Fincham to kick off Edinburgh


Former BBC1 controller Peter Fincham, forced to resign after the BBC was found to have aired falsely edited footage of the Queen, will deliver the agenda-setting MacTaggart lecture that will open this year's Edinburgh International Television Festival on Aug. 22.

Fincham is expected to be a hot ticket, having maintained his silence since quitting the BBC.

The news made for a spate of embarrassing newspaper headlines for the pubcaster, which was already embroiled in a debate about public trust after viewers were misled over charity phone-in shows. Stephen Lambert, creative director of independent producer RDF Media, later admitted to having re-edited the footage and also resigned.

"Being invited to deliver the MacTaggart is like being asked to be a guest on (classic radio show) 'Desert Island Discs' — you don't turn it down," Fincham said. "It's an enormous honor, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the enormous challenges facing the broadcasting industry in the digital age. I'm looking forward to it with relish."

Fincham, who was chief executive of indie producer Talkback Thames before taking the BBC1 post three years ago, will be "uniquely placed" to deliver this year's keynote speech, said Andrew MacKenzie, the festival's advisory chair and head of factual entertainment at Channel 4.