Covid-19 forces Edinburgh TV Festival online only

The Edinburgh TV Festival (ETF) is to become a digital-only event as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Festival will not have a physical presence this year but organisers said it will still deliver The MacTaggart Lecture, controller sessions and its awards, as well as the TV Foundation’s talent schemes.

Digital sessions and content will launch in the coming weeks with the program to be announced shortly, organisers added. Details of participants and speakers are also yet to be revealed.

Campbell Glennie, MD of the TV festival and foundation, 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.”

Freelancers go free

Organisers said that the 2020 festival would be available at no cost for freelancers, while a stream of online content would be launched in the coming weeks, led by creative director and former TBI editor Stewart Clarke and advisory chair and BBC Two controller Patrick Holland.

The exec added that the key themes would include: the future of the PSBs in the UK; the role of TV in the climate emergency; and reflecting diversity.

The festival’s executive chair, Graham Stuart, said: “An August without Edinburgh has always been unthinkable for the UK television industry. And it is with the greatest admiration for the resilience and imagination of the entire Edinburgh Television Festival team I can assure the industry that 2020 will be no different. Maybe just a little…”



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