Edinburgh International Television Festival « Taylor Herring

Edinburgh International Television Festival

Channel 4’s David Abraham to deliver MacTaggart lecture

Posted on May 21st, 2014 in Edinburgh International Television Festival,Event PR,Television Industry PR,Television PR.

London, Wednesday 21st May 2014: Chief Executive of Channel 4 David Abraham is confirmed to give the prestigious James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at this year’s Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, powered by YouTube.

The head of the ‘Born Risky’ broadcaster has enjoyed a recent run of creative successes, from the 2012 Paralympic Games and 2013’s Educating Yorkshire, to Gogglebox, Southcliffe and the headline-grabbing Benefits Street.  Abraham announced a groundbreaking move earlier this year when he revealed Channel 4 would be investing millions into a number of small and medium sized fledgling independent production companies.

The need to ‘balance creative and commercial objectives’ as identified by Channel 4 Chairman Lord Burns, means Abraham’s lecture is perfectly poised to reflect the theme of this year’s festival: ‘The Business of Creativity’ from the point of view of an organisation with a unique business model.

David Abraham

David Abraham comments:  ‘2014 is already shaping up to be a seismic year of change in the landscape of television so I am honoured to have the opportunity to give the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival this year. It’s also been over a decade since Channel 4 has had this important platform – so it will be a key opportunity, in front of our creative partners, to set out a vision for how and why we intend to maintain our cultural impact in a world in which globalisation and technology continue to reshape everything.’

Executive Festival Chair, Elaine Bedell, said: ‘Not only have we not had anyone from C4 deliver the MacTaggart in twelve years, we also haven’t had a UK broadcaster give this prestigious keynote in four years.  We’ve become used in Edinburgh to hearing provocative calls from independent producers, or from on-screen talent, as well as from new entrants into the broadcast world (like Netflix), all challenging UK broadcasters to up their game.  Now it’s time for one, key, terrestrial broadcaster to respond – and to issue some challenges and provocations of its own.  I know that David will deliver a MacTaggart speech that will truly ignite the debate at this year’s TV Festival.’

Advisory Chair of the Festival, Mel Leach, said: ‘As the CEO of Channel 4, a major investor in the UK’s creative economy and a broadcaster working with more independent producers than any other British network, I am delighted that David Abraham will be delivering this year’s MacTaggart lecture. David offers a unique perspective on our industry having built a creative agency and managed a portfolio of networks in Britain and the US in both pay TV and free to air. This year the festival is embracing the business of creativity as its key theme, asking questions of both producers and broadcasters about how the British TV industry can remain at the forefront of worldwide content creation. I have no doubt David will offer bold and provocative insight into the challenges, opportunities and technological innovations that will shape our industry over the next decade.’

Following a 25 year career building and championing creative businesses in the UK and USA, David Abraham became Channel 4’s sixth Chief Executive in May 2010. He formed and leads the team which is delivering the biggest diversification of Channel 4’s schedule in a decade following the decommissioning of Big Brother. Investment in originated content has been at record levels, with the team executing the game-changing broadcast of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and commissioning award-winning shows ranging from Gogglebox and Educating Yorkshire to Southcliffe, The Undateables, Syria: Across the Lines and Toast of London.

A rejuvenated Channel 4 News is making its own headlines with Plebgate and Sri Lanka; Killing Fields exclusives; investment into Film4 has been boosted and is flourishing with titles ranging from the Oscar and BAFTA award-winning 12 Years a Slave to the hit Inbetweeners Movie.

David implemented an innovative viewer engagement strategy for Channel 4 which today has over 10m registered users including half of all 16-24 year olds in the UK.  This has been achieved whilst keeping revenues stable, forging new commercial partnerships with UKTV and BT Sport and seeing a significant strengthening in the reputation of Channel 4 amongst the British public.

David joined Channel 4 from UKTV where he was appointed Chief Executive in April 2007.  He led the launch of Dave, the most successful new digital channel of the decade and championed successful commissions such as Red Dwarf – Back to Earth and In the Land of the Free.  Prior to this David worked at Discovery Networks USA where, as President and General Manager of TLC, he was responsible for reviving the prime US cable network with fresh shows such as Miami Ink and Little People Big World.  Before heading to the US David was General Manager of Discovery Networks UK during a period of rapid growth and investment into digital channel development and creative landmarks such as Virtual History and Age of Terror.

