The reality show won its timeslot in the 9pm hour, but it wasn't enough to guide the channel to primetime victory.
Panorama preceded Young Apprentice with 2.59m (9.9%) while A Question of Sport quizzed 2.96m (19.9%) from 10.35pm.
ITV1's Countrywise Kitchen cooked up 3.2m (12.5%) from 8pm, with 9pm's The Real Thumbelina taking 3.63m (14.3%) and an additional 199k (1.1%) on +1.
BBC Two's night started with Return of the Lost Boys of Sudan (642k/2.7%) from 7pm, followed by University Challenge (2.89m/11.2%), MasterChef: The Professionals (2.8m/10.7%), I Had The X Factor... 25 Years Ago: A Wonderland Special (2.06m/8.1%) and Never Mind the Buzzcocks (1.75m/8.4%).
Channel 4's River Cottage drew in 1.28m (4.9%) from 8pm (+1: 386k/1.5%) before Jimmy's Grow Your Own Christmas Dinner served 1.77m (7%) in the 9pm hour (+1: 376k/2%). Chris Moyles' Quiz Night entertained 783k (4%) from 10pm (+1: 129k/1.2%) and 8 Out of 10 Cats amused 597k (5%) from 10.50pm.
How Do They Do It? grabbed 488k (2.1%) for Channel 5 from 7.30pm. The Gadget Show delivered 902k (3.5%) from 8pm, while Charley Boorman's Extreme Frontiers was watched by 818k (3.2%). From 10pm, movie Hard Luck averaged 401k (2.8%).
Overall, ITV1 won primetime with 21.4% (0.5%), narrowly ahead of BBC One's figure of 20.3%. BBC Two took third place with 7.4%. Channel 4 had 4.9% (+1: 1.1%) and Channel 5 finished with 2.7%.
Meanwhile, a 9pm episode of NCIS interested 586k (2.3%) on 5 USA.
BARB ratings data supplied by Attentional