BAFTA-winning comedy actor Matt Berry will be discussing his work as part of one of the UK’s first TV festivals, organised by a University of Salford graduate.
Berry, the star of Toast of London and The IT Crowd, is among the figures appearing at in the Pilot Light TV festival, taking place at the University’s MediaCityUK campus and in the city centre’s HOME and Gorilla venues from May 5-8.
The festival, which also includes a rare screening of a banned BBC drama, has been coordinated by Salford film studies graduate Greg Walker along with academics from the University.
Other major events coming to Pilot Light include a retrospective of Nathan Barley, Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker’s satire about pretentious East London media types.
It is being held as part of the wider Create Festival, running until June, which showcases the best work of the university’s School of Arts and Media students.
Berry will be appearing as part of a special 10th anniversary screening and panel dedicated to the cult black comedy Snuff Box, which he created alongside Rich Fulcher, and will take part in a Q&A session with Michael Cumming of Brass Eye and Charlie Hanson, who produced the show along with comedy series such as Extras, Derek and Desmonds.
The festival will include a screening of episodes from the influential show, following by a Q&A with Andrew Harrison, culture writer from The Guardian, along with Charlie Condou, who played Jonathan Yeah? and is also known for playing Marcus Dent in Coronation Street.
The festival will also kick off with a season two premier of UKTV’s Hoff The Record, a mock documentary featuring David Hasselhoff playing a parody of himself as The Hoff, who is down on his luck and has relocated to the UK.
The screening will be followed by actor Mark Quarterly – soon to appear in the new Red Dwarf – and comedian Fergus Craig, who play members of The Hoff’s inept British staff.
There will also be a rare screening of banned BBC drama The War Game, half a century on from its original release.
Despite winning an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1967, the fictional story of a nuclear attack on Kent was so unsettling to a Cold War audience that it was deemed unsuitable for broadcast and banned for 20 years.
The screening will be followed by a rare Q&A session with the documentary’s editor Michael Bradsell.
There will also be screenings of critically acclaimed transgender TV series Her Story, animated comedy Concrete Jungle, starring John DiMaggio of Futurama, and Runcorn-based zombie comedy romp Dead Town.
Festival director Greg Walker, who has previously organised the Grimmfest horror film festival, said: “There are so many film festivals now, but we’re living in a golden age of television, and I wondered why nobody was putting on festivals to acknowledge the significance of this medium – so I created my own.
“While people typically watch TV on their own, Pilot Light turns that idea on its head and creates a new communal experience.
“This is a great line up, featuring screenings of new and old shows, along with some fascinating insights from experts and the creators of those shows, and I hope Pilot Light will become an annual event in Manchester and Salford.”
Dr Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, senior lecturer in media and performance at the University of Salford, said: “This is an incredibly impressive event, demonstrating both the calibre of the graduates we’re producing here as well as our close links with the creative industries.
“Greg has had a unique idea and worked with us to put together one of the UK’s first TV festivals, which will be a huge draw for both people working in the television industry and for anyone with an interest in the power of this medium.”