List of Speakers from 2018

We will be announcing the first confirmed speakers for 2019 in the coming weeks.

Our 2018 speakers at the Creative Cities Convention included:

  • Kamal Ahmed - BBC Economics Editor
  • Sir Peter Bazalgette - Chairman, ITV
  • Tracy Brabin - Labour and Co-operative MP for Batley & Spen
  • Alan Clements – Managing Director, STV Productions
  • Vikki Cook - Ofcom Director of Standards and Audience Protection
  • Kersten England - Chief Executive, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Ben Frow - Director of Programmes, Channel 5
  • Amy Garcia - Presenter on BBC Look North 
  • Matthew Gould - Director-General for Digital and Media (Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport)
  • Lisa Holdsworth - Screenwriter (New Tricks, Midsomer Murders, Ackley Bridge)
  • Ruth Ibegbuna - Founder and CEO of RECLAIM
  • Amar Latif - Entrepreneur, Traveller & TV Presenter
  • Alex Mahon - CEO of Channel 4
  • John McVay - Chief Executive of Pact
  • Kay Mellor OBE - Screenwriter (Girlfriends, Love Lies and Records, The Syndicate)
  • Charlotte Moore - BBC Director of Content
  • Ruth Pitt - Director, Creative Cities Convention
  • Anita Rani - Presenter
  • Peter Salmon - Chief Creative Officer, Endemol Shine Group
  • Nia Thomas – Managing Director, Boom Cymru
  • Callum Tulley - RTS investigative journalism award winner
  • Kirsty Wark - Journalist, Broadcaster and Writer



Kamal Ahmed - BBC Economics Editor

Kamal joined the BBC as economics editor in March 2016. He was previously executive business editor for the Telegraph Media Group and before that group director of communications at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the regulator charged with upholding and enforcing equality and human rights legislation in Britain.

Other posts include executive editor of news at The Observer newspaper and royal correspondent, media correspondent and then media editor for The Guardian. Kamal started his career in Scotland where he worked for Scotland on Sunday, rising to deputy news editor. He studied politics at Leeds University.

Between 2000 and 2004 Kamal was Political Editor of The Observer. Between 1996 and 2000, Kamal worked for The Guardian, starting on the paper as Royal Correspondent, later becoming Media Correspondent and then Media Editor.

Kamal started his career in Scotland where he worked for Scotland on Sunday, The Scotsman’s sister title where he rose to become chief reporter and deputy news editor.


Sir Peter Bazalgette - Chairman, ITV

In addition to chairing ITV, Sir Peter Bazalgette also recently led an independent review into the UK’s creative industries as part of the government’s new Industrial strategy.  Other current posts include non-executive board member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), chair of HM Government’s Holocaust Memorial Foundation and chair of the Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction Book Prize. He is a former non-executive director of DCMS, president of the Royal Television Society and from 2013 until 2017 chair of Arts Council England.

As chief creative officer of Endemol, Peter personally devised several internationally successful formats such as Ready Steady Cook and Ground Force. His book about the business of TV formats, Billion Dollar Game, was published in 2005 and in January 2017 he published The Empathy Instinct.


Tracy Brabin - Labour and Co-operative MP for Batley & Spen

Tracy Brabin was born in Batley, West Yorkshire, attended Heckmondwike Grammar School, studied drama at Loughborough University and has an MA in screenwriting from the London College of Communication and the University of the Arts London.

Tracy’s breakthrough acting role was in ITV comedy A Bit of Do and her acting credits include Coronation Street, Eastenders and Emmerdale. She has also written for programmes including Heartbeat, Family Affairs, Crossroads, Tracy Beaker, Hollyoaks and an episode of Doctors.

Tracy became Labour MP for Batley and Spen in a by-election following the murder of Jo Cox. She became a member of the Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee and was then promoted to Labour’s front bench as the Shadow Early Years Minister.


Alan Clements – Managing Director, STV Productions

STV Productions produces programmes for a variety of networks including Catchphrase (ITV), Antiques Road Trip (BBC1), Safe word (ITV2 and MTV USA), And They’re Off (BBC1), Ross Kemp Inside Barlinie (ITV) and up and coming drama The Victim (BBC).

