Ian Freeman

The nephew of legendary impresarios Leslie Grade and (Lord) Lew Grade and theatre producer (Lord) Bernard Delfont, Ian began at the Delfont-Grade Agency (later London Management), training, before becoming Director of Publicity and Advertising at Paramount Pictures UK,marketing such films as Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Watership Down. Ian went on to become Deputy Director, Overseas Marketing at EMI Films and Group Head of Corporate Relations with First Leisure. He is now a freelance consultant and advisor in the leisure and entertainment industries. A Freemason and a Companion of the Grand Order of Water Rats Ian is Honorary Treasurer of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund and is on the board of Trustees of what is now the Royal Variety Charity. The Charity’s Patron is HM The Queen and its main fundraiser is the annual Royal Variety Performance.

CHAIRMAN
Mike Read

Mike has won ten national broadcaster of the year awards, has been awarded the Gold Badge of Merit by the music industry, received an International Music Award in 2009 and was created a Knight of Malta in 2011. He has presented several top-rated TV series’ including Top of the Pops, Pop Quiz and Saturday Superstore and four national breakfast shows including Radio One, Classic FM and currently United DJs Radio. A best-selling author, he has written forty books which include biographies, history, music and poetry and topping the Times best-seller list, as well as writing songs for over forty major artists his songs topping the Independent Chart twice and having a No.1 in North America. He has had seven of his musicals on stage and regularly travels the world giving talks and broadcasting.

Nicky Cox

Nicky began her career in regional newspapers before working as a sub-editor on The Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Times. She went on the launch the Early Times, a newspaper for children and then joined BBC Worldwide with a brief to launch a junior version of the Radio Times. She launched Fast Forward for the BBC in 1989 and worked for 13 years as editorial director of the children’s division of the BBC, launching some 50 children’s magazines and sitting on the BBC brand development board. She was executive producer for two Childline concerts at Wembley and then worked as editorial director at Tree Top Media for four years, launching several more magazines. Nicky is the editor and owner of First news, the country’s best-selling paper for young people, the newspaper winning the Save the Children Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Children.’ She was awarded the MBE in 2009 for services to children.

PATRON
Charles, 9th Earl Spencer

Charles, 9th Earl Spencer author and broadcaster, is the custodian of the family’s ancestral seat, Althorp, in Northamptonshire. Charles read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford  and has written several successful and best-selling  books, including Althorp: The Story of an English House, The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family, Blenheim, Battle for Europe, Prince Rupert-The Last Cavalier, Killers of the King and To Catch a King. Killers of the King was the UK’s second best-selling history book of 2014. In 2003 Earl Spencer founded the Althorp Literary Festival.

Charles has worked with NBC News, Today, The History Channel and Granada Television as well as having written for The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and Vanity Fair.  The younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, Charles is uncle to Prince William and Prince Harry.

PATRON
Lord Grade

Educated at Stowe School and St, Dunstan;s College, London, Michael Grade started his career sports columnist with the Daily Mirror, before going into the family theatre business in 1966, moving to London Management and Representation in 1969 and negotiating TV deals for the likes of Morecambe and Wise. He joined London weekend television in 1973, becoming Director of Programmes four years later.

Michael contracted Bruce Forsyth and was responsible for the Generation Game dominating Saturday night TV for a decade. Michael Grade moved to the States in 1981 to become President of Embassy television in 1981 and returning to the UK in 1984 as Controller of BBC1.

His tenure included the inclusion of Neighbours and Eastenders. He was Chairman of the BBC from 2004 to 2006 and executive chairman of ITV from 2007 to 2009, when he stepped down to take a non-executive Chairman. The Lord Grade of Yarmouth was made a life peer in 2011 and sits in the House of Lords. A Charlton Athletic supporter, Lord Grade is a director of the club.