Diary: Apprentice agency trips on first task

This week, The Guardian Guide's vituperative TV columnist Charlie Brooker took on the new series of The Apprentice - and its PR firm. 'The Apprentice has become so sparkly and important, rather than relying on the BBC press lot, a fancy external PR company has been brought in to orchestrate a brilliant publicity campaign,' he wrote in his Screen Burn column.

'Since this is precisely the sort of task Sir Alan sets his buzzword-spouting tit head contestants each week, let's judge their efforts on the same ruthless basis.

'Instead of sending out preview copies, they've arranged an exclusive press screening ... precisely half an hour after the final deadline for this article.'

He continues: 'When I call asking for a preview DVD instead, they mutter something about an embargo - like we're dealing with sensitive nuclear documents.'

'And they say they'll definitely get back to me. But they forget ... Thus annoying me ... Presumably that is the opposite of what they were hoping to achieve.

'I'd send Sir Alan into an apoplectic fury. "You were supposed to be promotin' the bloody show!" he'd shriek, like a huge indignant hedgehog at the point of climax. "You can't even get one poxy disk to the prick from The Guardian!"'

And which unfortunate agency is promotin' this year's show? Over to Taylor Herring senior account director Mark Collins: 'Due to The Guide's prohibitively long lead time, we were unable to deliver Charlie a DVD in time. However, to make amends, we have offered to stage him a bespoke launch event for the next series of his phenomenally popular BBC4 show Screen Wipe.'

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