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Television PolicyThe MacTaggart Lectures$
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Bob Franklin

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780748617173

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748617173.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Television Policy

Bob Franklin

Edinburgh University Press

The origins and development of the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture and the Edinburgh International Television Festival are typically, and in some ways appropriately, regarded as inextricably connected. The first lecture, delivered in Edinburgh by radical playwright and director John McGrath on August 25, 1976, formed part of a retrospective celebrating the work of the recently deceased, Scottish television producer and director, James MacTaggart. The MacTaggart Lectures provide insights into the policy and programming ambitions of key individuals in the world of television. Across almost thirty years, the MacTaggart Lectures have created a unique and authoritative forum for the significant debates which have helped to shape the major developments in television policy and programming in Britain since 1976. There is a broad scholarly consensus that the history and development of British television can be divided into five distinctive, if at times overlapping, periods, with each period or phase characterised by a distinctive policy mood and broadcasting developments: monopoly (1936–1954), creative competition (1955–1962), stable competition (1963–1970), broadcasting under cultural attack (1970–1983), and deregulation and markets (1984 to the present).

Keywords:   Britain, MacTaggart Lectures, television policy, Edinburgh International Television Festival, James MacTaggart, broadcasting, deregulation, creative competition, monopoly, stable competition

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