Edinburgh TV festival unveils this year’s roster

TV heavyweights including Mark Thompson, Paul Abbott and Michael Grade have been lined up as key participants at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Sponsored by MediaGuardian, this is the 35th year of the festival and this year’s three-day programme, at the end of August, is another Who’s Who of the UK television industry.

As reported previously on allmediascotland.com, the keynote speech – the MacTaggart Lecture – is to be given by the BBC’s director-general, Thompson.

The festival is to feature sessions examining what the new government will mean for media, and what role television had to play in the most unpredictable election in recent memory.

BAFTA award-winning screenwriter and producer, Abbott, will deliver the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture, entitled ‘The Truth About Long-term Thinking’.

Mark Austin interviews former ITV executive chairman, Michael Grade while Channel Four’s newly-appointed chief executive, David Abraham, is also confirmed.

‘Tabloid star’, Katie Price, aka Jordan, is another interviewee on the roster.

Jeremy Vine will chair a debate about BBC cuts while among the channel controllers who have already confirmed they will be taking part are Jay Hunt (BBC One), Janice Hadlow (BBC Two), Peter Fincham (ITV1), Julian Bellamy (Channel 4), Richard Woolfe (Five), Danny Cohen (BBC Three), Richard Klein (BBC Four), Stuart Murphy (Sky1), Paul Mortimer (E4), Zai Bennett (ITV Digital), Hamish Mykura (More4) and Matthew Littleford (UKTV).

Soaps, Coronation Street and EastEnders, are both on the bill, and there will also be the chance to grill some of Fleet Street’s most prolific TV pundits, including Ally Ross and Ian Hyland.

A number of sessions are to be dedicated to 3D TV.

Says Deborah Turness, 2010 MGEITF advisory chair and editor of ITV News:: “In keeping with our times, this year’s festival will be a coalition of agenda-setting content that will shape the direction of the industry and inspirational, creative stimulation. With the Conservative/Murdoch Alliance now in Number 10, Mark Thompson’s MacTaggart could not be more timely. The big question: will David Cameron demand ‘savage’ cuts at the BBC, and is radical change coming our way? While the festival is about addressing key industry issues, it is also about celebrating and learning from our top creative talent and we are delighted that Paul Abbott has agreed to deliver the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture.”

Adds Tim Hincks, MGEITF executive chair and CEO of Endemol UK: “When it comes to media events in 2010 Edinburgh is convincingly first past the post yet again. The best producers, celebrities, channel controllers and broadcasters will all be there, making it absolutely unmissable. Miss once, regret for an eternity.”

For more information, click here: www.mgeitf.co.uk