29th February 2008 at 00:00
Gruff detective Gene Hunt may have been a hit with viewers of Life on Mars, but the sexist, violent police officer did not win the heart of a certain teachers' union leader.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, criticised the television character's use of the phrase "fairy boy" last year, saying it might promote homophobic bullying.

But the National Union of Teachers seems happy to be connected with the series set in the 1970s. It is sponsoring a Teachers TV competition, which will be judged by Ashley Pharoah (above), co-creator of Life on Mars and its sequel Ashes to Ashes.

Teachers are being invited to submit fictional monologues about school life. The two winning scripts will be aired on Teachers TV later this year. Last year's competition, also sponsored by the NUT, attracted more than 700 entries and was judged by scriptwriter Tony Marchant.

As well as helping to invent DCI Hunt, Mr Pharoah has written scripts for Hustle, Casualty and Eastenders. As a pupil, he attended the independent Queen Elizabeth's Hospital School in Bristol, which may have inspired his 2005 adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays, starring Stephen Fry.

The competition is only open to those working in education. You have until March 25 to submit scripts of 800-1,000 words.


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