Diary: Advertising sitcom writer promises it's all made up

No need to reach for the smelling salts or squirm in your seats when The Scum Also Rises, a six-part sitcom set in an ad agency, takes to the air on BBC 2 in the autumn.

Series of this kind - especially when written by somebody who has worked in the business - tend to feature characters well known to anybody with knowledge of adland. But not in this case, it seems, even though the writer is the former Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury and TBWA\London creative Jonathan Thake.

"All my characters are grotesques," Thake, whose biggest claim to fame is the "slag of all snacks" campaign for Pot Noodle, says. "The series is all about people stabbing each other in the back on their way to the top," he says.

Mind you, the BBC 3 pilot episode was set in the familiar-sounding HHH&H. The mythical agency's staff include Billy, who can't write another ad despite having been showered with awards; Greg, an account man who can't get a girl; and Emma, an agency producer who's watching her back as well as her body clock. Ring any bells?

Having left TBWA last year to pursue a full-time writing career, Thake is working on a new project while keeping his feet on the ground. "If it works out, great. If it all goes horribly wrong I'll be creeping back to advertising while pretending it never happened."