Move aside reality TV, the ubiquitous talent shows, Come Dine With Me, BBC Breakfast and anything starring Jamie Oliver, there is a new series on screens that trumps you all for sending me into a depressive slump.
Step forward The Young Apprentice, an unwelcome variation on a successful comedy series (sorry, serious search for the next corporate superstar).
Whereas I have long since given up on Grown-up (sic) Apprentice, treating it now as more of a parody of corporate Britain along the lines of The Office, I did harbour high hopes for the kiddie version.
Approaching The Apprentice as a comedy series worked for me, it was a hilarious caricature of “business” even though that clearly wasn’t the intention.
I did not want to do the same with The Young Apprentice, hoping against hope that the crop of enthusiastic teenagers would restore my faith in all things corporate and the Apprentice vehicle itself.
My optimism was wildly misplaced.
Even before the first task started, even before the candidates met with kindly uncle Lord Sugar himself for his usual opening spiel, I was shaking my head in disbelief.
I put my faith in these teenagers to have their feet firmly on the ground, show common sense, inventiveness, a spark of creativity and to show their older, supposedly more mature counterparts in Grown-Up Apprentice what it actually means to be successful in business.
Instead it became depressingly clear that all we have is a collection of Mini-Me Apprentice candidates.
Take any of the more ludicrous candidates from Grown-Up Apprentice over the last few years and their teenage equivalent is taking part in The Young Apprentice.
Last night’s opening episode – creating frozen food products, branding them and selling them – had all the same mind-numbing and misplaced bravado, basic failures, arrogance, ignorance and lack of business sense we’ve come to know and loathe in Grown-Up Apprentice.
It was a bit like a Sixth Form review show – instead of doing Bugsy Malone where the teenagers play adults, they chose to do The Apprentice instead.
But whereas I can laugh off the failings and failures of Grown-Up Apprentice, I can’t do that with The Young Apprentice.
If these candidates do represent the future of business in the UK, then we’re in for a pretty bleak time of it.
Uncle Lord Sugar has a duty to the nation to knock the Mini-Me candidates into shape before it is too late. But that wouldn’t make good telly, would it?
I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to watch any more of The Young Apprentice. I don’t want to spend my Monday evenings sobbing quietly on the sofa.
I might have to wait until Grown-Up Apprentice returns so I can laugh out loud with a clear conscience.
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[…] teenage version closely followed the established format for Grown-Up Apprentice, a major failing that was evident throughout the series. The whole thing felt a wasted […]