Alan is a former creative director at IWC Media, founder and MD of Wark Clements Productions and freelance journalist and political researcher at BBC Scotland. He is an honorary Professor of Politics and Media at the University of Glasgow, sits on the Board of the Edinburgh TV Festival and is the author of two books including the novel Rogue Nation, published in 2008.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University in 2014 for services to journalism and television.


Vikki Cook - Ofcom Director of Standards and Audience Protection

Vikki Cook began her career at the BBC, working in both radio and TV. She moved to Sky in 2001 and held a number of senior executive roles, including head of planning and head of home news when Sky News was named RTS News Channel of the Year.

Vikki was formerly Deputy Editor of 5News and in 2013 she was also the launch director of local TV station London Live. She joined Ofcom in 2017 as director of Standards and Audience Protection. Vikki also leads the regulator’s diversity in broadcasting programme of work and is an active member of BAFTA and the RTS.

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Kersten England - Chief Executive, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Kersten is Chief Executive of Bradford Council with responsibility for over 17,000 staff and a multi-million pound budget across one of the largest local authorities in the country. Her main challenge is to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth and in particular to strengthen the skills base of the District.

Kersten is the lead Chief Executive for innovation and growth in the Leeds City Region. In addition she is a member of a number of boards in and beyond the city including Nesta, Bradford Economic Partnership, University of Bradford Council, Science Media Museum, Bradford Literature Festival and the Digital Health Enterprise Zone. She is a lay Canon of Bradford Cathedral.

Kersten’s career has included work in the voluntary sector, higher education, central government as well as 26 years in local government. She is passionate about building resilient and confident communities, supporting local democracy and sustainable urban growth.

Despite the Edinburgh accent she regards herself as a bona fide Bradfordian, having lived and worked here for most of her adult life as well as bringing up her children in the city.


Ben Frow - Director of Programmes, Channel 5

As director of programmes at Channel 5, Ben Frow has diversified the schedule and significantly increased the volume and range of original productions, including Rich House, Poor House, Cruising with Jane McDonaldSecrets of the National Trust, The Accused, Slum Britain: 50 Years On and Yorkshire: A Year in the Wild. Previously controller of features and entertainment at Channel 5, he also developed shows including How Not to Decorate, The Hotel Inspector, Cosmetic Surgery Live and The Joan Rivers Position.

Ben was formerly director of programming for Irish broadcaster TV3 and spent five years at Channel 4, becoming head of factual entertainment and features. Commissioning highlights included Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, Property Ladder, Jamie’s Kitchen, Sex Tips for Girls, Nigella Bites, You Are What you Eat and How Clean Is Your House?

He began his television career at ITV and was a senior producer at GMTV and an executive producer at the BBC.


Amy Garcia - Presenter on BBC Look North

Amy is a regular face on TV screens across Yorkshire sharing the famous BBC Look North Sofa with legend presenter Harry Gration. Over the last 5 years she’s covered two General Elections and some of the biggest stories to affect the Region including Rotherham grooming, end of deep coal mining, the murder of teacher Ann Maguire and the Manchester Arena terror attack.

The TV duo has become known for their gruelling charity challenges. In 2015 they cycled the 250 mile Tour de France route across Yorkshire on a tandem for Sport relief. This year saw them dragging the Look North sofa 100 miles through snow storms and torrential rain to mark 50 years of regional news. They’ve also been strapped to an aeroplane, abseiled down a 120 feet building in South Yorkshire and plunged into caves beneath the Yorkshire Dales for Children in Need.

Prior to her life on the Look North sofa, Amy spend some time as a Senior Broadcast Journalist at BBC South Today, self-producing and presenting Breakfast and Late News bulletins and reporting out on the road.  She was also a regular face on BBC3’s 60 second news.


Matthew Gould - Director-General for Digital and Media (Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport)

Matthew is the Government’s first Director-General for Digital and Media. His goal is to make Britain the most connected, tech-friendly, innovation-driven, digital-skilled and cyber-secure country in the world.

