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Mark Thompson Confirmed To Give MacTaggart Lecture at MGEITF.

LONDON, Tuesday 4th May 2010: BBC Director-General Mark Thompson will give this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.


Instituted 34 years ago to open the annual Edinburgh International Television Festival, the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture always attracts major names in UK and international broadcasting and is known for producing controversial and agenda-setting speeches. Past MacTaggart speakers include 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.

Mark Thompson, Director General, BBC said; “In what is a big year for the BBC as well as the rest of the broadcasting industry, it’s a great privilege to be asked to give the MacTaggart Lecture, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Deborah Turness, 2010 MGEITF Advisory Chair and Editor of ITV News, said, “Edinburgh is the first stop on the media calendar following the general election, and the MacTaggart will once again set the agenda for the weekend. In what promises to be a pivotal year for the BBC, I am delighted that Mark has agreed to share his vision with the Edinburgh audience.”

Tim Hincks, MGEITF Executive Chair and CEO of Endemol UK added, “It’s a real coup that the BBC’s top man has agreed to share his vision about the future of the corporation at Edinburgh . It will undoubtedly be one of the key media events of 2010.”

The MacTaggart Lecture will take place on Friday 27th August at 6.45pm.

Mark Thompson was appointed Director-General of the BBC in 2004, after being Chief Executive of Channel 4 since December 2001. He had previously worked at the BBC for more than 20 years, becoming Director of Television in April 2000, responsible for the management and running of all BBC network television channels. Mark Thompson was previously Director of National and Regional Broadcasting, responsible for all broadcasting activities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and for local and regional broadcasting in England.

He joined the BBC in 1979 as a production trainee, helped launch Watchdog in 1981 and Breakfast Time in 1983 and he also worked on London Plus before becoming an output editor on Newsnight in 1985. He was appointed Editor of the Nine O’Clock News in 1988 and Editor of Panorama in 1990.

Thompson became Head of Features in 1992 and Head of Factual Programmes in 1994, playing a key role in the successful performance of BBC One and BBC Two and introducing series such as Animal Hospital, Modern Times, The House and Ready Steady Cook. As Controller of BBC Two from 1996 to 1998 he saw the channel retain its share of viewing at a time of increased competition. During this period BBC Two won acclaim for its drama (Our Mutual Friend, The Cops, Amongst Women, Shooting The Past), its entertainment and comedy (I’m Alan Partridge, The Fast Show, The Royle Family, Big Train), and its factual, arts and leisure programmes (The Nazis – A Warning From History, Storyville, Naked, Back To The Floor, Ground Force). He was a member of the BBC’s Charter Review Task Force on Entertainment in 1991; the Programme Strategy Review team, led by Alan Yentob and Liz Forgan, in 1993; and he chaired the Edinburgh International Television Festival in 1996.

Registration for the 2010 MGEITF is now open. The early bird rate of £425 + VAT is currently available until 22 June. Click here for more information

Festival Press Contact: Taylor Herring PR +44 208 206 5151


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