Monday 9pm, BBC1.