Junior Apprentice, BBC1
Derren Brown Investigates, Channel 4

Teenage entrepreneurs show you're never too young to get swept away in cocky self-delusion

Of all the devices we use to get through the day, there are few simpler and more effective than the little lies we tell ourselves. Take the act of watching TV.

We tune into shows such as Britain's Got Talent or The X Factor auditions telling ourselves we want to witness the moment the next Susan Boyle appears, when the truth is the bits we enjoy most are the scenes of sweet self-delusion as another hopeful for the slipped crown of Whitney Houston turns out to have a singing voice that sounds like rutting foxes.

They were all at it in the first episode of Junior Apprentice. It's in the nature of the show to talk yourself up as being able to "literally" give 110 per cent to achieve your goals moving forward etc, but while blind belief and misplaced confidence form the backbone of many a successful businessperson, this lot are 16 and 17 years old. Remember those years? Don't know about you, but I spent them sitting in my black bedroom listening to the Doors.

Not to be deterred by any association with ugly reality, this lot took to their first task with aplomb. But while the cheesemakers may very well be blessed, it was clear from the off that the teenaged cheese-sellers – who had to shift 500 quid's worth of the stuff at a London market of their choice – were not. The girls' team, led by the reluctant Hibah Ansary, 16, headed for Covent Garden where it soon became clear who was really in charge. Zoe Plummer, also 16, had already told us about her "commanding presence", and as soon as Team Revolution hit the stall she put words into action, charming passers-by with her "You look like a cheesy kind of fella" patter.

The boys' team, on the other hand, was struggling. Led by the hapless Jordan De Courcy, this was not so much a ship without a rudder as a ship without a hull. Largely missing the window of opportunity to sell to City workers on their lunch break at Whitecross Street Market, the team turned on each other before blaming the wind.

De Courcy had already caught the eye, telling us, without a hint of doubt: "I think I'll definitely win this; after meeting the competition, a lot of them seem to have experience that, to be honest, wouldn't match mine." Quite what that experience might be is less clear. He told the other candidates that he was already CEO of his own company specialising in consumer electronics, while the BBC website has him down as running a juice bar in Dublin while working on a range of skincare products.

A softer, more caring Alan Sugar gave De Courcy his marching orders. Not to be deterred, the Bacofoil-suited one was driven away, saying: "Give it five years and I can be just as successful, if not more successful, than Lord Sugar." And given that level of self-belief/delusion, he probably will.

After the show, a friend quickly and astutely pointed out on Facebook that what Junior Apprentice most resembles is Bugsy Malone. As the contestants battle it out over the coming weeks, you can choose your own Dandy Dan, Bugsy, Baby Face and Blousey Brown. But one thing's for sure: Zoe's got the Tallulah in the bag. Watch out for that hug with the gaze straight to camera. It's the look that says: "See, I'm a caring, nice person." The truth will, no doubt, be revealed.

Not that the truth is always clear-cut. In another new series worthy of attention, the "psychological illusionist" Derren Brown set out to discover if the claims made by people with "supernatural" powers can be shown to be real on camera. But for all the talk of open minds and its title of Derren Brown Investigates, we know what our man is really after: to expose the frauds and hucksters who prey on the vulnerable and susceptible.

First up was Liverpool's Joe Power, "The Man Who Sees Dead People". Power scored a few "hits" on a woman who turned out to be his sister's neighbour, before failing dismally to contact any deceased relatives of a woman chosen by the production company. At both "readings", he escaped suspiciously to the upstairs toilet before uttering a word, a fact the programme-makers failed to capitalise on.

When Brown revealed some techniques of "cold reading", things got a little chilly. "Are you a fake?" he asked Power. "No, I'm 100 per cent not a fake," Power replied, adding, "I look you 100 per cent in the eyes and tell you what I do is 100 per cent real."

Does Power really believe he talks to dead people? Perhaps he (100 per cent) does. His website this week says: "I do not ask you to believe what I do is true. My gift provides a lot of people with a certain amount of comfort and happiness."

Comfort, happiness and a little bit of self-delusion. Whatever gets you through the day.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Caral Barat of The Libertines performs on stage at British Summer Time Festival at Hyde Park

music
Arts and Entertainment
Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea perform on stage at the Billboard Music Awards 2014

music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice