BBC Director General to Give TV Fest's MacTaggart Lecture

Submitted by edg on Tue, 4 May '10 7.41pm

BBC Director General Mark Thompson will give this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.

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.

The public service broadcaster, which is still funded by the income charged on UK households for television licences, has been at the eye of the storm in previous MacTaggart Lectures.

Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman lambasted the demise of quality programming at the BBC in the MacTaggart Lecture in 2007.

Last year, James Murdoch attacked the expansion of "state-sponsored journalism" at the public broadcaster as "a threat to the plurality and independence of news provision".

Thompson is expected to respond to his MacTaggart Lecture forerunners by saying that he has consolidated the BBC's activities, while putting more money into quality programming.

Mark Thompson said this morning; "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, “Since James Murdoch gave last year’s MacTaggart Lecture, the future of the BBC has become a national talking point. It’s a real coup therefore that a year on the BBC's top man has agreed to share his vision about the future of the corporation in what promises to be one of the key media events of 2011."

The MacTaggart Lecture will take place on Friday 27th August at 18.45pm.