Matthew was Ambassador to Israel and on his return to the UK in 2015 led the Cabinet Office’s cyber security unit as its Director of Cyber Security, focused on keeping Britain safe from cyber attacks.

Matthew’s previous roles include Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister (Tony Blair and Gordon Brown) and Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary (David Miliband and William Hague).

Other postings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office include Tehran, Islamabad, Washington and Manila, where Matthew launched a programme of cooperation between Britain and the Philippines to combat child abuse, for which he was awarded the MBE in 1997. He was awarded the CMG in 2015 for promoting cooperation in tech and science between Britain and Israel.

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Lisa Holdsworth - Screenwriter (New Tricks, Midsomer Murders, Ackley Bridge)

Lisa is a Yorkshire-based screen writer. She won her first commission in 2001 on Fat Friends, working with Kay Mellor. She then joined the Emmerdale writing team for three years before heading off to write for New Tricks, winning the RTS Yorkshire Best Writer Award for one of her episodes.

Since then she has written for Waterloo Road, Robin Hood, Midsomer Murders and Ackley Bridge – with a second series currently in production. She also writes for theatre and produces a showcase of new short theatre pieces in Leeds every summer.


Ruth Ibegbuna - Founder and CEO of RECLAIM

Originally from Bradford, Ruth was a senior teacher in a South Manchester state school and then worked at a Manchester cultural centre. The RECLAIM Project was born out of frustration at seeing so many young people written off due to their postcodes or through low expectations of their outcomes.
The project is now in its tenth year and numerous awards include Manchester Peace Activist of the Year 2008, Manchester City Council Women’s Award for Outstanding Contribution 2009 and National Business in the Communities Sieff award for best collaboration with business to benefit society 2011.
Ruth was a member of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour and is now a Clore Social Fellow and an Ashoka UK Fellow. She was listed in The Sunday Times as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK and by Virgin and Ashoka as one of the top six female change makers internationally.


Amar Latif - Entrepreneur, Traveller & TV Presenter

Amar Latif is a blind traveller, entrepreneur and TV personality with a remarkable track record of facing up to major challenges. Due to an incurable eye condition, Amar lost 95% of his sight by the age of 18. Through sheer determination he has managed to turn an unpromising tale of loss into one of inspirational achievement.

Amar became known to millions through the ground-breaking BBC Two reality series Beyond Boundaries, a jungle endurance expedition across Central America. It involved a gruelling 220-mile trek on foot across the rugged interior of Nicaragua, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, and Amar was pushed to the limit as the perilous journey progressed.

Since then, he has appeared in Channel 4’s How to Get Fit Fast (co-presented with Anna Richardson), a show that aims to bust exercise myths, uncover workout secrets and explore why different exercises are suited to different people. In his most recent Channel 4 show Thrifty Ways to… Summer Holiday, he teamed up with Katie Piper to share money-saving tips and and show how to access the best deals before your suitcase is even packed.


Alex Mahon - CEO of Channel 4

Alex joined Channel 4, which has revenues of £1bn annually, in 2017. Before that she was CEO of leading design, visual and 3D effects firm Foundry.

Before Alex moved into technology she spent 15 years running creative production companies and was CEO of Shine Group, where brands included MasterChef, Biggest Loser, Broadchurch, Spooks & The Bridge. Prior to this she had a career in media across Europe, at Talkback Thames, FremantleMedia Group and RTL Group. She started off as a PhD Physicist and then a strategy consultant at Mitchell Madison Group in the pre 2000 internet boom.

Alex has also chaired the Royal Television Society Programme Awards and was a member of the Government’s DCMS Advisory Panel on the BBC. She was also previously Appeal Chair of The Scar Free Foundation – a national charity funding pioneering and transformative medical research into disfigurement.


John McVay - Chief Executive of Pact

John McVay has been involved in programme making as a producer, consultant and trainer since 1986.  Previous posts include director of the Research Centre for Television and Interactivity in Glasgow, director of training and education at Scottish Screen and CEO of Scottish Broadcast and Film Training.

