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This year’s Edinburgh Festival kicks off next Tuesday and boasts a MacTaggart lecture from Louis Theroux and an alternative from Meera Syal alongside the usual broadcaster-focused sessions and the annual round-up of emerging industry talent in its Ones to Watch scheme.

The festival’s always a good test of the mood of the industry and an opportunity to put the biggest challenges under close scrutiny. From the rest of the programme, we pick our can’t-miss sessions for freelancers and indies alike.

  • Who Holds the Power in TV?
    10am, Wednesday 23 August

Panellists including The Film & TV Charity’s newly-elected chief executive Marcus Ryder, Curve Media chief Camilla Lewis and Avalon joint founder Jon Thoday, tackle the big stuff. Expect debate on diversity, freelancers, on-air talent, the US strikes and the commissioning culture.

  • Should I Stay, or Should I Go? How to Champion and Retain Talent in Uncertain Times
    11.45am, Wednesday
ScreenSkills director of HETV Kaye Elliott, ITV Academy director Sonny Hanley and Bafta chief executive Jane Millichip are among those discussing the  impact of skills shortages on commissioning, recruitment and production. They’ll be asking how TV can bring fresh ideas and maintain a pipeline to attract new talent and foster a culture that will get the best out of them.

ITV launches the ITV Academy and appoints Sonny Hanley as Director | Press  CentreSonny Hanley, ITV Academy director

  • It's Not Me, It’s You: Fixing Indie-Broadcaster Relations
    3.15pm, Wednesday

We’re promised a “frank discussion” between indie bosses Anna Hall (Candour Productions), Sarah Monteith (Baby Cow) and Lynn Sutcliffe (Mighty Productions) and broadcaster execs Syeda Irtizaali (BBC), Priya Singh (ITV) and Rebecca Thompson (Channel 4).

  • Production Under Pressure: Supporting Life on the Frontline
    4.45pm, Wednesday
Marcus Ryder (again) presents new data and perspectives from the Film and TV Charity and ask how the industry can support the financial and mental health of people working in TV. 

  • The 6.5% Club: TAP’s All-Star Gameshow Mashup
    11.15am, Thursday 24th August

Broadcaster and ex-Paralympian Ade Adepitan hosts a gameshow with a message. Comedians Rosie Jones and Shaparak Kohrsandi and Sky UK managing director of content Zai Bennett are among those whose knowledge of disability and it representation in TV will be put to the test.

Who is Rosie Jones? Comedian faces backlash for Channel 4 documentary title  | Evening StandardRosie Jones

  • Edinburgh TV Failstival
    2.15pm, Thursday

Love Productions’ chief executive Richard McKerrow, Channel 4’s youth head Karl Warner and ITV entertainment commissioner Joe Mace will own up to their mistakes and share their rejected ideas and programmes that failed to hit the spot in a bid to learn from our failures.

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