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Edinburgh International Television Festival

The Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube is one of the most prestigious media events in the UK – bringing together all parts of the television and digital world to celebrate the creativity, diversity and inspirational talent in our field, and to debate the major issues facing the industry. The Festival draws around 2000 delegates from the major networks and production companies internationally.

The Festival has attracted some of the world’s most influential, powerful and exciting industry players to take part in the Festival – including Kevin Spacey, Al Gore, Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Ricky Gervais, Vince Gilligan, Germaine Greer, Tessa Ross, Jamie Oliver, Simon Cowell, Ted Sarandos and Elisabeth Murdoch. Established in 1976 it is still 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 takes place every August at the heart of Edinburgh festival season at EICC, 150 Morrison Street, The Exchange Edinburgh, EH3 8EE.

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.

In 2015 the Festival takes place on 26-28 August and will celebrate its 40th anniversary. The TV Festival will be more global than ever with our new US Gamechangers strand, who will join a programme bursting with agenda-setting keynotes, our Meet the Controllers sessions and a raft of screenings and masterclasses with top talent - covering everything from how TV can make money learning from digital to how producers can target and retain that desirable 16-34 audience.

Oscar and Emmy-nominated writer, director and producer Armando Iannucci will deliver this year’s prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. The stellar-guests include some of America’s greatest game changers from cable production. ABC’s Paul Lee, A+E’s Paul Buccieri, Showtime’s David Nevins, FX’s John Landgraf, Discovery’s Rich Ross and HBO’s Michael Ellenberg will be telling us what’s next for their businesses and for the global television landscape now that the game has changed.

The ever-popular Controller Sessions will 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 the heads of BBC Two, BBC Three and Discovery Kim Shillinglaw.

The Festival is best known for its keynote address: the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. The lecture features prescient speeches from controversial and powerful media figures that reads like a who's who of British and International TV over the last 40 years:

Year Speaker Job title*
1976 John McGrath Playwright, Director and Founder of 7:84 Theatre Company
1977 Marcel Ophuls Oscar and BAFTA Winning Director
1978 Norman Lear Emmy Winning Producer and Writer
1979 Jeremy Isaacs Chief Executive, Channel 4, Bafta and Emmy winning producer
1980 John Mortimer Screenwriter and Author
1981 Peter Jay Economist, Broadcast and Chairman of TV-am
1982 Ted Turner Founder, CNN
1983 Jonathan Miller Stage Director, Writer and Broadcast
1984 Denis Forman Chairman, Granada Television
1985 John Schlesinger Oscar and Bafta Winning Director
1986 Troy Kennedy Martin Writer
1987 Phillip Whitehead Documentary Producer
1988 Christine Ockrent Journalist and Broadcaster
1989 Rupert Murdoch Chief Executive Officer
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 Playwright and Director
1994 Greg Dyke Director General, BBC
1995 Janet Street-Porter Media Personality, Journalist and Broadcaster
1996 John Birt Director General, BBC
1997 Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran Writers
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 Author, Journalist and Presenter of Television and Radio
2005 Lord Birt Director General, BBC
2006 Charles Allen Chief Executive, ITV
2007 Jeremy Paxman Broadcaster, 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 Academy Award winning Actor, Director & Producer
2014 David Abraham Chief Executive, Channel 4
2015 Armando Iannucci Oscar and Emmy nominated Writer, Director and Producer
  • All job titles correct when lecture was given.

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