David began his career in 1984 as a graduate trainee in advertising in London, after studying Modern History at Oxford University. At 32 he was a founding partner and Chief Operating Officer of the independent creative agency St Luke’s, which became internationally renowned for its innovative campaigns and co-operative working practices.

He is a member of the Board of Creative Skillset and was Chair of the 2013 RTS Cambridge Convention.

The prestigious MacTaggart Lecture has drawn major names from both UK and international broadcasting, and is known for producing controversial and agenda-setting speeches. Past MacTaggart speakers include Kevin Spacey, Elisabeth Murdoch, Eric Schmidt, Mark Thompson, James Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Michael Grade, Verity Lambert, Ted Turner, Greg Dyke, David Liddiment, Peter Fincham, Charles Allen, Jeremy Paxman, John Mortimer and Rupert Murdoch.

Now in its 39th year, the Festival will take place from Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd August.

This year’s opening session will include the welcome return of Keith Lemon, as he takes delegates “Through the Keyhole” and into the underwear drawer of channel controller’s homes, as a panel of experts try to figure out who the questionable music collections and lavish living rooms belong to.

Britain’s favourite magician Dynamo will also provide a masterclass, telling audiences how Dynamo: Magician Impossible became not just a huge ratings hit for Watch, but was sold worldwide and reinvigorated a global appetite for magic. Dynamo, who will reveal how a tough childhood provided him with the drive to succeed in magic, will be joined by the show’s producers and give festival audiences a sneak peek at what to expect from the fourth series.

At session: Thinking outside the Gogglebox, the creators of Gogglebox along with stars of the show Steph and Dom Parker invite delegates to see the workings behind the sofas. As well as discussing the duo’s favourite tipple, they’ll take a look at how the idea developed, the secrets behind the show’s casting and how it’s become a global sensation – as well as revealing what’s next.

Further sessions will include a journey into the twisted minds of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, the creators of cult hits The League Of Gentlemen, Psychoville and Inside No. 9. They’ll take audiences on a tour of their memorable careers – both in collaboration, and separately, with Steve writing and appearing in the smash-hit sitcom Benidorm, and Reece playing the lead role in ITV1’s disturbing drama The Widower among recent highlights.

Jed Mercurio, writer and creator of BBC2’s biggest drama hit in 10 years, Line of Duty, will also be at Edinburgh this year, discussing the all-important question: Is Lindsay Denton guilty? How the former hospital physician and RAF officer achieved the dramatic excitement and originality we’ve come to expect from the best the Americans and Scandis have to offer will be a key theme, as will which British institution will be next on his hit list.

2013’s most talked about session will also return for 2014, as We Still Need to Talk About Commissioning will review progress and lessons learnt. A panel of broadcasting elite return to face the new findings and discuss pertinent issues – ranging from the relationship between independent producers and commissioners to how the system is working and value commissioners themselves add.

On the flip side, tables will also be turned on the indies in How to be a better indie as we find out which are the best and worst to work for.  The session will also explore how indies can be better – both as places of work and in their relationships with commissioners.

Visit www.geitf.co.uk to register now. Follow the Festival on Twitter via @edinburghtvfest




Dynamo, Jed Mercurio and Gogglebox at 2014 Edinburgh TV Festival

Posted on May 15th, 2014 in Edinburgh International Television Festival,Event PR,Festival PR.

LONDON, Thursday 15th May 2014: He’s ‘walked’ across the Thames and levitated Lindsay Lohan, now celebrity magician Dynamo is to bring his magic to the 2014 Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival powered by YouTube.

Dynamo and his team will take TV delegates behind-the-scenes, unveiling the production challenges of this global series, as well as giving an exclusive preview of his upcoming series shot in Mumbai.


Two of the most talked-about new talents in the industry, Steph and Dom, will appear alongside their Gogglebox execs to reveal just how this award-winning show is created; while Inside the Mind of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith promises to go where few dare to venture in a masterclass on some of TV’s most darkly surreal comedies (League of Gentleman, Psychoville, Inside No. 9).


