The Edinburgh TV Festival has announced the first sessions for this year’s Festival.

Led by 2022 Advisory Chair, Afua Hirsch, this year’s Festival will feature Rose Ayling-Ellis, a pioneer for the deaf community and BSL campaigner, who will be delivering the Alternative MacTaggart lecture. She will be addressing the stark realities of life as a young person with disability in this industry.

Actor, Brian Cox, will be discussing his career in an in depth-interview which will give an insight into the Scot’s thoughts on US vs UK drama, identity and his working-class roots as well as what it’s like to portray one of the most iconic characters on contemporary TV in Succession’s Logan Roy.

Comedian, writer and actor, and creator of Starstruck, Rose Matafeo, will be in conversation with journalist, author and screenwriter, Dolly Alderton, whose Everything I Know About Love hits the BBC this week.

The Masterclass thread will feature the BBC’s popular comedy from the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland, Ghosts. Cast and producers will discuss how they took the “boredom of eternity” and created a hit comedy which has sold across the globe.

Netflix’s break out hit, Heartstopper’s Kit Connor joins the creator and author Alice Osman and Executive Producer Patrick Walters. There will also be a chance for delegates to take a deep dive into Disney+’s first UK-originated drama Wedding Season and hear from cast members and the team behind it.

Patrick Holland will chair a session on Funding Factual Programming; Formats World Tour takes a visual tour of the big entertainment formats that have become hits in different territories across the world; Former Festival staffer and podcast Queen, Jackie Adedeji takes a look at the rise and rise of the podcast and how they are influencing TV in Sonic Boom;  Richard Osman leads a panel which will dissect the future of big entertainment shows in Saturday Night’s Alright?; Life Beyond TV discuss the reasons why people are leaving the industry with a panel of ex-TV professionals from across the spectrum; Why Do We Still Need Commissioners? sees digital talent, studios and traditional commissioners exploring the role and relevance of commissioners in this new age of self-broadcasting; and Adjani Salmon and Genevieve Barr will be part of a powerhouse panel discussing how to ensure diverse talent and stories are properly represented in drama…

The Festival’s refreshed flagship controller sessions Spotlight On… will return featuring interviews with creative content chiefs from broadcasters and streamers. Creative chiefs from platforms including Amazon, BBC, C4, Disney, ITV, Netflix, Sky, UKTV, and their commissioning teams, will discuss their vision for their channels and platforms as well as addressing wider industry issues. The line-up includes Anne Mensah, Charlotte Moore, Dan Grabiner, Fiona Campbell, Georgia Brown, Ian Katz, Kate Townsend, Kevin Lygo, Marcus Arthur and many more.

The Festival’s Creative Director, Stewart Clarke said: “As we head back to Edinburgh, we are delighted to reveal some of the amazing talent and industry speakers who will be joining us. Rose Ayling-Ellis will deliver a landmark Alternative MacTaggart, we have the casts of some of TV’s most exciting and loved shows, and of course, the inimitable Brian Cox, as well as sessions discussing urgent industry matters. And that is just the start, with lots more to come.”

Already announced is the Legacy session, hosted by Afua Hirsch with former MacTaggart Lecturers Armando Iannucci, Dorothy Byrne, David Olusoga and Jack Thorne and further panels including sessions on news, drama, public service and the future of BBC and C4 will be announced soon.


Jon Creamer

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