Edinburgh International TV Festival: Tulisa's manager feared star's suicide

During a panel discussion about crisis management at the Edinburgh TV Festival, celebrity agent Jonathan Shalit said he had feared singer Tulisa would commit suicide after she was implicated by a newspaper sting.

Prefacing his remarks by stating that - for legal reasons - he couldn't say as much as he'd like, he nonetheless reiterated the claims he made in a letter to MP John Whittingdale last month that his client was the victim of entrapment by The Sun on Sunday and had been lured into committing an offence.

Shalit's comments were the most illuminating part of an hour-long attempt to use a fictional scenario to reveal how a broadcaster should deal with a crisis.

The Guardian's Steve Hewlett laid out a fantastical plot in which one of the contestants in a talent show called 'If You've Got It Flaunt It' became implicated in a fixing scandal.

The event was hampered by technical hitches and - as Hewlett presciently predicted - became something of a media crisis in its own right... tech company Edelman was consistently unable to display the correct pictures on the screen and exposed the event's denouement well ahead of schedule.

Owing to these problems and the hackneyed nature of the scenarion, there were very few interesting insights from Shilit and his fellow panellists: Neil Midgley of The Telegraph and Lorraine Heggessey, now at Boom Pictures but formerly a senior figure at both ITV and the BBC.

As the tone of the scenario shifted from relatively trivial questions about the conduct of a contestant to a full-blown criminality, so the recommendations of the three panellists reflected a need to protect the network from being damaged by the allegations and there was much more unanimity at the end than there had been at the beginning.

Shilit went furthest in advocating self-preservation when he recommended "covering your arse" by "recording phone conversations" with those involved.

All three agreed that the independent production companies responsible for creating content should step up and face the music when things go wrong, with both Heggessey and Midgley wryly observing that indies are very keen to handle a programme's PR when everything is going well.

Ultimately though the most memorable moments were provided by Shalit's calculated revelation and Steve Hewlett's despairing take on a well-known showbiz motto: "never work with children, animals or Edelman."

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