The masterclasses were announced this week at the festival’s London launch and charity quiz.  Advisory chair Mel Leach revealed her theme of ‘The Business of Creativity’ which will be explored across the festival. It will includes sessions on the future of funding and how UK producers are faring on the global format scene.

“When business is booming, we have the opportunity to be incredibly creative because it gives us the freedom to take risks, to work with new talent, to technically innovate. A strong commercial sector is crucial for all producers,” said Leach.

The festival will also repeat its agenda-setting commissioning survey but will also turn the tables on producers by revealing the best and worst indies to work for.

Lisa Campbell, Festival Director said at the launch event “The 2014 Festival is going to be the one that you don’t want to miss. We’re curating a line-up of speakers and sessions that will challenge, inspire and surprise. Through ‘The Business of Creativity’ theme we’ll explore the hottest issues affecting the global television industry today.”

Early Bird tickets for the 2014 Festival are on sale now – book yours now before the deadline, June 30.

More announcements on speakers, masterclasses and sessions are coming soon, so sign up to the Festival Newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

Press Contact: Taylor Herring

Edinburgh Television Festival 2013: Programme Announced

Posted on May 21st, 2013 in Celebrity PR,Edinburgh International Television Festival,Event PR,Television Industry PR,Television PR.

LONDON, Tuesday 21st May 2013: The 38th annual Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (GEITF) today announces this year’s confirmed sessions.

Kevin Spacey is at the centre of this year’s festival, which is heading towards being the biggest celebration of creativity and innovation in the Festival’s history to date.  He will deliver this year’s MacTaggart Lecture, following in the footsteps of former speakers including Elisabeth Murdoch, Eric Schmidt, Mark Thompson, James Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Michael Grade and Rupert Murdoch. [More info on the MacTaggart here.]


Taking place on 22nd – 24th August 2013, the three day festival features a line-up of sessions that focus on the year’s most successful shows from the surprising breakthroughs to the big hitters and explores innovations and issues that the industry continues to face.  Idea generation, networking with the most influential people in the industry and a celebration of the rapidly changing distribution channels are just some of the draws at this year’s Festival.

The 2013 GEITF programme line-up features two of this year’s most talked about series: The Great British Bake Off and The Undateables.

Sessions with some of television’s most entertaining talent and execs include The Evolution of Puppetry with puppet wizard Brian Henson, and Making Crime Pay, featuring Jane Featherstone executive producer of this year’s breakout hit Broadchurch.

The Channel of the Year Awards return, hosted by Dara O Briain, with new categories, to recognise and celebrate this year’s most exceptional programming.

The newly expanded controllers strand now features one hour conversations with controllers of BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, BBC4, ITV, ITV Digital Channels, Channel 4, Channel 5, BskyB, Discovery Networks, UKTV, Sky Entertainment Channels and Sky Living, as well as further Multi Channel Commissioning Sessions.

GEITF will kick off with a sprinkling of stars in Great British Bake Off: Edinburgh Special which will be a Festival reworking of the renowned series hosted by the show’s own Mel and Sue. The live special edition of the BAFTA-award winning BBC Two show will feature the popular panel Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood as they judge the baking skills of TV’s top execs.  They will be taking part in the ultimate baking battle to take the crown for the TV industry’s Best Baker.  The experts will inspect, critique and sample the baked goodies and decide who gets to have their cake – and eat it.  Contestants include: Lisa Thomas, Manager, Lisa Thomas Management and Co-Director, Lola Entertainment and Philip Edgar-Jones, Head of Entertainment, BSkyB.


In The Evolution of Puppetry, Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and award-winning director, producer and puppeteer, will give an inside view of the use of puppets and how they have evolved on TV and the big screen, from The Muppet Show to the modern day.

Featuring an exclusive live musical performance, multi-award winning composer David Arnold will be discussing composing music for the world stage to the small screen including the Olympics, Sherlock and Bond.

The Undateables is one of the unexpected factual hits of the last few years, a series about love and disability that’s had everyone talking.   It’s a tough show to make, and The Undateables: A Masterclass will talk to commissioner Liam Humphreys and key members of the betty production team to get to the bottom of how they pull it off.

Meanwhile, A Pointless Masterclass will reveal how this cult hit has moved to become a BBC One favourite. Co-host of the show Richard Osman, co-creator and exec producer David Flynn, MD of Remarkable Television, and former Controller of BBC Daytime Liam Keelan will look at how the show was conceived and made the move from daytime to Saturday night hit.

