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Edinburgh Television Festival 2013: Programme Announced.

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 to register now. Follow the Festival on Twitter via @edinburghtvfest

Press Contact: Taylor Herring PR


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