How simple everything looked this time last year.
We had what, in retrospect, seemed like a strong and stable government as well as a new wave of strong and stable leadership at the top of the broadcasters.
Fake news had not reared its ugly head; Bake Off had not cleared off and you’d be forgiven for thinking Brexit was the most important meal of the day.
It all made for a straightforward Edinburgh TV Festival (barring the fact Vice chief exec Shane Smith was, for a long time, determined to use only bullet points and a bottle of Scotch to get through his MacTaggart Lecture…).
As it was, Smith’s speech, in which he made the vital point that traditional television is losing/failing to properly engage younger audiences, was the only real area of contention.
While some argued that broadcasters dismissed his claims too readily during the Leaders’ Debate, he was tackled head on by a terrier-like Jay Hunt in an edge-of-your-seat post-MacTaggart interview.
This year we return to the issue in Nothing Will be Televised: Have Young People Switched Off?
With BBC TV only reaching 66% of 16-34s last year, the average age of an E4 viewer pegged at 42 and with Channel 4’s share of audience among 16-34s down more than 10% in the first four months of the year, we’ll look at the shifting landscape of youth TV – plus what lessons can be learnt from the storming success of Love Island. (Sex and nudity drive ratings? Who knew…)
Speaking of which, Phoebe Waller-Bridge discussing the making of Fleabag and her upcoming projects with BBC comedy boss Shane Allen is shaping up as a Friday afternoon Festival highlight. Perfect fodder for tired and broken delegates.
Friday also sees a masterclass with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.
With Netflix’s Black Mirror among the most creative, imaginative and at times chilling dramas around, it will be fascinating to discuss the prescience of some of Brooker’s writing – notably the parallels between 2013 episode, The Waldo Moment, with last year’s Donald Trump political campaign.
Factor in his take on working with Netflix rather than a traditional broadcaster and this is another reason it’s worth sticking around on the final day.
Trump, the election, Brexit, terror attacks, Grenfell Tower …2016/17 has been characterised by political shock and some of the most appalling tragedies.
It has resulted in voracious news consumption, but never before have so-called post-truth politics and fake news had such a hold on society.
Answering some of the biggest questions facing the mainstream news media are a panel of leading figures from politics and media, including CNN’s Deborah Rayner; ex-BBC news boss and comms director for former prime minister David Cameron Sir Craig Oliver, and from the online world, Versha Sharma from Now This.
The subject will also be debated in our Question Time debate chaired by Kirsty Wark and with panellists including Damian Collins. Not only chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select committee, Collins was the minister responsible for launching a cross-party fake news inquiry and grilling companies including Facebook about their responsibilities.
Meanwhile, we’re hoping to tackle the issue in a more fun way with a satire panel looking at comedies role in this uncertain, bordering-on-satirical news environment.
Throw in Russell Brand, our Alternative MacTaggart, a session on British Muslims in the media, Jay Hunt’s last Channel 4 controller session and some US heavyweights and we could well be making some news ourselves – hopefully of the non-fake variety.