No-one starts out intending to make a bad programme. The Worst TV I’ve Made That Taught Me Everything examines what happens when that is exactly what you end up with.  In a joyous celebration of failure, 4 brave TV execs will show ‘horror’ clips and talk to Wayne Garvie about the worst shows they’ve ever made. Brave guests include Jonathan Stadlen, Executive Producer, Knickerbockerglory, Murray Boland, Creative Director, CPL, Lisa Clark, Co-Founder and Director, Pett Productions.

A review of recent primetime successes reflects the enormous popularity of crime dramas.  Why does it always deliver?  Making Crime Pay investigates what makes the perfect crime drama and what the limitations are in an already overcrowded genre.  Confirmed panelists include: Broadchurch Executive Producer Jane Featherstone, Neil Cross, Creator of Luther and Mark Billingham, Crime Novelist.

Translating ideas for an American audience is explored in depth in Cracking the US Scripted Market.  The session will look at audience tastes, commissions vs co-production and dealing with the US networks.

Xbox, YouTube, and more – The New Buyers On The Block will look at the new commissioning players who have millions of pounds to spend on original content.  This session covers what they’re looking for, how to pitch to them and what to expect from a new breed of commissioners in our increasingly digital age.

Four of the biggest hitters in the world of talent management will tell us exactly how to seduce them and their starriest clients in Britain’s Got Talent – So How Do I Get My Hands on Some?  We’ll hear what kind of cold calling they respond to and what guarantees an instant rejection, how to navigate the challenges that can arise in the course of working with talent and discuss the shifting power struggles between broadcasters with shrinking budgets, producers with good ideas and agents with ‘box office’ talent.

Dara O Briain will be adding his own brand of humour as host of the Channel of the Year Awards 2013. New awards this year include Channel Breakthrough, Production Company and Programme Innovation.

GEITF have teamed up with BAFTA ROCLIFFE to host the final of this year’s New Sitcom Writing Competition. Hundreds of entries have been whittled down to two finalists by a jury of readers including comedy geniuses such as Jennifer Saunders and Jessica Hynes and industry execs including Kenton Allen (Executive Producer, Rev, Friday Night Dinner) and Myfanwy Moore (Controller of Comedy, ITV).  Both ten minute scripts will be performed live on stage at GEITF by a cast of comic talents in front of a judging panel including Shane Allen (Controller of Comedy, BBC) and other industry luminaries. The winning writer will then be picked in front of the audience and awarded a full script development deal with the BBC.

Further sessions with details to be announced in the coming months include Managing A Media Crisis, Are The Biggest Creative Risks Being Taken In Cable and Pitching Excellence.

Advisory Chair of the Festival, Karl Warner comments:  “This year’s schedule brings together a diverse mix of the world’s most creative and inspiring talent working in television. From Hollywood A-listers to cake baking legends; every burning issue and every form of storytelling will be debated, and celebrated.”

Executive Chair of the Festival, Elaine Bedell adds: Once again, this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival is bringing together an irresistible mix of key industry creatives, movers and shakers.  Karl and his committee have worked hard to make sure there’s something for everybody and I’ve no doubt that Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart will inspire the sort of debate and argument that makes Edinburgh the most enjoyable and entertaining media event of the year.”

Further sessions to be confirmed in due course.

GEITF is the essential fixture for everyone in the television industry wanting inspiration, networking, learning and fun.  The Festival is unique as it is created by the industry for the industry, bringing together the great and the good of the television world. Taking place on 22nd – 24th August 2013, the three-day Festival will feature a line-up of over 50 sessions and mixes the stars of the screen with the people behind the scenes that make them so recognisable.

Visit www.geitf.co.uk to register now. Follow the Festival on Twitter via @edinburghtvfest

Press Contact: Taylor Herring PR

Edinburgh TV Festival Confirm 2012 Programme

Posted on July 24th, 2012 in Arts PR,Awards PR,Edinburgh International Television Festival,Event PR.

LONDON, Thursday 26th July 2012: The 37th annual MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival has confirmed its full Festival programme, with the final schedule revealing it to be the most diverse, thought provoking line-up of creative and industry heavyweights to date.

