Apprentice 2013 gets straight to the finger point: Hundreds of the thousands tune in just to see Lord Sugar say 'You're Fired!'

 

Forget the preamble, let's get straight to the pointed finger. This appears to be the consensus among viewers of the new series of The Apprentice. This week hundreds of thousands tuned in only to watch the bit when Lord Sugar fires someone, rather than sit through the preceding 55 minutes.

The ninth series, in which the 14 remaining Apprentices compete for investment of £250,000 by the business mogul, has seen the worst audience figures for an opening episode since the programme moved from BBC2 to BBC1 six years ago.

Tuesday night’s episode commanded an average 6 million viewers – but at least 660,000 appear to have watched nothing but the final five minutes of the show in which Lord Sugar jabs his finger at the least impressive Apprentice and utters his trademark “You’re fired!”.

Official BARB overnight ratings show that the episode started with 5.66 million viewers when it started on BBC1 at 9pm. But by 9.55pm the viewership had peaked to 6.32 million.

The average viewing figures for last year’s series was 6.41 million, meaning series nine has lost around 400,000 of its audience.

Historically The Apprentice has been one of the BBC’s highest-rating non-soap programmes. But it has drawn criticism for its formulaic nature, as the Apprentices compete in samey tasks designed to test their business acumen every week.

Producers behind this series have notably chosen contestants with very strong personalities. On Tuesday night the show was responsible for 80 per cent of all TV-related activity on Twitter as viewers responded, often negatively, to the latest crop of contenders.

Lord Sugar said during the first episode that he was “Sick of cliches”, but those hoping to impress him seem only to talk in well-worn platitudes.

Luisa Zissman, 25, retail entrepreneur reveals she has“the energy of a Duracell bunny, sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit, and a brain like Einstein”; marketing man Myles Mordaunt, 39, calls himself “business perfection personified”; while Zeeshaan Shah, 27, property investment CEO takes the hyperbole to a new level with: “I’m a ‘Great’ of my generation. I’m an innovator and a leader in business. I take inspiration from Napolean; I am here to conquer.”

The first episode saw the departure of42-year-old former teacher Jaz Ampaw-Farr; last night Tim Stillwell, 23-year-old Mexican food entrepreneur, left the show. He had embarrassingly drawn attention to himself at the end of the first task by launching into a speech about how Lord Sugar had not seen the best of him. 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas