The final of The Apprentice was watched by nearly 10 million viewers on Sunday night.

An average of 9.8 million viewers saw Sir Alan Sugar unexpectedly choose restaurateur Yasmina Siadatan (pictured) to be his apprentice, over licensing development manager Kate Walsh, as the BBC One reality show reached its climax.

The Apprentice peaked at 10.4 million viewers in its final quarter hour, from 9.45pm, according to unofficial overnight figures.

Last year’s final of The Apprentice averaged 8.9 million viewers over an hour in the show’s usual 9pm Wednesday slot.

Spin-off programme The Apprentice: You’re Hired, which immediately followed the final on BBC One, attracted an average of 7.7 million viewers in the 10pm hour – a 36 per cent share of the audience.

Ratings for last year’s final peaked at 9.7 million viewers in the final quarter hour as Sir Alan uttered the words ‘You’re hired’ to his chosen candidate, Lee McQueen.

Wednesday’s penultimate edition of The Apprentice – when five candidates were reduced to the final two – was the show’s previous highest-rating episode, attracting an average of 9.2 million viewers.

In March, the launch episode of the fifth series attracted 8.1 million viewers.

Meanwhile, Big Brother was watched by 1.8 million viewers on Channel 4 from 10pm on Sunday night. An extra 186,000 watched on Channel 4 +1.