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James Graham to Deliver MacTaggart Lecture at Edinburgh TV Festival

James Graham to Deliver MacTaggart Lecture at Edinburgh TV Festival

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

Graham’s work includes the BAFTA and RTS-winning Sherwood, starring David Morrissey and Lesley Manville, set against the backdrop of his hometown of Ashfield in Nottinghamshire which returns to BBC later this year, as well as The Way, a collaboration with Michael Sheen and Adam Curtis. The award-winner was also the mastermind behind the hugely popular Quiz starring Matthew Macfadyen and Sheen.

Recent stage work includes Olivier award-winning Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes which debuted at the National Theatre and transferred to the West End earlier this year and is currently being adapted into a TV series for BBC and his new musical Tammy Faye, written with Elton John and Jake Shears, which is soon to debut on Broadway.

Graham has also penned a range of political projects, including Brexit: An Uncivil War starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings; RTS winning Coalition starring Bertie Carvel as Nick Clegg at the moment he made his pivotal decision regarding the coalition government in 2010; the play Best of Enemies, starring David Harewood and Zachary Quinto about the political debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr; and his breakout play, This House about life in the UK’s House of Commons of a 1970s hung parliament.

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

He said: “I am genuinely honored to be invited to deliver the MacTaggart lecture this year of all years, following a potentially landmark election. In these difficult and divided times, culture and the arts have never been more important; TV moments can still bring a nation together through shared viewing experiences whether it’s in a drama that brings our collective attention to unbelievable injustices or a sporting performance that unites us in celebration (or disappointment!). 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.”

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Graham follows a long line of renowned speakers. Previous lecturers include Michaela Coel, Rupert Murdoch, Jon Snow, Elisabeth Murdoch, David Olusoga, Jack Thorne, Emily Maitlis and Louis Theroux.

The Edinburgh TV Festival takes place from Aug. 20-24.

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