The prize recognises diverse and talented writers who can create original and authentic drama with mainstream appeal. Receiving a script commission as part of the winner’s prize, Barr will now work with both Red Planet Pictures and ITV to develop CURIO as a fresh and original four-part drama. Alongside runner up Nick Ahad who will receive development opportunities with Red Planet Pictures and ITV on the back of his script, Apnay.
Barr is a deaf writer and actor and has previously collaborated with screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne on several projects, most recently on factual drama Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won (BBC Two). Her script, CURIO, freshly examines the question of consent. When the family of a disabled man accuse his girlfriend of rape, a newspaper’s investigation throws up a spate of abuse cases surrounding the contentious issue of Facilitated Communication. A coming-of-age love story as much as a crime drama, Curio tackles disability, social care, responsible journalism, and language. It pits family against friends and law against media in the pursuit of truth.
Genevieve Barr said upon winning the competition; “I am totally overwhelmed and thrilled that CURIO has been selected. Thank you so much to Red Planet and ITV for this opportunity and for their efforts in developing emerging writers. I can’t wait to get into the story.”
Runner-up Ahad, is a Yorkshire-based journalist, broadcaster. He tells the story of a crime family in Bradford and the head of the family’s quest to appoint an heir before her death. Apnay takes the audience through the kitchen doors of Bradford’s curry houses and reveals a world that is at once familiar and disorientating, compelling and terrifying.
To find the eventual winners, fifteen shortlisted writers were invited to a virtual pitching master-class with our CEO Tony Jordan and Chloe Tucker, ITV Drama Commissioner, who, along with actor and writer Rhashan Stone OBE (Keeping Faith, Apple Tree Yard), Belinda Campbell, our Joint Managing Director and Kate Rowland, our Creative Consultant made up the judging panel.
Actor and writer, Rhashan Stone, said of the two winners; "I was captivated by Genevieve’s writing. She’s smart, confident and mischievous. She’s out to challenge our preconceptions and does so with humour, intelligence and emotional insight. Her voice feels so fresh, so authentic, I can’t wait to read more from this fiercely talented writer."
"Not only was I won over by Nick’s vibrant (and often violent) story of a Bangladeshi crime family, I was won over by Nick himself. Smart and charismatic - Apnay packs a punch and is just as vibrant, funny and full of life as he is."
ITV Drama Commissioner, Chloe Tucker, said: “We have met so many great writers during this prize, and are delighted to announce Genevieve as the winner and Nick as the runner up.
Genevieve's writing is so visceral and surprising, it gets under your skin. We're also very happy to recognise Nick's work, which is incredibly entertaining. I want to thank everyone at Red Planet for helping us discover such brilliant talent.”
Red Planet Pictures’ Creative Consultant, Kate Rowland, added; “We absolutely love running the Red Planet Prize, but this year has been truly exceptional. During an unprecedented time, these stories and writers reflect the kind of stories we want and need to tell – diverse, complex, and original. A true writing talent, Genevieve’s script was captivating and as funny as it was emotional. Nick’s script was also one we couldn’t put down and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”
Thank you to all the writers who entered this year’s Red Planet Prize, run in partnership with ITV drama. We received an incredible 1,280 competition entries and thoroughly enjoyed discovering so many original voices and stories.