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Mark Thompson, reality TV, celebrities and corpse head for Edinburgh

LONDON – German anatomist Gunther Von Hagen, presenter of Channel 4's 'Anatomy For Beginners', will be taking to the stage with a dead body at this year's Edinburgh International TV Festival for a Dying to be on TV seminar.

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Following Von Hagen's controversial experiment on Channel 4 last January, the inventor of the Plastination technique for preserving dead bodies, will discuss death on television in the seminar with speakers including Sara Ramsden, head of factual at Endemol and Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy among others. 

After a tough year at the BBC, with the announcement of plans to cut 3,780 jobs resulting in a 24-hour strike and threats of further action, the corporation's director-general Mark Thompson talks to Endemol chief creative officer Peter Bazalgette about his first year in charge at the BBC.

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan will get a grilling on his first year at the broadcaster from former director-general of the BBC Greg Dyke.

The question of why celebrities decide to put themselves up for public humiliation by eating live creepy crawlies, being seen in their underwear and having on-screen romances, forms part of a debate by reality TV regulars James Hewitt and Paul Danan.

The pair will join Jane Lush, head of entertainment commissioning at BBC, with Boyd Hilton, TV editor of Heat Magazine, chairing the discussion.

The BBC's long-running political debate show, 'Question Time', will offer the chance to pose questions to key policymakers, including Theresa May, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Greg Dyke, chairman of Hit Entertainment and Andrew Neil, broadcaster and journalist.

The festival will debate the industry's coverage of crime and whether criminals are glamourised by British TV; a session will look into the explosion of cosmetic surgery on our screens, the state of music television in the UK, and how the industry can capitalise on the latest advances of digital, TV, broadband and mobile phone technology.

In a more light-hearted feature at the festival, Bruce Forsythe and Tess Daly will be donning their sequined frocks, tight trousers and dancing shoes to show off their best moves, along with Lorraine Heggessey, Stephen Lambert, Daisy Goodwin, Dan Chambers and Richard Woolfe.

Tim Hincks, the Edinburgh International TV Festival advisory chair and chief creative officer at Endemol UK, said: "I am delighted that we can announce such a strong line-up for the 30th Edinburgh Television Festival."

The three-day event, which is open to anyone working in the broadcasting industry, is offering delegates a programme of sessions, screenings, master classes, interviews, lectures and networking opportunities from UK and international media figures.

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