Indie Red Planet Pictures and ITV will hold the next phase of their bi-annual writing competition as digital masterclasses this year.

The winner of The Red Planet Prize gets a script commission and the runner up will get development opportunities with ITV. Previous winners include Death In Paradise creator Robert Thorogood.

Leading the online sessions this year will be writer and Red Planet CEO Tony Jordan, ITV Drama Commissioner Chloe Tucker, Red Planet Joint MD Belinda Campbell, Red Planet Creative Consultant Kate Rowland and actor and writer, Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith, Apple Tree Yard).

Taking place online for the first time on 17th June via Zoom, the one-day digital masterclasses will feature up to 12 participants who will have been whittled down from over a thousand applicants. Finding out if they have made it through by early June, those who take part will see Chloe Tucker head up a group Q&A session for the shortlisted writers, while Tony Jordan will host a session on honing and pitching ideas to broadcasters. Executives from ITV and Red Planet Pictures will then conduct individual one-to-one sessions with each of the writers and offer feedback and notes on their pitches. The participants will then have a week to resubmit their pitches before four writers are selected for final judges’ interviews. The interviews will take place on 10th July, with the winner being announced shortly after.

Having received over a thousand applications a team of 10 readers have been working alongside Kate Rowland to review every single script submitted. This year’s award has focussed on finding original voices to bring into the mainstream.

Chloe Tucker, ITV Drama Commissioner, said of the competition; “We’re delighted with how many people applied to the competition. In these challenging times we’re all having to adapt the ways we work, and luckily, we have the technology to do the masterclasses remotely and keep up the momentum. We’re committed to finding emerging talent and are excited about meeting the next wave of new voices.”

Kate Rowland, Creative Consultant added; “We have been blown away by the applicants this year and we’re so pleased that we’re been able to continue the competition – albeit digitally. Our commitment, alongside ITV’s, in finding the best up and coming talent hasn’t diminished. Although the industry is going through a challenging time currently, we know that the need for new voices and stories is needed now more than ever.” 

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 prepping for its tenth series.

Jon Creamer