British playwright and dramatist James Graham is to deliver the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the flagship address of this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival.

Graham’s work includes the BAFTA and RTS-winning Sherwood, starring David Morrissey and Lesley Manville; The Way, a collaboration with Michael Sheen and Adam Curtis, which aired earlier this year on the BBC; and the BAFTA-winning Quiz starring Matthew Macfadyen and Michael Sheen. His political pieces include EMMY and BAFTA-nominated Brexit: An Uncivil War starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings and the RTS-winning Coalition starring Bertie Carvel as Nick Clegg.

2. MacTaggart.James Graham cred Steve Tanner

James Graham to deliver the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture

Source:  Steve Tanner

Recent stage work includes Olivier award-winning Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes and musical Tammy Faye, written with Elton John and Jake Shears.

In the MacTaggart lecture, Graham will be exploring the role and responsibility of television drama in shaping the political agenda and illuminating social injustices.

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Graham will also look at the importance of proper representation of class and regionality, both on TV screens and behind the scenes, as well as the future of public service broadcasters.

Graham follows a long line of high-profile MacTaggart speakers including Michaela Coel, Dorothy Byrne, Ted Turner, Armando Iannucci, Rupert Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Jon Snow, Elisabeth Murdoch, David Olusoga, Jack Thorne, Emily Maitlis and Louis Theroux.

Graham said: “I’m aware that delivering this lecture is a real moment, as well as an opportunity, to consider the future direction for the creative industries. I’m keen to look at the wider role that drama, storytelling and culture can play in politics, society, and in particular those left-behind communities.”

Rowan Woods, Creative Director of the Festival, and Harjeet Chhokar, this year’s Advisory Chair, added: “From Quiz to Brexit: The Uncivil War, Sherwood to Coalition, James Graham is a fearless contemporary chronicler of British history, institutions and power structures. A firm believer in the power of television in shaping the political agenda and illuminating social injustice, as well as being committed to representation that confidently includes social class and regionality, we couldn’t think of anyone better to speak to where we find ourselves culturally, socially and politically in 2024.”

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