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Red Planet Pictures eye new writing talent in 2018

Red Planet Pictures eye new writing talent in 2018

UK indie announces the launch of The Red Planet Prize 2018

Red Planet Pictures are pleased to announce our partnership with ITV Drama on The Red Planet Prize. We are searching for emerging writing talent who can create fresh and inspiring popular drama content. The winner of The Red Planet Prize, initially launched in 2007, will get a script commission and development opportunities with ITV.

Red Planet Pictures is home to popular dramas including Dickensian,The Ark and Death in Paradise (by a previous Prize finalist), whilst ITV has always played a vital part in the landscape of British drama where shows such as Cracker and Band of Gold, to the more recent Liar, Cold Feet and Broadchurch have had a huge influence on audiences.

The Red Planet Prize 2018 is looking for writers who can create characters that make audiences sit up and unmissable stories that demand to be watched. Writers will be asked to think big, think bold, think how they can make their idea stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Writers will be required to submit:
• an existing original spec script, full length and could be for any medium; TV, film, radio, theatre
• a one/two-page pitch for an original TV serial/series idea for ITV
• a short CV highlighting any previous writing credits (these are not essential to enter)

Up to ten shortlisted writers will then be invited to a pitching master-class with Red Planet Pictures CEO Tony Jordan (Life On Mars, Hustle, Dickensian) and ITV's Head of Drama, Polly Hill and Victoria Fea, ITV's Senior Drama Commissioner, who, along with actor Adrian Lester OBE (Riviera, Hustle, and next year's new ITV three-part drama, Trauma, alongside John Simm), make up the judging panel.

Hopefuls will then be asked to write the first ten pages of their original idea, and hone their pitch and series outline. The strongest ideas will have development input and up to four writers will be invited to final interview, from which the ultimate winner will be chosen. The successful writer will get a script commission and development opportunities with ITV.

This year's Prize winner will be produced by Kate Rowland, who will also be one of the judges. Rowland set up the BBC Writersroom and across her career she has been responsible for developing the early career of some of the UK's most successful screenwriters including Lee Hall (War Horse), Stephen Butchard (The Child in Time) and Sarah Phelps (And Then There Were None).

Screenwriters must be based in the UK and the original TV idea should not be in development with another broadcaster or production company.

Submissions will be welcomed from Thursday 1st February 2018 until Monday 12th February 2018 here on our website. The winner will be announced summer 2018.

Tony Jordan, Red Planet Pictures CEO, said; "We are incredibly proud that The Red Planet Prize is celebrating a decade of discovering new writing talent and generating new series ideas. There is a wealth of brilliantly creative and exciting new writers in the UK, but it's an incredibly difficult and competitive industry to break into. Every year it is a joy to uncover, develop and workshop with new talent, and we are delighted to partner with ITV Drama for 2018 to provide a much needed platform for the next generation of writers for television to get their first break, and in turn to bring fresh ideas and voices in to the industry."

Victoria Fea, ITV's Senior Drama Commissioner, added; "We are very excited to be collaborating with Red Planet Pictures on their new writers Prize. It's a wonderful opportunity to encourage new and diverse talent just at a time when the industry most needs it."

Adrian Lester, said; "I'm honoured to be part of the judging panel for The Red Planet Prize 2018. It is a really skilled craft to write original and engaging stories, and as an actor it is thrilling to pick up a script which fills you with excitement to bring energy and life to those characters. And while there are unlimited stories to be told there are not unlimited opportunities for new writers to tell their stories, which is why the Red Planet Prize is so extraordinary. I am very much looking forward to being part of the process to discover hidden writing talent during this competition!"

The Red Planet Prize launched in 2007 and has enjoyed considerable success in uncovering some true hidden talent. Designed to find and establish Britain's next generation of showrunners, the creative initiative has uncovered and developed a number of aspiring writers. Previous finalist Robert Thorogood created the BBC One smash hit series Death in Paradise, now starring Ardal O'Hanlon and produced by Red Planet Pictures, which returns to BBC One for a seventh series in January 2018.



What do I need to submit?

An existing original script for any medium, a one/two-page pitch for an original TV series/serial idea and a brief CV.

Can my script and pitch be for the same idea?

Yes but only if the idea is not in development with any other broadcaster or independent production company.

Can my spec script have been produced?

Yes, as long as it is an example of your original writing (e.g. stage play, radio play, feature film etc.)

Can my spec script be for an existing TV series?

No, we do not accept scripts written for an existing drama series. All ideas must be original.

Can my spec script be for a short film?

No, we need to see examples of your ability to extend and develop a narrative.

Can I submit with a writing partner?

Yes, as long as the spec script is an example of your writing partnership.

Can I enter if I am a resident of the Republic of Ireland?

Yes. Applicants must be residents of the UK or Republic of Ireland.

When is the deadline?

9am on Monday 12th February 2018. No submissions will be accepted after this time. Please ensure you submit with plenty of time.

How do I submit?

Writers will be asked to submit via the Red Planet website. A link will go live on Thursday 1st February 2018 where entrants will need to upload digital copies of their work.

When will I know whether I am through to the next stage?

Before 30th April 2018.

Will I receive feedback on my submission if I am unsuccessful?

No, feedback will not be given for unsuccessful submissions.