As well as CEO of Pact John is currently chair of the Creative Diversity Network, a member of the Creative Industries Council (CIC) where he chairs the CIC’s Diversity working group and is the industry lead on the CIC sector deal recently agreed with the UK Government.  John is chair of the UK’s digital single market campaign and is the UK rights spokesperson for the Creative Coalition Campaign.

John has also served as a board member of Skillset, chair of the Skillset TV Investment Committee, a governor of the NFTS, and president of CEPI, the pan‑European TV producers’ association.  He is a member of the British Film Commission’s business group and a board member of the Creative Cities Convention.


Kay Mellor OBE - Screenwriter (Girlfriends, Love Lies and Records, The Syndicate)

Kay Mellor OBE is a Leeds born and bred writer, director and actress best known for her work on several successful and ground-breaking drama series, including Fat Friends, Band of Gold, The Syndicate and most recently Girlfriends.

Most recently, Kay has written and exec produced Love, Lies & Records for BBC1 (November 2017), written and directed Girlfriends for ITV (January 2018); and exec produced Overshadowed for BBC3 (2017), championing new young writers Eva O’Conner and Hildegard Ryan.

Her stage version of A Passionate Woman played in the West End and is still touring both nationally and internationally. Kay’s brand new stage show Fat Friends The Musical is touring UK theatres until June 2018.

Kay is an Ambassador for Maggie’s Yorkshire, and Patron for SLP College. Her chosen charities for 2018 are Breast Cancer Haven, NSPCC and Shelter.

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Charlotte Moore - BBC Director of Content

Charlotte Moore became Director of BBC Content in July 2016. She also remains Controller of BBC One and is responsible for the creative vision across the portfolio of channels, BBC iPlayer and genres. She also takes on oversight of BBC Sport.

Previously, Charlotte Moore was Controller of TV Channels and iPlayer and controller of BBC One. Prior to that Charlotte was acting controller of BBC Daytime Television and the BBC’s Commissioning Editor of Documentaries, where she transformed the genre to produce a huge breadth of original programming including Bafta-winning titles Protecting Our Children, 7/7 One Day In London, Between Life and Death, The Great British Bake Off, Terry Pratchett’s Choosing To Die, The Choir and Welcome To Lagos and hit series such as Inside Claridges, The Call Centre, Lambing Live and The Tube.

Prior to joining the BBC, Charlotte was Director of Contemporary Factual at IWC Media, focusing on high-profile contemporary narrative documentaries and series for all the major UK channels, including BBC Two’s landmark series Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive.


Ruth Pitt - Director, Creative Cities Convention

Ruth is a former creative director of documentaries in BBC Religion and Ethics, head of documentaries at Granada TV, head of factual at Tiger Aspect Productions, founder and MD of Real Life Productions and executive director of Screen England.

Credits include Editor BBC Everyman, The Great British Property Scandal, Million Dollar Traders, 7UP, The Reel History of Britain, Son of God, Who Gets All The Best Jobs, The Women’s Institute, Owning Auschwitz, A Brief History of Atheism, An Islamic Journey Through Europe and many others. She was a reporter and presenter at Yorkshire Television and a regular guest presenter of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

Ruth has been advisory chair of the Edinburgh International Television Festival, chair of the Nations and Regions Media Conference and head of BBC internal film and events and she regularly interviews politicians and celebrities. She is currently MD of Under The Moon and runs the Commissioning Mentor Network for Channel 4.


Anita Rani - Presenter

Anita presents BBC One’s Countryfile and is a regular part of the One Show team. She wowed the Strictly Come Dancing audience in 2015 and has traced her roots on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are.

Anita recently presented and co-produced the BBC One series My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947, exploring the human impact of the Partition of India through the intimate stories of four British families including her own, for which she won the presenter award at the RTS Programme Awards 2018.

Recent BBC presenter credits include World’s Busiest Cities, New York: America’s Busiest City, The World’s Busiest Railway and The Refugee Camp: Our Desert Home, filmed at the Zaatari Refugee camp in Jordan.

