David Olusoga to deliver MacTaggart Lecture


DAVID OLUSOGA will deliver the Edinburgh TV Festival’s prestigious keynote speech, the MacTaggart Lecture on 24 August.

The Edinburgh TV Festival (ETF) is the UK’s leading television industry event.

This year’s festival will be a digital event as a result of social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Olusoga said: “I am enormously honoured to accept the invitation to deliver this years’ MacTaggart Lecture.

“We are living through an extraordinary moment. The pandemic has exposed deep economic and racial divisions and demands for profound and systemic change are louder now than they have been for half a century. Like every industry, television faces a moment of reflection and decision. I’m honoured to have the chance to contribute to that important debate.”

The 50-year-old historian, academic, broadcaster, writer and producer, is a familiar face on TV screens as presenter and commentator. His shows include A House Through TimeBlack and British: A Forgotten History and the BAFTA award-winning Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olusoga, grew up in Gateshead, north east England.

A professor of public history at Manchester University, an award-winning documentary maker and columnist for The Voice newspaper, Olusoga has worked in television in front of, and behind, the camera for over 20 years.

Olusoga, who was named as one of the festival’s TV25 (now renamed Ones to Watch) in 1998, is the latest in a host of leading voices in the TV industry to give the agenda-setting keynote speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Michaela Coel, whose latest acclaimed series, I May Destroy You, is currently showing on the BBC, is among those who have delivered the lecture in the past.

In her address in 2018, Coel spoke about racism and her personal experience of sexual assault, which is what her new series is partly based on.

Festival advisory chair for 2020, Patrick Holland, said: “I could not be more delighted that David has agreed to be our MacTaggart lecturer. As the preeminent historian working in British television today, David has devoted his working life to telling the stories we, as a society, have collectively chosen to forget, or ignore. 

“As an industry we need to ask what stories we are going to tell now, who is telling them and who gets to choose what gets made.  I have every expectation that David’s MacTaggart will be a lightning rod for debate, offering deep insight and understanding, challenging us with a powerful vision of what needs to change.”

The festival’s executive chair, Graham Stuart said: “As the defining element of Edinburgh’s far-reaching voice in the global conversation the MacTaggart Lecture needs a powerful, eloquent and intuitive speaker to seize the moment. In David Olusoga we have found exactly the right person to map a path forward for the broadcasting industry at this socially critical time.”

For more information about this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival visit www.thetvfestival.com

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