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Edinburgh TV Festival moves online for 2020

It will be staged as a digital alternative.


Dorothy Byrne delivers the MacTaggart Lecture in 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dorothy Byrne delivers the MacTaggart Lecture in 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Dorothy Byrne delivers the MacTaggart Lecture in 2019 (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Edinburgh TV festival has been moved online for 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The television industry event was due to take place in Scotland in August but will now be staged as a digital alternative.

It will still include the annual MacTaggart lecture on the state of the industry and sessions with the channel controllers, as well as a string of other events and sessions.

An ongoing programme of digital content will also launch in the coming weeks and the festival will offer support to TV freelancers by giving them free access to the content.

Freelance members of the industry have been particularly affected by the crisis, seeing their work dry up overnight.

The festival will still run in full the TV Foundation’s schemes, including The Network for tomorrow’s TV talent, Ones to Watch to celebrate and develop the best the industry has to offer, and TV PhD bringing together television and academia.

The festival’s TV Awards will be held later in the year.

Campbell Glennie, managing director of the festival, said: “We have decided that, in the best interests of everyone, we would seek to bring together, educate and support, that we will not be staging the TV Festival physically in Edinburgh this August.

“However, our industry is based on creative innovation and so too is the festival.

“For the past week we have been in consultation with our board, partners and supporters to re-examine not just what we could achieve this year, but more importantly what we should be doing to connect, discuss and find solutions to issues both perennial and particular to the evolving challenges we all face.

“I would like to thank our executive chair Graham Stuart, board, sponsors and advisory committee for their support, advice and guidance during the past few weeks, and look forward to working with them all to create new projects in 2020 that will respond to the challenges we’re all facing and bring us closer together.

“Television’s vital role in our lives has never been so present, valued and cherished, and so the team will be doing everything we can in 2020 to keep discussion flowing, talent supported and diversity encouraged. It will not be the festival we know, but it will still be the festival we love.”

Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two and festival advisory chairman, added: “I believe that Edinburgh’s role as a lightning rod for our industry is more important than ever this year.

“The key themes we’ll be discussing – the future of the PSBs in the UK ecology, the role of TV in the climate emergency, reflecting the diversity of the audience in who makes and is featured in our shows – are brought into even sharper relief by the coronavirus crisis.

“I look forward to working with the team to bring that spirit to everyone between now and August.”

PA Media