INTERTALENT 30th Anniversary BAFTA Speech - May 2022
Good evening and a very warm welcome to each one of you from around the world. Thank you for coming.
I am delighted to welcome guests from the worlds of broadcasting, streaming, music, film, television, theatre, social and digital media, our many external partners and friends. Without you, the people who came into my life, supported, and worked alongside us, InterTalent would not be here celebrating our 30th birthday. Thank you.
Events like tonight are not possible without hard work by many people. Thank you to BAFTA as our hosts. Alia Malik my brilliant EPA who with her team made tonight happen. And Naughty Boy who helped curate the play list this evening.
Milestones often prompt reflections.
As I ate my tuna mayonnaise sandwich at lunchtime, I did briefly think back to my first ever office, one room above a sandwich shop in Covent Garden. Though the truth is I prefer to focus on tomorrow. I wake up every morning knowing how fortunate I am to work at the cutting edge of the UK creative industries.
To my work colleagues and clients, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your brilliance we would not be celebrating this landmark moment in InterTalent's journey. Under the leadership of my co-directors Alex Segal, Brooke Kinsella, Oliver Thomson, Ashley Vallance and Alistair Goldsmith who leads Chosen Music, our company has the best group of people working with us that I have ever been surrounded by. Congratulations and thank you Oliver, Alex, Brooke, Ashley, and Alistair.
The pivotal moment in my life was when I hired the Beatles Producer Sir George Martin to record Elton John, Sting and Cher. An incredible journey ensued that took me to places I could never have imagined. Thinking back reminds me of a small dinner party hosted by Sting in New York. The other guests that night included Whitney Houston, Luciano Pavarotti, Gianni Versace, and Elton John. Kate Oliver who set me on that road is here tonight. Thank you, Kate.
I cannot forget the excitement of my discovering Charlotte Church in 1997. Two years later in 1999 she was the biggest selling artist in the world. That year Charlotte had two double platinum albums in the US and sang for the Pope, President, and HM The Queen. I will always remember being at The White House discussing my view of the Euro with then President Clinton.
A senior BBC executive on receiving tonight's invitation told me she was in awe how InterTalent always remained ahead of the curve, re-inventing the wheel. A good example of what she meant is the way InterTalent embraced TikTok, and NFT Digital Art long before became the zeitgeist.
When I first started out the entertainment business was predominantly linear. Now it could not be more divergent.
For thirty years InterTalent has been a hub for talent and opportunity. The way we have done that is very simple. We invest in ourselves and our clients and engage in global conversations across a spectrum which embraces the outer limits of the global entertainment business.
I only want to momentarily to celebrate 30 years, as it is future ahead that excites me most. And right now, InterTalent is on fire.
Last month three of us went to LA to spend time with the major studios including Netflix, Universal, Disney, Warner Discovery, and Sony.
Normally I am very good at getting my timings right. However, one meeting was not so good. I visited Netflix the day their stock crashed 37%!
Trips to Hollywood are always energising as the entertainment capital of the world. Success breeds success. And our portfolio of work is exciting Hollywood.
My recent trip to LA, and the conversations I had with studio execs about our TV industry here in the UK, prompts me to briefly digress and talk about Public Service Broadcasting. Current government policy will decimate public service broadcasting as we know it.
Many in Hollywood are astounded that the UK would seek to dismantle the BBC. They see the BBC as quite simply the greatest broadcast brand in the world and I wholeheartedly agree with them. If the BBC were no longer able to offer the breadth of public service it does, we will all be the poorer for it.
The same goes for the privatisation of Channel 4. Channel 4 is a hotbed of creativity that sits at the epicentre of the UK creative industries. Any sale of Channel 4 will precipitate a devaluation of the UK's richly diverse creative economy.
The proverb 'be careful what you wish for because you just might get it', comes to mind.
Before I finish, please allow me a few moments of personal gratitude.
My wonderful Parents Sophie and David are here this evening. They both give me continual and much-valued advice to this day. My mother's qualities would, in another context, merit an entire speech in themselves. The selfless life she has led in supporting the various charitable causes in which she is involved has given me the inspiration to support the various good causes with which I am proud to be associated.
My great grandmother was born in Ukraine. Everything I am today, is because the UK welcomed my family in and gave us a home. That family history now comes full circle, as recently I sponsored two Ukrainian refugees and have given them the same opportunity.
Twelve years ago, I married Katrina who with her two awesome daughters, Jessica, and Sofia, joined me on my journey. Thank for the support all three of you have given me on my journey. Marrying you Katrina was the best decision of my life. The strength of my love for all three of you is beyond.
Please now meet Alex Segal our managing director who through Covid led the transformation of InterTalent.