TV Fest To Feature Jamie Oliver, Dragons Den Sessions, and Race For Web Clicks

Submitted by edg on Fri, 16 May '08 11.28pm

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Scottish comedy writer, director and producer Armando Iannucci, are among speakers appearing at the 34th MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The media industry festival programme, announced on Tuesday, also includes Peter Fincham (giving the MacTaggart lecture), Jay Hunt, Andy Duncan, Danny Cohen, Richard Woolfe, Ben Gale, Zai Bennett, Julian Bellamy, Russell T Davies, Ross Kemp, Gok Wan and Heroes creator Tim Kring.

In a release, the Festival said it "will showcase the talent which continues to make British television great whilst debating the future of Public Service Broadcasting." The festival runs from Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th August 2008.


Jamie Oliver will give the Richard Dunn Memorial Interview, offering insights into his personal business vision, creative strategy and management style, and showing off his culinary talents in a live demonstration.

Armando Iannucci will deliver the Alternative MacTaggart Lecture, described as "a platform that gives media visionaries the opportunity to present an inspirational view of the broadcasting future." In previous years speakers have included Vint Cerf, Al Gore and James Murdoch. Iannucci promises to deliver "an optimistic and uplifting view for people creating high quality programming, a ‘Yes We Can' speech for the many talented creatives in the industry".

American writer, consultant and academic Clay Shirky is also confirmed to present this year's Futureview Address. Shirky an influential commentator on the web, social media and how society is adapting to new technologies, writes for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired. His Keynote will be based on his recent book ‘Here Comes Everybody', which explores how simple social technologies are creating radical changes in society, politics, media and culture.

Panels and discussions

Controllers from all the major channels including Peter Fincham (ITV1), Jay Hunt (BBC1), Ben Gale (Five), Danny Cohen (BBC3), Richard Woolfe (Sky), Julian Bellamy (C4), Angela Jain & Peter Dale (E4 & More 4) and Zai Bennett (ITV2), will be discussing their channel highlights and looking ahead to 2009.

One session expected to set the agenda is a live debate on the subject of Public Service Broadcasting with both Andy Duncan, Chief Executive of Channel 4, and Jana Bennett, Director of BBC Vision, already confirmed to speak.

Hanish Mykura, Head of Documentaries at Channel 4, will join journalist Peter Taylor, Dawn Porter and Alan Hayling from Renegade Pictures, on a session entitled What's Up, Docs?, which will examine the resurgence of the single doc through strands such as Wonderland and Cutting Edge. The panellists will discuss whether we will see a move away from formats in the future and whether this is an example of channels attempting to rediscover their public service values.

Producers Dragons Den Sessions

For the first time, the Festival is introducing its own Dragons' Den sessions, offering producers the chance to pitch for real development money. Once registered, delegates will be able to apply for one of the 12 slots (four per genre - formats, comedy and entertainment and factual/docs) with the best being selected for a live pitch hosted by Evan Davis.

Viral Grand Prix

The Festival will also be staging the first ‘Viral Grand Prix' - an internet race staged in the three week run-up to the Festival, where entrants will be trying to secure the most views for an original clip. Videos will be hosted on the Festival website and the winner will be announced at a session looking at guerrilla broadcasting. Panellists will include Mr Holy Moly, comedian Adam Buxton and Peter Bazalgette from

Masterclasses, entertainment

Dr Who executive producer Russell T Davies, actor Ross Kemp, whose series Ross Kemp in Afghanistan has been a hit for Sky One and Heroes creator Tim Kring are also confirmed to give Masterclasses, supported by Broadcast.

Tim Kring said: "It's an honour and a privilege to be a part of the Edinburgh International TV Festival at such an important time in television's history. Because of Heroes' large international following I felt it was of the utmost importance to attend a festival that for more than 30 years has been at the forefront of the television industry, leading it into the future."

A one-off MGEITF special of Gok Wan's How to Look Good Naked is to be one of the highlights of the weekend's entertainment alongside Before They Were Famous, with Angus Deayton, who will present footage of top TV execs attempting to make it big in front of the camera, and a live special of Channel 4's 8 out of 10 Cats hosted by Jimmy Carr.

Tim Hincks, Executive Committee Chair 2008 and Chief Executive, Endemol UK, said: "Don't believe the hype or the miserablists - television and creativity are in great shape. And this year the television festival is unashamedly upbeat featuring an impossibly mouthwatering mix of celebrity and talent from in front of the camera and behind, and from all platforms. It promises to be the multi-media event of the year."

Andrew MacKenzie, 2008 MGEITF Advisory Chair and Head of Factual Entertainment at Channel Four, said: "We're delighted to be able to launch MGEITF 2008 with such an exciting line up of speakers. I think this year's festival has something for everyone...policymakers, creative talent and celebrity stalkers. It comes at a crucial time in the debate over the future of public service television. But is also a showcase of some of British and World television's greatest creative forces."