Ofcom has upheld complaints from viewers that Channel 4 quiz show Countdown breached broadcasting rules by plugging products on air.

Countdown host Nick Hewer, 72, who is a former public relations consultant and more recently scrutiniser of young business hopefuls on The Apprentice TV reality show gave the upcoming Ideal Home Exhibition some “heavy promotion” that left some viewers wondering if he had been paid for it. And a guest on the same show, former British swimmer Mark Foster talked about his (paid for?) position as Ambassador for P&O Cruises before heavily promoting them.

The stupid mistakes by Hewer and Foster embarrassed Channel 4 who apologized and removed the offending episode from their online offering, promising Ofcom that all future commercial references would be signed off by their commissioning editor.

There has been the suggestion that the plugs should be played by Alan Sugar to all the young contestants on The Apprentice as examples of how to torpedo their own credibilities.

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