Birt to be keynote speaker
LONDON — “The Office” co-creators Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will be among star attractions at this year’s Edinburgh TV Festival.
Also booked to appear at the confab is U.S. thesp David Soul, star of West End tuner “Jerry Springer — The Opera,” who will confront the show’s critics on the Christian right. U.K. documaker Adam Curtis, whose controversial film “The Power of Nightmares” is playing at Cannes, will host a master class.
The keynote speaker at the event, which runs Aug. 26-28 in the Scottish capital, is ex-BBC topper John Birt, who advises British Prime Minister Tony Blair. He is expected to comment on the debate surrounding the pubcaster’s future.
The fest is the most important annual get-together for British and international TV execs in the U.K.
Edinburgh also will provide a platform for some of Blighty’s best-known TV execs to demonstrate their hoofing skills in a live, one-off special version of the BBC’s breakout entertainment hit “Strictly Come Dancing.”
Among those taking the floor are Living TV’s Richard Woolfe, Five’s Dan Chambers, Talkback Thames’ Daisy Goodwin and Lorraine Heggessey and BSkyB’s Dawn Airey.