Taking place for the first time between Thursday 23rd and Saturday 25th August, the three-day Festival will feature a line up of sessions that focus on this year’s biggest television breakthroughs and finest successes, as well as addressing the current and future issues that the industry is facing.

Delivering this year’s MacTaggart Lecture is Elisabeth Murdoch, who follows in the footsteps of former speakers who include Eric Schmidt, Mark Thompson, James Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Michael Grade, Greg Dyke, Peter Fincham and David Liddiment.

The opening session kicks off MGETIF 2012 with Celebrity Juice taking to the stage. Keith Lemon will host this live special edition of ITV2’s award-winning comedy panel game show, featuring team captains Holly Willoughby and Emma Bunton, who will lead bang-tidy teams featuring some of TV’s biggest names.

To honour Channel 4’s thirtieth anniversary, the Festival will look back on how the channel has broken creative boundaries throughout three decades on air, whilst speculating on its future strategy. Channel 4 – Still A Rebel at 30? asks whether the channel can still fulfill its remit to innovate, experiment and be creative, and whether it can really remain a middle aged rebel. Former CEO Michael Jackson uses his unique experience to challenge current boss David Abraham in an authoritative and engaging debate about what Channel 4 actually stands for today.

BBC DG 2.0 will ask the experts what key decisions face incoming Director-General George Entwistle, as Mark Thompson prepares to depart the post. How will the BBC enter the next phase of its history? How might the BBC continue to evolve under his stewardship?

Looking back to the biggest international event of the year, the Festival’s Delivering the Olympic Dream session will bring together core members of the production team to relay the good, the bad and the ugly moments of the BBC and London 2012’s delivery of ‘the greatest show on Earth’.  While an international overview of 2012 is addressed by Egyptian doctor turned political satirist Bassem Youssef, whose observational ‘fake news’ programme has developed an international cult following, as he delivers the 2012 Worldview Address.

Looking ahead, the CCO of Internet streaming giant Netflix, Ted Sarandos, described as the man ‘everyone in Hollywood wants a meeting with’, will speak in The Futureview Address, addressing the company’s upcoming plans within the UK market.

This year’s exciting interviews include prolific British film director Michael Apted, who this year brought the eighth installment of the iconic Up series to television screens, for The Richard Dunn Memorial Interview as he reflects on a career that has spawned numerous BAFTA Awards.

One of Britain’s most distinguished TV documentary producers, Adam Curtis, will provide a Masterclass, sharing insight and wisdom from his thirty years in groundbreaking film making, and discussing his many pioneering investigations for the BBC Current Affairs unit.

The Alternative MacTaggart will feature prolific broadcaster, satirist, screenwriter and journalist Charlie Brooker speaking live to award-winning Independent columnist Grace Dent. The Screenwipe star will discuss his experiences as a writer, producer and showrunner, as well as talking about his latest productions and the world of television criticism.

Meanwhile Welsh TV actress and writer Ruth Jones will be talking to Boyd Hilton about being an actor, writer and co-founding her own production company in their session, Ruth Jones: Keeping up with Jonesy.

Some of this year’s biggest and most talked about TV shows, both home grown formats and transatlantic TV hits, will get the Masterclass treatment, with appearances from the figures behind their success.

Outstanding drama, comedy and documentary series feature in the Festival’s Masterclass line-up.  One of this year’s most talked about series, BBC One drama Sherlock, hosts a Masterclass with appearances from show creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and producer Sue Vertue.

A Modern Family Masterclass welcomes Emmy award winning writer and producer Steve Levitan, the co-creator of Modern Family. Steve will reveal what it’s like to be the brains behind a multi-award winning show which regularly attracts audiences of over 16 million viewers in America alone, including the President!

The Educating Essex Masterclass will feature Series Director David Clews, Channel 4 Commissioner Mark Raphael and the indisputable stars of the show, Head Teacher Vic Goddard and his Deputy Stephen Drew. They will reveal why they feel Pass Mores School in Essex touched viewers’ hearts and became one of the most discussed shows of the autumn. They will also detail the realities of managing 65 cameras, 1000 students, parents and consent forms, to make education a breakthrough TV hit.

