Decorative image

The UK’s must-attend debating forum on British broadcasting is back live

Presented by Freeview and Digital UK

Wednesday 17 November 2021 at Picturehouse Central, Soho

Cathy Newman presents Outside the box 2021

Bookended by the first live appearances of two of UK television’s behemoths, the 2021 Outside the box conference will take on the biggest and toughest issues facing British broadcasting now.

Andrew Neil begins the conference at 09:30 in conversation with Sky News’ Beth Rigby, setting the scene at Freeview and Digital UK’s annual industry event by talking about GB News, his own future and the future of a broadcast world beset by culture wars and government interventions.

Mark Thompson, in his first on-stage interview since the pandemic, will have the final word talking to former BBC head of content Pat Younge about his hopes and fears for the future of public service broadcasting.

In between, lively panel sessions that have become the trademark of Outside the box will explore all these issues in detail in front of an audience of industry leaders, policy makers and advisors at London’s Picturehouse Central, the same venue as the last pre-pandemic event in 2019.

Returning to guide us through Wednesday morning’s debates will be broadcaster and journalist, Cathy Newman.

The first panel “Reporting the Culture Wars” asks if we are following the same route as the US television industry towards a world of partiality and “wokeism” and whether we only have ourselves as a sector to blame.

With data and context provided by Bobby Duffy, professor of public policy at King’s College, London, the debate features Katy Balls, political editor of The Spectator, Rachel Corp, editor of ITV News and Samuel Kasumu, former Downing Street advisor, social entrepreneur and strategist. Their conversation will be chaired by someone who has been on the frontline of culture war as editorial director of BBC News, Kamal Ahmed, now editor-in-chief and co-founder of The News Movement.

After coffee and networking, we will hear from leading creative figures from the PSB world including David Olusoga, the historian and producer, James Graham, playwright and Mobeen Azhar, independent programme-maker, in a video montage where they set out their vision for the future of British broadcasting.

This will form the basis of discussion by the second panel, chaired by Stewart Purvis, broadcaster and author, and comprising Baroness Bonham-Carter, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for DCMS in the Lords, Salma Shah, partner and senior advisor at Portland, Mark Oliver, Chairman of Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates and Nick Toon, Director at Rationale Consulting.

Karen Blackett, one of the most powerful figures in UK advertising as UK country manager for WPP, will give her views on the future of the industry from a commercial perspective in conversation with Cathy Newman before Mark Thompson joins us live on stage for the first time since leaving his immensely successful role as Chairman and Chief Executive of the New York Times Company.

Mark will offer his expert voice on the discussion of the morning, but also tell us about his newest venture as Co-chair of the recently-launched International Fund for Public Interest Media. His conversation with Pat Younge brings the event to a close.

Please join us for the most trenchant 2021 discussion of the issues that matter most to the media world

Outside the box 2021 begins at 09:30 on Wednesday November 17th at Picturehouse Central in Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho. 

Press contact: [email protected]

Find out more