I'll post details here once the announcement's officially been made at the Cheltenham Screenwriting Festival later this morning...
...ahh, feck it. Broadcast has already blown the gaff on this, as has Shooting People, so here's the gist: Tony Jordan is launching a new, annual screenwriting competition called The Red Planet Prize, organised by his production company Red Planet Pictures. Full details can be found at the Red Planet Pictures website. Short version: submit the first ten pages of your screenplay, and be in the running to win £5000, representation and a script commission from Red Planet, while the six finalists get a workshop day with Jordan. Just as impressive are the judges - Jordan, Mark Gatiss, Stephen Fry and head of BBC drama commissioning Julie Gardener. Closing date for entries is September 1, 2007.
All good news, but I'm more interested in writing for TV than film. Still, I notice there's a page still under construction on the Red Planet website that's labelled as Writers Room. Now, it could simply be a portal to the excellent BBC writersroom, but it might be leading to something else in future. American TV drama usually features a writers' room, where staff writers plot and plan each episode, breaking the individual storylines down into beats for subsequent scripting. I've always fancied working in such an environment, but it doesn't happen much in the UK outside storylining and blue sky meetings for soaps and continuing dramas.
UPDATE: Several people have told me the above sounds like I'm not interested in the Red Planet Prize. Nothing could be further from the truth! A winner's haul of £5000, plus a guaranteed commission, plus representation - who wouldn't want that? My early morning grumpiness was due to the fact I thought it was a prize for film screenplays. Clarifications have since indicated the contest is not just film, you can submit TV material as your entry. So I'll definitely be submitting something.