In addition, the Horrible Histories creative team will be telling delegates how they bring the past to life with brilliant sketches, songs and cartoons,   Packed full of shocking facts, bonkers beliefs and gruesome punishments, the programme has transformed the children’s television landscape and continues to inform and entertain millions of children and grown-ups alike..

The challenges and creativity involved in producing successful dramas are addressed by a number of sessions at the year’s Festival.  Homeland Leaves Home: The Journey of a Hit International Format will feature conversation with Gideon Raff and Avi Nir, the Israeli creators of the series Prisoners of War (Hatufim) and those who brought the drama series to life in the US as Homeland. They will review how the deal was born and the business and creative challenges that came with adapting a big Israeli hit series into a successful American programme.

The First Ten Minutes will examine hit dramas Scott and Bailey and Call the Midwife with the creative teams behind them. The session will explore how to make the crucial first ten minutes of that first episode compelling and addictive, examine the significance of the marketing and PR before the show airs and question what impact the channel it is aired on has on it.

The TV documentary will also come under examination in Alive and Kicking Docs on the Box, exploring how best to capture documentary truth, off the back of contemporary documentary formats such as Educating Essex, One Born Every Minute and 24 Hours in A & E, all of which have accrued both critical praise and ratings success. In today’s documentary formats, how heavily are we relying on the contributors to make the show for us?

Meanwhile, in a special series of screenings, delegates will be treated to an exclusive first look at the first episode of the next series of Doctor Who, while Frank Spotnitz, the award winning American television writer and producer best known for his work on The X-Files, will discuss new UK spy-thriller Hunted.  Also joining the compelling array of previews is a screening of Loving Miss Hatto, followed by a rare and exclusive interview with comedienne Victoria Wood.

The ever popular Meet the Controller sessions return, as Channel Controllers draw on their highs and lows throughout 2012; BBC One’s Danny Cohen, ITV1’s Peter Fincham, Channel 4’s Jay Hunt, Channel 5’s Jeff Ford, Sky’s Stuart Murphy, BBC Four’s Richard Klein, and ITV2’s Angela Jain and UKTV’s Emma Tennant, will all be taking the hot seat.

And with new multichannel controller sessions added to the controllers strand this year, delegates will also get to hear about shopping lists for MTV, Comedy Central, Discovery, Nat Geo and more.

For the first time, Deloitte’s annual report on the state of the UK TV sector will make it onto the conference agenda in Stats, Lies and Videotape? Key findings within the report will go up for discussion amongst a panel of invited industry celebrity guests, looking at the top talking points in television in 2012.

Further new sessions include China: A Long Walk for a Short Drink?, where Zespa media Managing Director and Chinese TV industry expert Jean Dong will take delegates on a journey to her native China, explaining how to sell your format in this rapidly expanding market.

The Festival will tackle the profound implications of the Scottish referendum on independence on the broadcasting landscapeLeading political and cultural figures will examine the practicalities and effects of dismantling the BBC, the introduction of legal production quotas and competitive tax breaks and the political battleground that is EastEnders.

It will also address the changing nature of media platforms as YouTube Superstar Jamal Edwards, the hottest internet mogul on the block, will sit alongside Justin Gayner, co-founder of Channel Flip, to discuss making millions – of hits and pounds – via direct to consumer platforms in Who Needs a Commission Anyway?

While We’re Stealing Your Stuff: The Piracy Problem will be dissecting how the web is changing ownership business models.  In a world where television can be instantly and infinitely copied and shared, what can TV creatives do to make sure they make money and retain creative control over their output?

This year’s schedule features new live pitching sessions to encourage and support new ideas and creativity within the industry.  In The Pinewood Pitching Competition, programme makers will battle it out in front of a live Edinburgh TV festival audience to win a Pinewood sponsored studio pilot. Applications are now open for programme makers to submit their idea for a studio based format, with the best five invited to pitch to a panel of channel controllers live at the Festival.

Budding broadcast entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to get a film commissioned for Channel 4’s arts strand Random Acts in an exciting live pitch.  Ones To Watch Elevator Pitch will see twelve finalists present their ideas to Channel 4 Arts Commissioning Editor Tabitha Jackson.

Then looking back over the past 12 months, The Channel of the Year Awards will be voted for by festival delegates, who will be able to cast their vote before attending the live ceremony on Friday 24thAugust.

