WRITER and director Armando Iannucci will deliver this year’s James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the keynote address at the 40th anniversary of the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.
The Oscar and Emmy-nominated satirist, who directed the comedy I’m Alan Partridge and political comedies The Thick Of It and Veep, will discuss the theme of what television channels are for, as well as the future of BBC funding and the changing dynamic of how the public view TV.
“Nobody knows anything, and in my MacTaggart lecture, I’m sure that will become abundantly clear. I’ll do my very best, though, to show why TV still matters”Armando Iannucci
He said: “In the current climate where no one knows what the hell is going to happen to TV schedules, revenues, watching habits, funding, quality control, the BBC, investment, licence fees, charters, and government interference, I’m terribly excited to be asked to join the debate in this, perhaps our most spectacularly clueless year.
“Nobody knows anything, and in my MacTaggart lecture, I’m sure that will become abundantly clear. I’ll do my very best, though, to show why TV still matters.”
Zai Bennett, the director of Sky Atlantic and former controller of BBC Three, who is chairman of the advisory committee at the festival, said he hoped to make the festival more “international and entertaining” than ever.
He said: “I can’t think of a more appropriate MacTaggart than Armando.
“With talent at the very heart of this year’s festival he is the perfect choice to deliver a thought-provoking and entertaining speech reflective of his extraordinary career in television in both the UK and the US.”
Previous MacTaggart Lectures speakers have included Kevin Spacey, James Murdoch, Jeremy Paxman, Greg Dyke, Dennis Potter and Eric Schmidt.
The festival runs from August 26 to 28.