Other credits include This World, Four Wheels and Escape To the Continent as well as the RTS award-winning Four Rooms on Channel 4. Live presenting includes five shows for ITV’s This Morning and in 2011 the royal wedding of Kate and William, broadcast live to millions worldwide on BBC One.

In 2012, Anita turned her hand to baking and was crowned the inaugural winner of the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off.


Peter Salmon - Chief Creative Officer, Endemol Shine Group

Peter supports the rollout of Endemol Shine content internationally across linear and digital platforms from the USA to Israel, Australia to Scandinavia. In addition, he has overall responsibility for the UK group, made up of more than 20 production companies.

Previous leadership positions in broadcasting and production include controller of BBC One, BBC Director of Sport and CCO of BBC Vision. Peter co-invented the £200m charity Sport Relief, produced Crimewatch UK, launched the careers of Wallace and Gromit, oversaw The Olympic Games and commissioned a multitude of hit shows including Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies, Paul Abbott’s Clocking Off and the first stripped reality series Castaway 2000.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Peter established and ran BBC North and was Director, BBC England before becoming Director of BBC Studios, responsible for establishing and managing the new production division. He has also been Director of Programmes at Granada Television, Controller of Factual at Channel 4 and Chief Executive of Television Corporation.

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Nia Thomas – Managing Director, Boom Cymru

Boom Cymru TV Ltd is one of Wales’s largest indigenous production groups. Established in 1994, this multi-genre and multi-disciplinary company now employs approximately 220 staff delivering around 500 hours of factual, entertainment, drama and children’s content annually to UK and international broadcasters.

The Boom group of companies operates from its Cardiff base in a variety of sectors, including production (Boom Cymru and Boom Kids), facilities (Gorilla Post-production), animation (Cloth Cat) and visual effects (Bait Studio).

Nia started her career at BBC Wales as a researcher before taking on assistant producer and producer roles at Avanti Media.  She joined Boom as a producer in 2000 and was head of production for 6 years before being promoted to Managing Director in 2012. Now responsible for overseeing the group’s multi-disciplinary operations, her production experience spans a variety of genres, including children’s, entertainment, factual, music and events.

She is a board member of TAC, the trade body representing the Welsh production sector, and a former member of the Skillset Wales Board.


Callum Tulley - RTS investigative journalism award winner

Callum grew up on the Knoll Estate on the outskirts of Brighton and Hove. A career in journalism had never occurred to him – his goal was to train as a PE teacher and become a professional football referee. But the cost of tuition fees put paid to that and at just 18 Callum started work at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre. He found it awash with abuse, self-harm and violence. Tempted to resign, he decided instead to write to Panorama and the rest, as they say, is history.

Callum became a whistle-blower and undercover reporter for the BBC and his footage was the centerpiece of the 2018 RTS award-winning Panorama ‘Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets’. As we go to press the programme has also been nominated for a BAFTA. In 2017 Callum received a Liberty Human Rights Award in recognition of his work.

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Kirsty Wark - Journalist, Broadcaster and Writer

Kirsty Wark is one of Britain’s most experienced television journalists.

She has presented a wide range of programmes over the past thirty years – from the ground breaking Late Show to election specials, live stadium events and, since 1993, the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs show Newsnight.  She has conducted long form interviews with everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Madonna, Harold Pinter to Pete Doherty, Damian Hirst to George Clooney and the likes of Toni Morrison, Donna Tartt and Philip Roth.

Kirsty has made cameo appearances in a range of television dramas, radio programmes and films. She has featured in Dr Who, Absolutely Fabulous, The IT Crowd, Spooks, The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, The Acid House, Beyond the Pole, Party Animals, With Great Pleasure and The Politician’s Husband. She reached the final in Celebrity Masterchef in 2011 and hosted the culinary quiz A Question of Taste for BBC2.

Awards include BAFTAs for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting, Journalist of the Year and Best Television Presenter.  Her debut novel, The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle, was published in March 2014 by Two Roads – an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton. She is currently writing her second novel.