Outstanding Achievement Award: Hugh Laurie
22nd August 2019
12:45 - 13:45
The Pentland (Level 3)
Award-winning actor, director, singer, musician, screenwriter and author, Hugh Laurie CBE will receive the Edinburgh TV Festival’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the prestigious TV Awards.
Ahead of receiving the award on Thursday 22nd August, the Festival will also honour Laurie’s career with a special ‘In Conversation With…’ From one half of comedy double act, Fry and Laurie to a film career and the phenomenal success of award-winning US medical drama House, and BBC One’s The Night Manager, the conversation will offer delegates an insight into his career, his experiences and influences in this fascinating session.
Managing Director, Alaska TV
Creative Director, Alaska TV | EdTVFest Head of Talent
Assistant producer: Hannah Brown, assistant producer
Hugh Laurie has said the fractured political world is threatening the impact of drama.
The actor, writer and musician suggested that opposing ideas of the truth make storytelling more difficult in the modern world.
Laurie spoke with Mariella Frostrup at the Edinburgh TV Festival, where he received an award for outstanding achievement in a varied career which has spanned light comedy and dark drama.
The actor said the power of his profession is under threat from partisan approaches to politics and facts.
He said: “Storytelling requires a consensus of some kind.
“If you start feeling an audience fracturing, starting to think completely different things about the same piece of information, that makes storytelling very hard.”
I think it's important that somebody speaks to truth over sentiment
The actor compared the situation to the 2015 viral photograph of a dress that appeared either blue or yellow depending on the viewer.
He said of the tribalist approach to truth and political events: “Everyone is looking at a different dress.”
Laurie reflected that his own character in the US drama House was “important” for being a beacon of rationalism in an era of emotion and subjectivity.
He said: “I think it’s important that somebody speaks to truth over sentiment.”
Laurie added that the world became “drowned in this feeling that the world is remakable in my own head, to be what I want it to be, to wish upon a star”.
The actor, who began a new life in the US for the show, said of his first impressions of American life: “Americans work so hard it will make your nose bleed. It’s just extraordinary.
— EdinburghTVFestival (@EdinburghTVFest) August 22, 2019
“There is this furious desire to get on. That happened to suit my Presbyterian soul.
“I took some pride in being able to keep up.”
Laurie said he has taken little pride in anything else in his career, and is averse to self-belief due to his Presbyterian background.
The actor, who received an OBE for services to drama in 2018, said of the ceremony that he was “a totally unworthy time-waster”.
Laurie told the audience in Edinburgh: “I’m just very self-conscious I think, which is odd. It doesn’t fit with the career.
“Any pride, or vanity or ornament in one’s life was Papist. A vengeful God would come and take it away from you.”
He added: “It can all be taken away at a moment’s notice. I don’t know if it’s insecure, I think it’s realistic.”