Paxman to present MacTaggart

ARGUABLY the most feared TV interviewer in the UK is to give the keynote speech at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Jeremy Paxman will be presenting this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the festival, which is taking place at the end of August, and is expected to attract 2000 delegates. Says Tim Hincks, the festival’s executive chair, Paxman’s appearance will be the “hottest ticket in town”.

The MacTaggart Lecture – set up in 1976 in memory of the acclaimed writer and director James MacTaggart – attracts major names in UK and international broadcasting and is known for producing controversial and agenda-setting speeches. Past MacTaggart speakers include Dennis Potter, Michael Grade, Rupert Murdoch, Janet Street-Porter, Ted Turner, Peter Bazalgette, Greg Dyke, David Liddiment, Mark Thompson, Tony Ball, John Humphrys, Lord Birt and, last year, Charles Allen – former chief executive of ITV.

It will take place on Friday evening, August 24.

Paxman is considered the longest-serving presenter on BBC Newsnight, where has worked since 1989.

He began his journalistic career in Northern Ireland, moving on to become a reporter for Tonight, and then five years on Panorama. He spent four years presenting Start the Week on Radio Four and has chaired University Challenge since 1994.