One of the UK's leading television producers has launched a scathing attack on the Guardian Edinburgh
One of the UK's leading television producers has launched a scathing attack on the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, claiming the annual event has become 'obsessed with the cult of personality'.Jane Hewland, a former LWT head of current affairs who runs her own indie Hewland International, said she had become fed up with sessions which were often 'unattractively triumphalist' or full of 'self-justification'.She said the programme offered little more than a 'parade of winners and losers'.In a letter to Broadcast she said: 'Where was the (debate about the) communications bill and its shortcomings? Where was the session on the future of the independent sector? ... Why not just knock it on the head and give us our bank holiday weekend back?'Her attack comes in the week that festival organisers announced the advisory chair of next year's event. Channel 4 head of events and factual entertainment Sara Ramsden will lead the panel of executives charged with drawing up the 2003 event schedule. She takes over from this year's advisory chair Tiger Aspect managing director Charles Brand.Hewland's criticisms also came amid complaints from a number of cable and satellite operators that multichannel issues were not getting the attention they deserve at the festival.Cartoon Network channel manager Richard Kilgarriff said multichannel issues were treated as a 'fringe'. 'I was amazed that nobody talked about Sky and its distribution and ownership of the platform.'Discovery UK director of programmes Katy Thorogood added that there were not enough programme-makers and too many public relations and marketing people at the festival.Brand refuted the claims saying: 'If anything this year's festival was less attached to celebrity,' but pointed out there was a surge in the number of delegates once it was announced that Chris Evans would be there.He added that the festival had 'reflected concerns that the BBC had become triumphalist' and that multichannel was given a number of controller sessions.- Letters, page 13