THAT great philosopher and scholar Whitney Houston once sang: “I believe the children are our future.”

Based on the latest evidence from BBC1, let’s hope for the sake of mankind she was much mistaken.

Because, fighting tooth and nail for £25,000 from Lord Sugar, a dozen of the backstabbing little blighters have put on their oversized Burton suits and assembled for the third and final series of Young Apprentice.

Voiceover man casually describes them as: “Britain’s youngest aspiring entrepreneurs.”

They’re Britain’s youngest uninspiring bozos, to be more accurate, who think launderette tumble dryers are washing machines, treat good advice as a personal attack, and were last night challenged to produce a cookbook, with disastrous results.

Team Odyssey’s postfeminism handbook for Amsterdam window girls, I think, titled: The Professional Woman: Fresh, Quick and Easy, that offends men and women in equal measure was narrowly beaten by Team Platinum’s typopacked comic that will “probably give you food poisoning”.

That’s about this year’s standard.

But if I’m honest, two episodes in, it’s the best junior line-up this show has had.

Sugar has delivered some great lines, like his dismissal of camp fashion designer Patrick’s scuba diver/kimono combo: “What’s this for? A cocktail party on the Titanic?”

And Nick Hewer attempting to understand the concept of “this hashtag business”, being told by spotty Steven: “If you hashtag a word or phrase then that will start to trend,” left him chewing his pen, none the wiser.

But all this is not enough. Young Apprentice is fundamentally flawed, a fact the BBC realised and axed it. The show belongs anywhere but a midweek primetime slot, which the kiddie version of MasterChef, on CBBC, readily acknowledges.

In his opening address, His Sugarness, a fearsome, ball-busting, bladdy beast on the brilliant adult series, told the teens: “You don’t want to make me angry,” like he’s The Incredible Sulk.

But Sugar is inescapably impotent here, having to take it easier on the youngsters, and so has all the intimidation of a half-empty packet of Werther’s Originals.

The fact he’s suddenly changed the age at which he started his own business (17 now, not 16, apparently) also doesn’t add up.

But, while we’re at it, we may as well play along one last time and check out the radar-registering candidates who, as of week one’s firing, no longer include the most promising character of all, clothes folder Maximilian Joseph Antony Semasko Grodecki who talks like a University Challenge contestant buzzing in too early and “enjoys the pre-Socratics philosophers”.

As do we all, Max.

Weak-minded Sean looks like a Grange Hill character who got lost on the Hogwarts Express.

Arrogant David boasts: “I’m academic, I’m social, I’m economical, I’m philosophical, everything you can think of, I am.”

Oh, I don’t dispute it, Davey boy. I can think of a lot.

Patrick pitches for business like a Church of England vicar giving a eulogy at the funeral of Betty, 89, from the local retirement home Professional Yorkshire lass Ashleigh, from t’Barnsley, belittled her parents with her first sentence.

Amy has the sales manner of a praying mantis. And Navdeep (Mountain High) is a “public speaker”. Or “job seeker”, as it’s known.

Only Andrew, Lucy and Steven seem to have their heads screwed on, unlike Belfast steamroller Maria who reckons she’s: “Creative, like a firework,” (eh?) and announced her arrival by saying: “To underestimate me could be the most silly thing somebody could do.”

No, Maria. The most silly thing somebody could do would be to have commissioned a fourth series of Young Apprentice.

Actually, scratch that. It would be to volunteer to spend three weeks in the Australian jungle while serving as a sitting MP.

Now THAT’S a proper reality TV

Spudulike awards

● BBC2’s Space Dive.

● The 30th anniversary special Comic Strip Presents... Five Go To Rehab, on Dave.

● Rod Stewart openly weeping with joy as Celtic beat the mighty Barcelona in the Champions League on Sky Sports.

● The name of the West Midlands Police traffic officer on Monday’s This Morning who gave a drink-driver a breath test, PC Jack Daniels.

● The very real prospect of cruiseship menace Christopher Maloney winning The X Factor and blowing the show to kingdom come once and for all.

● Fox News turning into the most hilarious parody of a news channel during the US Election (it is a parody, right?).

● C4’s Homeland (and no, I won’t stop banging on about this show).

● The fantastic start to C4 political thriller Secret State, in which deputy prime minister Gabriel Byrne is left in charge of the country when the PM dies in a plane accident. The only disappointment being that they didn’t call it Crash and Byrne.

Spuduhate awards

● An overkill of MasterChef spinoffs across the BBC.

● Channel 4 not bothering with the 30th anniversary of Comic Strip.

● ITV1’s through-the-night US Election coverage reaching new depths of time-filling, at 2.40am, when Emma Murphy reported on the condition and whereabouts of the Obama and Romney cardboard cut-outs at the US Embassy.

● Some self-regarding twonk on the panel of BBC3’s Free Speech: US Election Special describing himself as an: “Anarcho-libertarian.”

(Oh shut up and grow up).

● Louis Walsh’s X Factor music critiques amounting to: “You’ve had a new haircut.”