Edinburgh International Television Festival

The Edinburgh International Television Festival also known as the Edinburgh International Television Festival brought to you by YouTube and BT through sponsorship rights, is an annual media event in the UK each August which brings together all parts of the television and digital world to debate the major issues facing the industry. The Festival draws about 2,000 delegates from the major networks and production companies internationally.

History and outline

Over the years, the Festival has attracted some of the world’s most significant industry figures – including Kevin Spacey, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Ricky Gervais, Vince Gilligan, Tessa Ross, Jamie Oliver, Simon Cowell, Ted Sarandos and Elisabeth Murdoch, as well as people from related fields such as Al Gore and Germaine Greer.

Established in 1976, the Festival takes place every August at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival, and similar events, in the city. The Edinburgh International Television Festival remains the only event both run by and for the television industry as the Festival is governed by its Executive and Advisory committees. The Festival is a charitable organisation with a mission to identify and nurture the next generation of talent, whatever their background.

The Festival run two talent schemes – "The Network" (formerly known as TVYP) which gives brand new entrants a vital first step into the TV and digital industries while "Ones to Watch" (formerly known as Fast Track) supports those at the early stages of their career. Both benefit from fully funded places at the Festival, which include tailored workshops, masterclasses and networking. Year-round mentoring, training and events are also offered.

The Festival also runs other events throughout the year with the aim of engaging and inspiring the TV industry, these range from our punchy and provocative EdTalks lectures to Q & A’s with channel bosses from across the globe.

Although the festival operates in Edinburgh, its headquarters are based in London.[1]

2015 festival

In 2015, the TV festival took place on 26–28 August. The year's festival featured a new US Gamechangers strand. The proposed guests included the American Broadcasting Company's Paul Lee, A+E’s Paul Buccieri, Showtime’s David Nevins, the General Manager of Fox Entertainment Group's FX channel John Landgraf, Discovery’s Rich Ross and HBO’s Michael Ellenberg.

The Channel Controller Sessions were scheduled to include BBC One’s Charlotte Moore, ITV’s Peter Fincham; Channel 4’s Jay Hunt, Channel 5’s Ben Frow, UKTV’s Emma Tennant, BBC Four’s Cassian Harrison, Sky One’s Adam MacDonald, ITV Digital’s Angela Jain; and BBC Two's Kim Shillinglaw and the heads of BBC Three and Discovery.

The MacTaggart Lecture

The Festival is best known for its keynote address: the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. The lecture features speeches from leading media figures connected with British and international television over more than 40 years:

Year Speaker Job title*
1976 John McGrath Dramatist and director, founder of 7:84 Theatre Company
1977 Marcel Ophüls French/US documentary film maker (The Sorrow and the Pity/Le Chagrin et la Pitié)
1978 Norman Lear American television producer and scriptwriter
1979 Jeremy Isaacs former Director of Programmes for Thames Television (later Chief Executive, Channel 4)
1980 John Mortimer Screenwriter and dramatist
1981 Peter Jay Economist and broadcaster, Chairman of TV-am
1982 Ted Turner American television executive, founder of CNN
1983 Jonathan Miller Stage and television director/producer and broadcaster
1984 Denis Forman Chairman, Granada Television
1985 John Schlesinger Film and television director
1986 Troy Kennedy Martin Television dramatist
1987 Phillip Whitehead Television documentary producer
1988 Christine Ockrent Belgian/French journalist and broadcaster
1989 Rupert Murdoch Australian/American Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, News Corporation
1990 Verity Lambert Independent film and television producer
1991 David Elstein Director of Programmes, Thames Television
1992 Michael Grade Chief Executive, Channel 4
1993 Dennis Potter Television dramatist and screenwriter
1994 Greg Dyke Chief Executive of LWT, Chairman of ITV Council and GMTV
1995 Janet Street-Porter Broadcaster and journalist
1996 John Birt Director General, BBC
1997 Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran Television comedy scriptwriters and programme creators
1998 Peter Bazalgette Managing Director, Bazal
1999 Richard Eyre Chief Executive, ITV Network
2000 Greg Dyke Director General, BBC
2001 David Liddiment Director of Channels, ITV Network
2002 Mark Thompson Chief Executive, Channel 4
2003 Tony Ball Chief Executive, BSkyB
2004 John Humphrys Broadcaster and journalist
2005 Lord Birt former Director General, BBC
2006 Charles Allen Chief Executive, ITV
2007 Jeremy Paxman Broadcaster and presenter of Newsnight (BBC)
2008 Peter Fincham Director of Television, ITV
2009 James Murdoch Chairman and Chief Executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation
2010 Mark Thompson Director General, BBC
2011 Dr Eric Schmidt Executive Chairman, Google
2012 Elisabeth Murdoch Chairman, Shine Group
2013 Kevin Spacey American actor, director and producer
2014 David Abraham Chief Executive, Channel 4
2015 Armando Iannucci Broadcaster, writer, director and producer

See also


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