The upcoming Edinburgh TV Festival is to award Sir Billy Connolly CBE with the Edinburgh Television Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the industry.

The actor, musician, artist and author will be interviewed by writer and performer Dr Pamela Stephenson Connolly, in an exclusive conversation celebrating and reflecting on his extensive body of work and successes within the industry.

‘The Big Yin’ topped both of Channel 4’s ‘100 Greatest Stand-Up’ polls and topped Channel 5’s ‘Greatest Stand-Up Comedians’ list as well as the Evening Times ‘Greatest Ever Glaswegian’ poll. Sir Billy was the recipient of the BAFTA and BAFTA Scotland awards for Outstanding Achievement and was given the Freedom of the City of Glasgow before his Knighthood for Services to Entertainment and Charity. Sir Billy is also a renowned actor for roles in film including Mrs Brown (1997) for which he was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role.  The two-hour retrospective feature film about him, Billy Connolly: Erect for 30 Years, featured contributions from Whoopi Goldberg (this year’s Edinburgh Television Festival International Icon), Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman. Connolly is now an artist who has had his work projected onto the famous MacLellan’s Castle and saw his first sculpture released last year.

In another new session, American songwriter, actor, director and producer, Lin-Manuel Miranda will be interviewed in Cardiff by Bad Wolf CEO, Jane Tranter. Focusing on talent and specifically how to nurture and support new generations of creatives, the pair will discuss his journey and passion for creating pathways into the industry for new voices. Miranda will answer questions from emerging creatives – including from the TV Foundation’s talent schemes and Screen Alliance Wales. The Hamilton creator’s discussion arrives hot on the heels of BBC & HBO’s fantasy series His Dark Materials, produced by Bad Wolf, and Miranda’s critically acclaimed films In the Heights and Vivo. His film directorial debut, tick, tick…Boom! and Disney’s Encanto are also set to be released this Autumn.

Completing the line-up of Masterclasses for this year’s programme is Prime Video’s critically acclaimed 2020 behind-the-scenes documentary series, All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur, which spans one of Spurs’ most defining seasons to date. The masterclass, hosted by Radio 1’s Rickie Haywood-Williams, will include Amazon Studios’ Dan Grabiner, the programme makers, 72 Films’ John Douglas and Clare Cameron, and contributions from international and Premier League footballer Eric Dier, who has played at the club since 2014.

Dominic Cummings will be in conversation with Boris Johnson in a special session: Why is Telly so Sh*t? from Spitting Image.

Adeel Amini, the Festival’s first Industry Champion Award winner, will host a follow-up session on theFreelance Charter and Coalition for Change agreement which was officially launched during last year’s edition. Giving a much-needed voice to freelancers with the added emphasis on immediate action and a cultural reset, the session will provide an update and overview on the latest developments, how next steps are being actioned and how broadcasters are being held to account.


Jon Creamer

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