TV festival to celebrate soap 'landmarks'

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A "landmark year" for British TV soaps will be celebrated at the this year's Edinburgh Television Festival.

The festival will mark 50 years of Coronation Street and 25 years of EastEnders with writing masterclasses and other events.

Doctor Who writer Stephen Moffat, TV personality Katie Price and a special dance event are also lined-up for the annual three-day festival in August.

Shameless creator Paul Abbott will give the Alternative MacTaggart lecture.

'Exciting time'

Bafta Award-winning Abbott said he was "thrilled" to be delivering the alternative speech, entitled The Truth About Long-Term Thinking.

He said: "I believe it's an exciting time to comment on the British TV industry's reaction to, and performance since, the credit crunch."

BBC director general Mark Thompson has already been confirmed to deliver the keynote MacTaggart lecture at the MediaGuardian event.

Moffat and award-winning producer Andy Harries will both deliver masterclasses during the event, while Price will reveal what makes her tick in a live interview on Sunday.

Other events include a session entitled Build Your Own BBC, chaired by Jeremy Vine, where the festival audience can decide which services they would cut and protect at the Corporation.

And a special stage version of the Sky1 HD show Got To Dance will see six teams from channels and independent producers will perform an array of dances from hip hop to ballet.

Deborah Turness, 2010 festival advisory chair and editor of ITV News, said: "In keeping with our times this year's festival will be a coalition of agenda-setting content that will shape the direction of the industry and inspirational, creative stimulation.

"With the Conservative/Murdoch Alliance now in Number 10, Mark Thompson's MacTaggart could not be more timely. The big question: will David Cameron demand 'savage' cuts at the BBC, and is radical change coming our way?"

The festival will take place from 27-29 August at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

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