Carol Vorderman to give Alternative MacTaggart speech at Edinburgh TV Festival

TV and radio presenter Carol Vorderman said “I live without apology” as it was announced she will deliver the Alternative MacTaggart speech at the 2024 Edinburgh TV Festival.

The former Countdown star will speak about her career on the small screen, and go on to address her recent social media campaigning.

Vorderman began her career on the maths and English-based gameshow in 1982, where she spent almost 30 years as its maths expert, before more recently turning her hand to political activism.

The 63-year-old has been involved in a number of social media spats with Conservative MPs as a result of her political campaigning in recent years, and will discuss them in her speech.

The Alternative MacTaggart is a lighter hearted speech, which aims to promote debate in the television industry from an alternative viewpoint.

It is given alongside the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, the flagship address of the festival, which has been given since 1976, and this year will be delivered by playwright James Graham.

Vorderman said: “I feel honoured to have been asked to be this year’s Alternative MacTaggart speaker.

“As our industry transitions, there is much to discuss, 42 years on the box, hosting shows for all channels, it’s been an interesting life.

“I choose to live a life outside of the media thrall of London and I live without apology. Beware the post-menopausal woman who doesn’t give a damn. I’ll see you in Edinburgh.”

The festival’s creative director, Rowan Woods, described Vorderman’s speech as one of its “must-see” events, and added that she is pleased to welcome a “true TV legend” to Scotland.

She said: “Since making her debut on Countdown, the first ever programme on Channel 4, Carol Vorderman MBE has been part of the DNA of the UK television industry and a mainstay of our screens.

“She is also a funny, fearless and ferocious commentator on everything from politics to social mobility, sexism and education.

“We know her Alternative MacTaggart is going to be one of the must-see events of this year’s festival.”

Vorderman grew up in poverty in North Wales, and was a free school meals child at a comprehensive school, becoming the first from the area to go to the University of Cambridge when she was just 17.

Carol Vorderman with Des O'Connor on Countdown
Carol Vorderman, pictured with Des O’Connor, presented Countdown for almost 30 years (Granada Productions/PA)

Her political work will continue with the release of her new book, Now What? On A Mission To Fix Broken Britain, in September this year.

Previous Alternative MacTaggart speakers have included politician Nicola Sturgeon, actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, and Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker.

Other speakers at the 2024 event will include singer Will.I.Am, Bafta-winning writer Sarah Phelps, and actress Julie Hesmondhalgh.