Along with headline sponsors MediaGuardian and YouTube, the Festival is delighted to have 13 major sponsors confirmed this year, including 3 brand new, the Canadian Tourism Commission, UKTV and Xbox. Collectively the sponsors will enhance the delegates’ festival experience with networking, business insight and demonstration of the latest technologies transforming entertainment in the living-room.

Registration for the 2012 MGEITF is now open. Visit www.mgetif.co.uk for further information.

Follow the Festival at twitter.com/edinburghtvfest

Taylor Herring PR Tel: 0208 206 5151




Kenton Allen appointed as Advisory Chair for MGEITF 2012

Posted on October 4th, 2011 in Edinburgh International Television Festival,Event PR,Festival PR,Television Industry PR,Television PR.

The MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival today announces that Kenton Allen, Chief Executive Big Talk Productions, has been appointed as Advisory Chair for the 2012 festival.

Allen takes over the reins from BBC Director of Vision George Entwistle, who held the position for the duration of the 36th festival year.

Kenton is a multi award-winning programme-maker with credits including the BAFTA-winning sitcoms The Royle Family and Rev and the Oscar-winning film Six Shooter. He was Creative Head of BBC Comedy and BBC Comedy North between 2003 and 2008, producing and executive-producing a diverse range of programming including the BAFTA-winning That Mitchell and Webb Look.

Kenton’s appointment as Chief Executive of Big Talk Productions has seen rapid growth in the Independent Producer over the last 3 years, alongside a number of high profile and award winning productions and a nomination for Best Independent Production Company at last year’s TV festival.

Kenton Allen said: “I think George did a brilliant job this year, and I relish the prospect of getting stuck in and making 2012’s Festival the best it can be. There has never been a more creative and exciting time to be working in television and no other event showcases this like the MGEITF festival. It’s a very special event and I haven’t missed one in 15 years so I feel very honoured to be taking on the role and I’m really looking forward to helping make it unmissable.”

Elaine Bedell, MGEITF Executive Chair said: “I’m very pleased that Kenton is taking on the role of Advisory chair.  In recent years, the role has been held by executives working for the main UK broadcasters, and I think it will be a real benefit for the UK’s main television festival to be chaired this year by someone with such standing from the independent sector, who perfectly understands the pressures and demands of the UK production business.  Added to which, Kenton’s award-winning production experience in comedy and entertainment promises a 2012 festival programme with more than usual stardust and sparkle.”

MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival takes place 24 – 26 August 2012. For further details visit www.mgeitf.co.uk

Taylor Herring PR + 44 (208) 206 5151

Notes to Editors

About The Advisory Chair

The Festival Advisory Chair is responsible for the editorial direction of the TV Festival’s programme – from commissioning session ideas to overseeing final production. Working closely with the Festival Office, the Advisory Chair brings together a committee from across the entire industry to advise and produce festival sessions.

Further Info about Kenton Allen

Prior to joining the BBC he was the Creative Director of Elizabeth Murdoch’s Shine Ltd which he joined from his role as Head of Entertainment Development at Granada TV. He began his Television career when Jonathan Ross invited him to leave the world of BBC Radio where he produced, amongst a diverse range of programming, Loose Ends for Radio 4 and Steve Wright In The Afternoon for Radio 1 to join one of the first wave of British Indies – Channel X Productions.

At Channel X he produced over 250 live editions of the comedy chat show Tonight with Jonathan Ross for Channel 4. At Big Talk Kenton leads a thriving and fast growing company that specialises in Drama, Comedy and Entertainment. He recently produced the BAFTA-winning Rev and BBC Three smash-hit Him & Her.

He is the Executive Producer of C4’s hugely popular Friday Night Dinner. Kenton also EP’s the entertainment series King Of… with Claudia Winkleman (Channel 4), Show Me The Funny (ITV), The Pranker (with Running Bare Films for BBC3), Chickens written by and starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas and Jonny Sweet (C4) and brand new sitcom Threesome (Comedy Central UK).

In the USA, he is EP on Free Agents, a series for NBC starring Hank Azaria, based on the original Channel 4 series. Big Talk have also recently announced that Greg Daniels (The Office) will be adapting Friday Night Dinner, also for NBC.

He is married to the writer Imogen Edwards-Jones.

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