BBC One has ordered My Name Is Leon, a one-off adaptation of the novel of the same name by Kit de Waal.
My Name Is Leon is set in 1980s Britain and tells the uplifting and incredibly moving story of nine year old Leon, a mixed-race boy whose desire is to keep his family together, as his single-parent mother suffers a devastating breakdown.
Separated from his blonde and blue-eyed baby brother, Leon remains full of energy and hopefulness, in spite of the hardships he encounters. Told through Leon’s eyes, we follow his journey and witness the start of a touching relationship between him and his foster career Maureen. With his favourite action figure Sergeant Smith by his side, Leon’s quest to be reunited with his sibling takes him on an adventure of self-discovery and discovery of family, in its various guises.
The novel was adapted by Shola Amoo, marking his first screenplay for television. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Controller of Drama Piers Wenger and the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore. Douglas Road Productions and producing, with Carol Harding set as the producer. The executive producers are Lenny Henry, Angela Ferreira, Gub Neal, Edward Barlow and Mona Qureshi. Kibwe Tavares is attached to direct.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this ground-breaking project for the BBC”, Shola Amoo said in a statement. “It was a real honour and privilege to adapt Kit De Waal’s touching and thought-provoking book for the screen and I can’t wait to share it with the world.”
“While making my first short film about the Brixton riots and police brutality, I found out a lot about myself and started confronting questions around race and identity that I’d maybe shied away from before”, commented Kibwe Tavares. “Leon was pushed much more violently into this journey at a much younger age… I feel lucky and excited to work with Kit and Shola in telling Leon’s story. It’s an important one.”
While Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Executive Producer for Douglas Road Productions, added: “I was halfway through recording the audiobook for My Name Is Leon when I realised I was in love. Kit de Waal’s peerless narrative had me entranced from the beginning and didn’t let me go until the final sentence. Shola’s adaptation does the story great justice