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Paxman to address Edinburgh fest

BBC heavyweight giving MacTaggart lecture

LONDON — Blighty’s most controversial news anchor, BBC heavyweight Jeremy Paxman, is to give the flagship address at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Famously confrontational in his no-holds-barred interviews with politicians, Paxman’s MacTaggart lecture at the U.K. TV’s most important annual gabfest will be, to say the least, eagerly anticipated.

Festival executive chair, Tim Hincks, chief creative officer at Endemol U.K. described Paxman’s MacTaggart “as a truly mouth watering prospect.”

He added: “By focusing on politics, journalism and power, this MacTaggart promises to reach the parts others have failed to reach. Without doubt it’s the hottest ticket in town.”

With luck, Paxman, who hosts weekday BBC current affairs skein “Newsnight”, will live up to the hype and the 2007 MacTaggart won’t be a repeat of 2005’s when ex-BBC topper, John Birt, pulled his punches.

Paxman, publicly critical of BBC cost cutting, also presents long-running quizzer “University Challenge”, also aired by the pubcaster in the U.K.

His books include “The English – A Portrait Of A People” and “Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life.”

Previous MacTaggart lecturers have included Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, Greg Dyke, Michael Grade and the late British screenwriter Dennis Potter.

The talking shop bows in the Scottish capital August 24 and runs thru till August 26.

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