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Red Planet Pictures and ITV on the hunt for new writing talent in 2020

Red Planet Pictures and ITV on the hunt for new writing talent in 2020

Red Planet Prize searches for untapped talent to write drama for ITV

UK independent production company Red Planet Pictures and ITV, have launched the 2020 Red Planet Prize, a bi-annual competition that champions talent and diversity by calling on emerging writers to submit their drama scripts to a panel of experts; this year’s award will focus on finding original voices to bring into the mainstream. The winner of The Red Planet Prize will receive a script commission and the runner up will get development opportunities with ITV.

The two giants of popular drama will once again join forces to champion untapped talent and find under-represented voices with bold new serial and series ideas. This year the judges will focus on unmissable four-part contemporary thrillers (this could be psychological, conspiracy, relationship, crime or political) and returning procedural series (crime, medical and legal). To be considered, writers will be required to submit: 

•    An existing original spec script, full length and for any medium TV, film, radio and theatre
•    A one to two-page pitch for an original TV serial or series idea for ITV  
•    A short CV highlighting any writing credits (these are not essential to enter)
•    Screenwriters must be based in the UK and Eire. The idea should not be in development with another broadcaster or independent company.  

Submissions will open online on March 27th with the closing deadline of April 3rd  2020. The shortlist masterclass will take place in May 2020 and the winner will be announced in July 2020. 

Up to ten shortlisted writers will be invited to a one-day pitching masterclass with Tony Jordan, award-winning writer and CEO of Red Planet Pictures and ITV Drama Execs. They will then have three weeks to write up their pitch and series outline. Joining as ITV’s Drama commissioner in 2019, this will be Chloe Tucker’s first Red Planet Prize and she will be judging the shortlist alongside Kate Rowland (Creative Consultant), Belinda Campbell (Joint Managing Director of Red Planet Pictures) and writer and actor, Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith, Apple Tree Yard).

Chloe Tucker, ITV Drama Commissioner, said of the competition; “ITV is the home of mainstream drama. Our shows need to be noisy, unmissable and appeal to a wide audience, which means reflecting and celebrating the diverse makeup of the UK today. We are looking for brilliant storytellers and particularly encourage writers from underrepresented communities. ITV is for everyone, across background, race, disability, sexuality, gender identity and expression.”

Kate Rowland, Creative Consultant added; “Writers are the lifeblood of the television industry and we are looking for new talent with bold ideas who can create unforgettable contemporary drama with characters that make you want to tune in week after week. We’re always blown away by the writers that we unearth, and we can’t wait to see what this year brings.”

ITV has always played a vital part in the landscape of British drama and shows such as Cracker, Scott & Bailey, to the more recent Cheat, White House Farm, The Bay and Butterfly have had an impact on audiences, whilst also promoting emerging talent in the key 9.00pm slot. 

Red Planet Pictures is the home of popular drama, from Sanditon and Dickensian, to the much-loved Death in Paradise, a previous Prize finalist now in its ninth series.

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Note to editors:

About Red Planet Prize
Launched in 2007, the Red Planet Prize offers the winner a script commission.  Previous winners include Robert Thorogood who created the BBC One smash hit series Death in Paradise and 2016 winner Tom Nash who is also now a regular writer for the series. 2018’s winner, Devlin Doyle currently has an exciting project, Devoted, in development with Red Planet Pictures and is lead writer for Dontrod Entertainment on a video-game project. Sharma Wallfall, runner up, is in development with Red Planet Pictures and just taken part in a writer’s room with RED Production Company for a new drama series.

About Red Planet Pictures 
Red Planet Pictures has produced some of the UK’s most popular drama content of recent years, including nine series of the BBC One ratings hit Death in Paradise, with episode one of the series eight pulling in a consolidated audience of 8million, and a slot winning share of 33%.      

The dynamic indie has also produced the ambitious and critically acclaimed 20-part drama Dickensian, for the BBC, big budget adventure drama series Hooten & The Lady for Sky One, the critically acclaimed WWI drama The Passing Bells and the retelling of Noah’s Ark, The Ark, both for BBC One. 

The 8x60’ drama adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel, Sanditon, was developed by Emmy and BAFTA-Award winning writer Andrew Davies for ITV and is now airing on Masterpiece (currently the highest rated new UK drama of the last 12 months, doubling the PBS primetime average). Series nine of Death in Paradise is currently airing on BBC One and series ten will go into production in Spring 2020.
 
Red Planet Pictures was founded by award-winning writer Tony Jordan in 2005.