ALL THOSE IN FAVOUR SAY ABSOLUTE POWER
28th February, 2006
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Those of you who were lucky enough to watch Stephen Poliakoff’s entertaining drama Gideon’s Daughter on Monday night, may have spotted a similarity between it and other portrayals of PR people in films and on television. Poliakoff’s drama, about a disillusioned PR man wanting to escape the high profile hell he had got himself into, continued to perpetrate the image of the sharp suited guru who somehow dislikes his own success. It was reminiscent of portrayals of PROs in Jersey Girl (2004) and Phone Booth (2002). Both featured people desperate to escape their own careers.
But why do we always end of up being dramatised like this? It’s not like we’re a mysterious industry. We are actually the third most popular choice of career for graduates. So, in the name of research, a scriptwriter could ask 35% of third year students what a PR person is really like and get a fairly accurate answer. Surely then, every dramatist out there can’t believe we are all tortured publicity geniuses, crucified by our own ability to get things published in Computer Weekly? Can they?
In reality, most PR people are ruthless, self serving, self publicists… erm, I mean perfectly well balanced individuals who just happen to have a job getting stuff in the papers. Personally, I prefer the images of PROs we find Bridgette Jones’ Diary (ditzy, twenty something slightly lost) and Will Self’s The Book of the Dead (tired fifty something, bored with writing press releases about thermal gloves).
I think Poliakoff’s unlikely characterisation must be fought if we are to escape it. I’m thinking of starting a campaign to bring back the image of PROs as happy go lucky G&T swigging champagne connoisseurs, content to spend their time in London Gentleman’s clubs talking in loud voices. All those in favour say, “Absolute Power”.
PS - If you are on the team behind Absolute Power, I did e-mail you begging to be on the show last series. If there is any justice in the world you will find me a role this year. I could be standing in the background or bringing Stephen Fry coffee… anything really. Cheers.