Edinburgh International Television Festival

The Edinburgh International Television Festival is an annual media event held in the United Kingdom each August which brings together delegates from the television and digital world to debate the major issues facing the industry.

Edinburgh International Television Festival
Dates2020: 26–28 August (exact dates vary each year)
CountryScotland, UK
Years active1976–present

The Festival draws about 2,000 delegates from the major networks and production companies internationally. Although the festival is held in Edinburgh, its headquarters are in London.[1]

History and outlineEdit

Over the years, the Festival has attracted 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, being governed by its own Executive and Advisory committees. The Festival is a charitable organisation.

The Festival run two talent schemes – "The Network" (formerly known as TVYP) which gives new entrants a 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 runs other events throughout the year. These include EdTalks lectures and Q & A's with channel bosses from across the globe.

The MacTaggart LectureEdit

The Festival is best known[citation needed] 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.[2]

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 Eric Schmidt US citizen, 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
2016 Shane Smith Canadian journalist and chief executive of Vice Media[3]
2017 Jon Snow Journalist and broadcaster[4]
2018 Michaela Coel Actress and writer
2019 Dorothy Byrne Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4
2020 David Olusoga Historian and broadcaster
2021 Jack Thorne Screenwriter and playwright[5]

* All job titles as at the time the lecture was given. Nationality/citizenship is British unless stated otherwise.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Jackson, Jasper; Sweney, Mark (28 August 2016). "Vice's founder thinks television is failing young people – is he right?". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  4. ^ http://www.thetvfestival.com/2017/07/mactaggart-speaker-announced/[bare URL]

External linksEdit