Particle physicist and TV presenter, Professor Brian Cox, is among the speakers lined up for this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival.
The festival – now in its 36th year and sponsored by MediaGuardian – last month announced that its keynote, MacTaggart Lecture is to be given by the executive chair of internet search engine giants, Google: Dr Eric Schmidt.
Cox is to present the Alternative MacTaggart. The Richard Dunn Memorial Interview, meanwhile, is to feature 'comedy mogul' and founder of the Avalon Group, Jon Thoday.
The festival is taking place between August 26 and 28.
Three-time winner of the Royal Television Society (RTS) Journalist of the Year award, Dubai-based Sky News reporter, Alex Crawford, will deliver the Worldview Lecture, focusing – say the organisers – “on recent events in the Middle East, and the changing role of news in growing, multicultural society”.
The producers of ITV2's The Only Way is Essex will be at the festival to “talk vajazzling, spray tanning and the blurring of fact and fiction”.
Continues a statement issued by the organisers: “The stars and creators of the massive ratings and critical success Downton Abbey will be deconstructing its popularity, examining its narrative structure and its modern appeal, as well as exclusively previewing the new series – a must-see for all fans.
“Award-winning actress, writer and new entrant to the British comedy pantheon, Miranda Hart, will give a masterclass covering the creative process and the future of comedy.
“Journalist and presenter Miriam O'Reilly joins a panel discussion examining the relationship between older women and television in Too Old for HD? The session will explore the different ways TV women have adapted – or not – with the changing face of television.”
The statement goes on: “In a year when new boundaries have been pushed in comedy programmes, 1980s light entertainment legend, Jim Davidson, reflects on the industry that loved him, supported him but ultimately rejected him, as he discusses the changing nature of acceptability in comedy and television as a whole.
“Sofie Gråbøl, star of hit Danish crime thriller (and breakout BBC4 success) The Killing is joined by producer Piv Bernth to celebrate Sarah Lund, the cult following for the programme and everyone’s favourite jumpers.
“Danny Cohen, Peter Fincham, Jay Hunt, Stuart Murphy, Janice Hadlow, Jeff Ford, Richard Klein, James Hunt will feature in the 2011 Controllers Sessions – each one guaranteed to provide an in-depth and informative look at what their channel has in store for viewers in the future, whilst answering audience questions.”
The advisory chair of the festival, George Entwistle, Controller of BBC Knowledge Commissioning, is quoted, as saying: “The television industry is in an exciting place and this year’s Festival is going to be fun, it’s going to be frenetic, and you’ll have some tough choices to make between the four concurrent content streams, not to mention workshops, screenings, networking, parties and plenty of debate. I can’t wait to get to Edinburgh for what is set to be the most ambitious Festival to date.”
Delegate passes can be booked here: www.mgeitf.co.uk