The Edinburgh TV Festival has announced that it will become a digital event this year as a result of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The 2020 Festival offering is designed to “support and connect the television community” and will deliver the key moments of the festival including The MacTaggart Lecture, Controller Sessions and Awards; as well as the TV Foundation’s talent schemes; The Network, Ones to Watch and TV PhD. An ongoing programme of digital sessions and content will launch in the coming weeks with the programme to be announced shortly. This year the whole festival will be free for freelancers.
Managing Director of the TV Festival and TV Foundation Campbell Glennie said: “We have decided that, in the best interests of everyone we would seek to bring together, educate and support, that we will not be staging the TV Festival physically in Edinburgh this August. However, our industry is based on creative innovation and so too is the Festival.
“For the past week we have been in consultation with our board, partners and supporters to re-examine not just what we could achieve this year, but more importantly what we should be doing to connect, discuss and find solutions to issues both perennial and particular to the evolving challenges we all face.
“I would like to thank our executive chair Graham Stuart, board, sponsors and advisory committee for their support, advice and guidance during the past few weeks, and look forward to working with them all to create new projects in 2020 that will respond to the challenges we’re all facing and bring us closer together.
“Television’s vital role in our lives has never been so present, valued and cherished, and so the team will be doing everything we can in 2020 to keep discussion flowing, talent supported and diversity encouraged. It will not be the Festival we know, but it will still be the Festival we love.”
This year’s Advisory Chair BBC TWO Controller, Patrick Holland said: “I believe that Edinburgh’s role as a lightning rod for our industry is more important than ever this year. The key themes we’ll be discussing; the future of the PSBs in the UK ecology, the role of TV in the climate emergency, reflecting the diversity of the audience in who makes and is featured in our shows – are brought into even sharper relief by the coronavirus crisis. I look forward to working with the team to bring that spirit to everyone between now and August.”
The Festival’s Executive Chair, Graham Stuart said: “An August without Edinburgh has always been unthinkable for the UK television industry. And it is with the greatest admiration for the resilience and imagination of the entire Edinburgh Television Festival team I can assure the industry that 2020 will be no different. Maybe just a little…”