The Edinburgh TV Festival is excited to announce the first sessions of what promises to be a jam-packed schedule for this year’s Festival. Led by 2022 Advisory Chair, Afua Hirsch, this year’s Festival returns to an in-person event in Edinburgh and in the first sessions and speakers announced, game-changers are front and centre; including the recently announced Alternative MacTaggart speaker, Rose Ayling-Ellis.

The multi-award-winning actor, Brian Cox, will be discussing his career in an in depth-interview which will give an insight into the Scot’s thoughts on US vs UK drama, identity and his working-class roots as well as what it’s like to portray one of the most iconic characters on contemporary TV in Succession’s Logan Roy.

Brian Cox (Photo: David Ho)

Comedian, writer and actor, and creator of the critically acclaimed Starstruck, Rose Matafeo, will be in conversation with journalist, author and screenwriter, Dolly Alderton, whose Everything I Know About Love hits the BBC this week. In a frank and funny peer-to-peer conversation, Rose and Dolly will discuss the creative process of bringing their work to the small screen and share their experiences of life in TV and beyond.

(L-R) Dolly Alderton, Rose Matafeo (Photo: Andi Crown)

The Masterclass thread will feature a popular modern classic, a Gen Z phenomenon and Disney+’s first UK drama original. Ghosts, the BBC’s hugely popular comedy from the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland, has entertained audiences for three seasons – and a fourth having recently completed filming – with its most unusual of house-share sitcom premises. Cast and producers will discuss how they took the “boredom of eternity” and created a hit comedy which has sold across the globe.

(L-R) Jim Howick, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Mathew Baynton

Netflix’s break out hit, Heartstopper, has won the hearts of a generation with a coming-of-age romance, creating stars of its young cast. Creator and author Alice Oseman will be joined by Executive Producer Patrick Walters and breakout starKit Connor, with more cast joining the panel to be announced very soon. There will also be a chance for delegates to take an exclusive deep dive into Disney+’s first UK-originated drama Wedding Season and hear from cast members and the team behind it.

(L-R) Alice Oseman, Kit Connor (Photo: Jemima Marriott), Patrick Walters

“As we head back to Edinburgh, we are delighted to reveal some of the amazing talent and industry speakers who will be in town. Rose Ayling-Ellis will deliver a landmark Alternative MacTaggart, we have the casts of some of TV’s most exciting and loved shows, and of course, the inimitable Brian Cox, as well as sessions discussing urgent industry matters. And that is just the start, with lots more to come.””

Stewart Clarke, Creative Director, Edinburgh TV Festival

Topical and industry insight sessions will examine the issues that are front and centre for the industry right now:

Patrick Holland will chair a session on Funding Factual Programming; Formats World Tour takes a visual tour of the big entertainment formats that have become hits in different territories across the world; Former Festival staffer and podcast Queen, Jackie Adedeji takes a look at the rise and rise of the podcast and how they are influencing TV in Sonic BoomRichard Osman leads a panel which will dissect the future of big entertainment shows in Saturday Night’s Alright?; Life Beyond TV discuss the reasons why people are leaving the industry with a panel of ex-TV professionals from across the spectrum; Why Do We Still Need Commissioners? sees digital talent, studios and traditional commissioners exploring the role and relevance of commissioners in this new age of self-broadcasting; and Adjani Salmon and Genevieve Barr will be part of a powerhouse panel discussing how to ensure diverse talent and stories are properly represented in drama…

The Festival’s refreshed flagship controller sessions Spotlight On… will return featuring interviews with creative content chiefs from broadcasters and streamers. Creative chiefs from platforms including Amazon, BBC, C4, Disney, ITV, Netflix, Sky, UKTV, and their commissioning teams, will discuss their vision for their channels and platforms as well as addressing wider industry issues. The line-up includes Georgia Brown and Dan Grabiner, Charlotte Moore and BBC Three Controller Fiona Campbell, Ian Katz, Kevin Lygo, Anne Mensah, Kate Townsend, Marcus Arthur and many more.

The Edinburgh TV Festival returns to a live and in-person event on 24-26 August 2022.