Edinburgh International Television Festival

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The Edinburgh International Television Festival, founded in 1976, is held annually over the British August bank holiday weekend at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Featuring prominent television industry voices and sessions covering pertinent issues facing the future of broadcasting, the festival is best known for its keynote address: the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. This was named in honour of the writer, producer and director who died in 1974. The lecture features prescient speeches from controversial and powerful media figures that reads like a who's who of British TV over the last couple of decades. In recent years this has included Greg Dyke, John Birt, Mark Thompson, Tony Ball, John Humphrys and in 1989, Rupert Murdoch. One of the best remembered speeches was given in 1993 by an ill Dennis Potter, who attacked the chairman and director general of the BBC of the day by saying: "you cannot make a pair of croak-voiced Daleks appear benevolent even if you dress one of them in an Armani suit and call the other Marmaduke."

John Birt, one of Potter's targets, returned to give the lecture in 2005. The ex-ITV plc Chief Executive Charles Allen gave the 2006 lecture. Jeremy Paxman gave the 2007 lecture, using it to criticise what he saw as a loss of purpose and moral direction in the industry. The media commentator Maggie Brown has criticised the event for featuring only three women as speakers (Christine Ockrent, Verity Lambert and Janet Street-Porter) in the course of its history.1

Current major sponsors are MediaGuardian - Title Sponsor, BBC, Blitz, Channel 4, The Farm, Glow Labs, ITV, Sky and YouGov.

See also

References

  1. ^ Maggie Brown "Why have there only been three women MacTaggart lecturers in 33 years?", The Guardian (Organ grinder blog) 25 August 2009

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