Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Media and Communication


Have you got the X Factor?

Michael Sadler Building, Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre 

Former X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent Boss, Elaine Bedell, was one of TV’s most senior executives, also responsible for commissioning programmes such as I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and Top Gear. Elaine will discuss how to promote yourself to get a job in Television drawing on her own journey from Leeds University to becoming Chief Executive of the Southbank centre, via working as the director of entertainment and Comedy at ITV. Find out why Elaine thinks it’s all about being smart and entrepreneurial.

Elaine Bedell is the Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre and was appointed in May 2017, becoming the first woman Chief Executive of Europe’s largest arts centre in its 66 year history.  The Southbank Centre incorporates the Royal Festival Hall, the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell room as well as a mix of other cultural and commercial spaces along a 21-acre stretch of the River Thames. It is London’s third most visited attraction, offering a dynamic artistic programme to 5 million annual visitors.

Previously, Elaine enjoyed a twenty-five year career in the media, working in senior roles at the BBC and at ITV where she commissioned and produced some of the UK’s most popular entertainment and comedy titles including Strictly Come Dancing, The X factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Top Gear. She became a BBC producer at the age of 23, making talk shows and documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and eventually, a wide range of entertainment shows for television. In 1995, she set up her own production company, Watchmaker, which seven years later she sold to the Chrysalis Group, staying on for a further two years as MD of Chrysalis Entertainment. After a stint as the Managing Director of the newly formed commercial arm of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Elaine eventually returned to the BBC as Controller of Entertainment, moving across to ITV as Director of Entertainment and Comedy in 2009.

Elaine was Executive Chair of the Edinburgh International TV Festival for four years and was appointed a Trustee for the V&A Museum by the Prime Minister in 2015.

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