Last Night's TV: Junior Apprentice, BBC1
Cracking Antiques, BBC2

It's The Apprentice, but not quite as we know it. For one thing, Surallen has gone – that terrified smear of an honorific rendered obsolete by last year's ennoblement. It's Lord Sugar now, which doesn't have the same ring to it at all, though it did provide for one unintentional moment of comedy in last night's opener, when a prospective firee fell over himself trying to make the depths of his humility clear: "No no... definitely not Sir... Lord," he stammered, making Sugar sound like a wrathful Jahweh, putting in an appearance to smite the unprofitable. For another thing, all the contestants in Junior Apprentice are teenagers, which leaves the avid viewer in something of a conscience trap when it comes to gleeful loathing. Half the pleasure of The Apprentice has always been comeuppance – the certifiable ego-pump of the opening few minutes stirring in us a desire for public humiliation. Do we want to see teenagers cry, though? And even if we do (don't judge me till you've seen them in action), won't our self-indulgence leave a slightly sour taste behind it?

They certainly appear to have grasped the basic principles of Apprentice participation, which is to oversell and under deliver. "I pretty much do anything to win... I even cheat on board games to win," said one of them, in the Sociopaths Parade that traditionally opens a new series. "I'm ruthless in business," said another, a dapper Irish toff called Jordan. "If somebody is there that I don't need in my company they're gone. It's as simple as that." Jordan, to put it mildly, doesn't suffer from self-esteem issues, but then I don't suppose the shy boys got very far through the selection process. Arjun, who loves maths, is also confident about his people skills: "From a very early age, I've learned how to mirror people and how to charm them without them learning my ulterior motives," he explained cheerfully, a Star in Psychological Manipulation clearly tucked away there among his top percentile GCSE results. If it was a competition to look insufferably precocious, then Jordan had some stiff competition.

The first challenge was to sell £500 worth of cheese, hitting a London street market to unload as much smoked mozzarella and Stinking Bishop as was possible by the end of the day. The girls, as is traditional, began with the task of deciding who they hated most and working out how to show it. The boys, equally true to type, created a pumped-up sense of matey camaraderie that you knew was doomed to shatter at the first sign of trouble, which came about an hour in, as they flapped around their market stall trying to sort their goudas from their stiltons. Across town in Covent Garden, the girls had deployed their secret weapon – Zoe. Or rather Zoe had deployed herself – her experience of flogging vintage schmutter on Greenwich Market giving her a certain sassy assurance when it came to whipping up sales. "She has a commanding presence," said Nick, giving the adjective a little edge of ambiguity. Zoe's project manager, Hibah, a bit put out by how successful her "employee" was proving, went off to have a little weep round the back.

Thanks largely to Zoe's flirtatious hard sell the boys tanked – a late attempt at pavement selling delivered only mixed returns ("Are you a fan of fresh cheese?" ran one fine pitch line) and their success in persuading a bemused-looking restaurateur to buy £400 of prime cheese for just £250 effectively killed off any hope of a profit. In the end, they lost £210 of the Lord's money, which, as regular viewers will know, he careth not for. Happily, justice was done in the end. Jordan (the one who had boasted about his ruthlessness) got the stubby finger, though in deference to his youth – and the liquid trembling of his eyes – Lord Sugar coated the pill with a lot more kind words than he usually employs. And in another departure from protocol, the firee gets to ride off into the sunset in the Sugar Roller, rather than a black cab, though when its owner learns what Jordan was saying in it, I think he may regret his generosity. "Give it five years, I can be just as successful, if not more successful, than Lord Sugar," he said. There's nothing like learning from your mistakes.

Cracking Antiques – a handy little programme for the austerity years – is a hymn to the pleasures of the flea market and auction room. It's essentially a makeover show in which someone's living room is first done up with high-street furniture and then all over again – for a fraction of the cost – with stuff from the cheap-and-cheerful end of the antiques trade. In between times, an antiques expert called Mark Hill – something of a precious object himself, with his elaborately scrolled eyebrows and Biedermeier cheekbones – informs us about sections of the knick-knack market that are currently seriously underpriced. Last night, he and his co-presenter were rustling up a mid-century modern look, which meant a lot of Ercol furniture, Swedish built-in cabinets and a Seventies sideboard given "a bit of a zhuzh" with paint and a bit of pinstripe fabric. And whereas the high-street version of this look would have set them back £11,507, the pre-owned way of doing it only cost them £2,552. The result looked horrible to me, but I think Lord Sugar would have approved of their tight control of capital expenditure.

t.sutcliffe@independent.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
TV
News
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
art
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

music
Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

music
Arts and Entertainment
Look out: Broad shoulders take Idris Elba’s DCI John Luther a long way
tvIdris Elba will appear in two special episodes for the BBC next year
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.

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?