HolbyBlue creator Jordan unveils winner of new writing prize

HolbyBlue creator Tony Jordan has revealed the winner of a competition set up through his production company Red Planet Pictures to discover new writing talent in the UK.

Forty-year-old Joanna Leigh, a lexicographer from Wales, is the first person to receive the Red Planet Prize and will now go on to have her script developed by the company.

Leigh, who studied screenwriting at the London College of Printing, wrote a script called Sam J, which is about the writer Samuel Johnson and how he came to produce his dictionary masterpiece.

Her script was chosen by a panel including Jordan, BBC Wales head of drama Julie Gardner, actor and writer Mark Gatiss and Stephen Fry.

Gatiss described Leigh’s script as a “terrific page turner”, while Gardner said it was a “bold and inventive dramatisation of a critical moment in the history of English literature”.

Jordan said: “Joanna’s script had everything the competition was trying to find – a unique voice, great characters and a remarkable story well told.”

Leigh, who beat off competition from more than 2,000 entrants to win the prize, said she was “thrilled” to win.

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