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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
TV festival probes viewers' anger
David Soul in Jerry Springer - The Opera
Jerry Springer - The Opera star David Soul will join the debate
Viewers' increasingly strong protests against shows such as Jerry Springer - The Opera will be among topics examined at Edinburgh TV festival.

Actor David Soul will join a panel discussing viewer action against the Springer opera, Spooks and Popetown.

Celebrity Love Island contestant Paul Danan will discuss celebrity series in the annual three-day August festival.

Lord Birt will deliver the prestigious opening MacTaggart lecture, with an alternative speech from Germaine Greer.

Threats made

David Soul will debate viewers' responses to shows they find offensive with Christian Voice director Stephen Green, Channel 4 religion editor Aaqil Ahmed and broadcaster Rod Liddle in a discussion entitled I Predict a Riot.

The BBC received 47,000 complaints, protesters gathered outside its buildings and telephone threats were made when it announced its decision to screen Jerry Springer - The Opera in January.

Paul Danan
Celebrity Love Island's Paul Danan will join a debate on reality shows
In 2003 the BBC received 1,000 complaints about an episode of crime drama Spooks, said to have shown Islam in the UK in a bad light, and BBC Three shelved animated series Popetown over concerns it would offend Catholics.

The Edinburgh TV Festival hosts figures from the television industry with talks and seminars by TV channel heads.

Paul Danan will join Heat magazine's TV editor Boyd Hilton, BBC head of entertainment commissioning Jane Lush and reality TV regular James Hewitt in a debate on celebrity TV shows.

The Office writers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will discuss their new series Extras and actress Joanna Lumley will attend a screening of her forthcoming show Sensitive Skin.

Emmerdale actress Patsy Kensit will join a debate on the "stunt casting" of celebrities in soap operas and actor Charles Dance will chair a discussion on whether young TV employees are being exploited.

Joanna Lumley
Lumley will attend a screening of her new show Sensitive Skin
BodyWorks exhibitor Gunther Von Hagen will discuss TV's portrayal of death, and the depiction of cosmetic surgery in series such as Nip/Tuck will also be examined.

Bruce Forsyth will host a festival version of Strictly Come Dancing, where industry professionals such as ex-BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey will take part in a dancing contest, and TV figures will be quizzed in an Edinburgh edition of BBC One show Question Time.

BBC director general Mark Thompson and Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan will also discuss their first year in their respective posts.

"Every issue from sex to reality TV, to the problems of political journalism, to the future for content on mobile phones will be covered," said festival advisory chairman Tim Hincks. "And there's live ballroom dancing."

The Edinburgh TV festival runs from 26 to 28 August at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Springer Opera legal bid rejected
16 Jun 05 |  Entertainment
Christian group takes BBC action
14 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
Viewers upset by Muslim plot
10 Jun 03 |  Entertainment
BBC pulls controversial Popetown
23 Sep 04 |  Entertainment
Extras 'a nightmare' says Gervais
14 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Can ITV return from ratings slump?
14 Jun 05 |  Entertainment


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