Media release: Jeremy Corbyn MP to deliver the Alternative MacTaggart at TV Festival


JEREMY Corbyn MP will deliver the prestigious Alternative MacTaggart at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival.

His speech will be followed by a Q & A with award-winning actor and writer, Maxine Peake, as well as audience questions, it was announced today (SAT).

Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am hugely looking forward to giving this year’s Alternative MacTaggart lecture. A strong, diverse and independent media is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and society.

“I hope to offer some perspectives on the UK media and its role today, discuss how good journalism challenges the powerful and what is holding it back in the digital age of tech giants and unaccountable billionaires.”

Advisory chair, Phil Edgar-Jones, said: “Jeremy Corbyn has a fascinating relationship with the media, stimulating controversy on a near daily basis. With that scrutiny in mind it’s important to uncover his view of our industry in what will be his most comprehensive speech on the subject. I am looking forward to an engaging debate.”

Maxine Peake said: “I feel very honoured to be given the chance to interview one of the most inspiring and surprising political heavy weights of our time. As a long-time admirer of Jeremy, having the opportunity to ask him about life, policy, culture and which soap character he most identifies with is all very exciting!”

Festival director, Lisa Campbell, said: “At the TV Festival, we pride ourselves on our topicality and ability to offer unique perspectives – this exclusive session embodies everything that makes the festival so special. Jeremy Corbyn is a man who is always in the news, with Maxine Peake, one of our most talented actors as host, we expect a fascinating insight into the man behind the headlines.”

Previous Alternative MacTaggart speakers have included: Russell Brand, Sharon Horgan, Nicola Sturgeon, Mary Portas, Charlie Brooker, Professor Brian Cox, Paul Abbott and Ant and Dec.

As a festival and a charity, the Edinburgh Television Festival is committed to helping young people from all backgrounds gain access to the TV Industry. It runs two young talent schemes, Ones to Watch and The Network.

Both schemes aim to ensure that the people working in television are as diverse as the audience watching it.

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Notes to editors:

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Jeremy Corbyn MP has been a Member of Parliament for Islington North since 1983 and Leader of the Labour Party since 2015. Before becoming an MP, he was a trade union organiser for the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers, the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers and the National Union of Public Employees.

In addition to his well-known passions for social and international justice, Jeremy has a longstanding interest in the media – in particular local media – and its role in politics and society.

Jeremy’s first job after leaving school was on his local newspaper, the Newport and Market Drayton Advertiser, and he later chaired the National Union of Journalists’ Parliamentary Group.

Under Jeremy’s leadership, the Labour Party expanded its share of the national vote to 40 per cent at the 2017 general election – Labour’s first net gain in seats for 20 years and the largest increase in vote share since 1945.

Labour’s public support and strong electoral gains, set against the portrayal of Jeremy and the party in the media, along with Jeremy’s popularity on social media, have already been the subject of a number of studies.

Maxine Peake

As one of the nation’s favourite actresses, RADA-trained Maxine Peake has enjoyed a prolific career as a theatre, television and film actress with many career highlights including Black Mirror (Netflix), Funny Cow (eOne), Red Riding (C4), The Devil’s Whore (C4), The Theory of Everything (Working Title), The Falling (BBC Films/BFI), Shameless (C4), and the extensive list of dramas for the BBC including The Village, Silk, Criminal Justice, The Hollow Crown, Dinnerladies, Three Girls and many award-winning TV dramas and theatre productions.

Constantly looking for new challenges and surprising audiences, she has already played a range of colourful and award-winning characters, most notably Myra Hindley in See No Evil and the title role in Hamlet which was at the Manchester Royal Exchange and then filmed and released as a feature film in cinemas in the UK and USA.

Regarded by critics as an important adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s finest tragedies, with The Times writing ‘Maxine Peake and company make this 400-year-old revenge tragedy come alive in a way you’ve never quite seen before.”

Peterloo, directed by multi-award winning British director, Mike Leigh, will be his most ambitious and large-scale film of his career.

Also starring Rory Kinnear, the film will soon premiere at Venice Film Festival ahead of a November 2nd release. Gwen (prod. Hilary Bevan Jones and BFI) will have its world premiere at TIFF in September. For television, she will next star in The Bisexual, a modern story about love and adventure set in London. The Channel 4 series also stars actor/writer/producer Desiree Akhavan, who recently won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for her film The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

In theatre, her work includes the iconic role of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Sarah Frankcom, who has directed many critically acclaimed productions with Peake – Happy Days, The Skriker, The Masque of Anarchy, Miss Julie, The Children’s Hour and Hamlet all at the Royal Exchange, where Maxine has the honour of being ‘Artist in Residence.’ Further theatre credits include How to Hold Your Breath, Breakthrough and Mother Theresa is Dead, all at the Royal Court; Luther, The Relapse, The Cherry Orchard, The Importance of Being Earnest, The John Ford Investigation and Robin Hood all at the Royal National Theatre.

As a writer, she has retold fascinating stories of women in British history who achieved greatness or faced adversity. She had critical success with her plays Beryl, based on the real life professional cyclist, Beryl Burton, which has been made into a radio and stage play, and is currently being developed into a film.

Queens of The Coal Age told the incredible story of Anne Scargill and the miner’s wives who attempted to save UK pits from closure by occupying the mines in the early 1990s. It’s currently being adapted from radio play to TV and made its premiere as a stage play at the Royal Exchange in July.

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