All about My Name Is Leon - the BBC film set in 1980s Birmingham produced by Lenny Henry

The BBC film adaptation My Name Is Leon is the latest Birmingham-based show to appear on TV. Here’s when it’s on TV, who is in it and where it was filmed

Excitement is building for the latest Birmingham-based show on TV called My Name Is Leon.

It is a film adaptation of the best selling novel by Brummie Irish author Kit De Waal, produced by Lenny Henry and others for the BBC.

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The film follows the success of two other Birmingham inspired TV shows this year.   The final series of Peaky Blinders - starring world famous Cillian Murphy as the head of the post World War One Brummie gangster clan The Shelby’s - was screened on the BBC in February.

And DI Ray - with Parminder Nagra  who appeared in the 2002 movie Bend It Like Beckham in the lead role - which was shown on ITV last month.

Here is all you need to know about My Name is Leon as the series gets underway on BBC Two on Friday evening (June 10).

My Name Is Leon

What is My Name is Leon about?

The film is set in 1980s Birmingham against the backdrop of the Handsworth race riots and tells the uplifting and moving story of nine-year-old Leon - a mixed-race boy with a quest to reunite his family after being taken into care and separated from his blonde and blue-eyed baby brother.

The BBC film is adapted from Kit De Waal’s best-selling book which is an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the for the Desmond Elliott Prize and winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017.

Kit De Waal grew up in Moseley and went to school in Small Heath. My Name Is Leon is recommended as a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss, the fierce bond between siblings and finding your way home.

Cole Martin as Leon in My Name is Leon, kissing his baby brother on the forehead (Credit: Ben Gregory-Ring/BBC/Douglas Road Productions)

Who is in the cast for My Name Is Leon?

My Name Is Leon stars Malachi Kirby, Monica Dolan, Olivia Williams, Christopher Eccleston, Poppy Lee Friar, Shobna Gulati and Sir Lenny Henry CBE. Cole Martin plays the lead, Leon, in his first TV role.

Where is My Name Is Leon filmed?

The entire production was filmed in and around Birmingham, including spots like Cannon Hill Park, Moor Green Lane Allotments, and Jewellery Quarter.

My Name Is Leon

What has Lenny Henry said about producing My Name Is Leon?

Speaking of the film, Sir Lenny Henry said: "One of the best things about being involved in the TV adaptation of My Name Is Leon is that I’m from Dudley in the Black Country and the story is set in 80’s Birmingham. We shot the film in Moseley and it was great to be in and around the familiar-sounding voices of home.

“It takes a lot to get a small film made in Birmingham on our screens these days - but it was worth it in my eyes. My Name Is Leon is a great novel, full of moving and laugh-out-loud moments. I hope everyone enjoys it. We made it in the Midlands and it’s Bostin’."

Lenny Henry and Kit De Waal with My Name Is Leon star Cole Martin

What has Kit De Waal said about writing My Name Is Leon?

When talking to the National Teen Book Club recently Kit De Waal, Author of My Name is Leon said:“I never considered writing as a career when I was young, the only writers I knew were dead. Even when I began to read widely in my 20s, it was still a case of: if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. No one from my background – poor, black and Irish – wrote books - it just wasn’t an option. Taking part in the National Teen Book Club is a great opportunity to meet young people from all over the UK and spark that fire in the next generation of writers, publishers and illustrators.

When is My Name Is Leon on TV?

The film will be aired on BBC Two on Friday (June 10) at 21:00 BST and can be watched on BBC iPlayer.

My Name Is Leon

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