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My Name is Leon: release date speculation, plot, cast for BBC One drama

Everything you need to know about BBC One's one-part adaptation of Kit de Waal's award-winning novel.

My Name is Leon cast
Published: Friday, 16th April 2021 at 2:31 pm

Kit de Waal's tender novel My Name Is Leon will soon receive the onscreen treatment, as the award-winning tale is being adapted for BBC One.


Set in the Eighties, it follows a young, mixed-race boy named Leon who has been taken into care and is on a mission to bring his family back together. A touching and moving story, it is sure to be as memorable on screen as it is on the page.

Here's what we know about My Name Is Leon so far:

When is My Name Is Leon on BBC One?

Filming for the single-part drama is currently taking place in Birmingham. It's not yet known when it will hit our TV screens, but we'll update this page as soon as we know.

My Name Is Leon: What's it about?

If you've read Kit de Waal's internationally best-selling novel, you'll already be aware that it's a tale full of emotion, heart and triumph set against the race riots of the 1980s.

It is told through the eyes of Leon, a nine-year-old, mixed-race boy who is on a quest to reunite his family after being taken into care.

Although his foster carer Maureen, with her wild hair and potty mouth, treats him well, Leon still longs to be back with his mum and younger brother, Jake. So he goes on a journey to figure out more about the world, about love and about what family really means - all with his favourite action figure Sergeant Smith by his side.

Tissues at the ready - it's sure to be a tearjerker...

Malachi Kirby
Malachi Kirby (Getty Images)

My Name is Leon cast

Child actor Cole Martin will play lead character Leon in his first TV role. He will be supported by a strong cast, which features Malachi Kirby (Small Axe) – who said of the show: "It’s rare, in my experience, for projects such as this to be made and even more rare to be seen, so I’m really excited and grateful to be a part of it."

Monica Dolan (A Very English Scandal) also stars. Of being involved, she said: "Rarely do you get the chance even to read a script of such heart, soul and wisdom... And it could not have come at a more appropriate time."

Other cast members include Olivia Williams (Counterpart) Christopher Eccleston (The A Word), Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge) and Sir Lenny Henry CBE (The Lord of the Rings).

Monica Dolan
Monica Dolan (Getty Images)

Who else is involved?

Screenwriter and director Shola Amoo – whose previous work includes films The Last Tree and A Moving Image – takes the writing reins in this, his first screenplay for TV.

The Bush Theatre's Lynette Linton will direct, while Lenny Henry is the executive producer. Speaking of his involvement, he said: "I discovered the book whilst performing the audiobook and was so moved on the first day’s work that I rang my office at lunchtime and said, we’ve got to try and do this.

"Thankfully, after five years, we’ve pulled it together with a great writer (Shola Amoo), director (Lynette Linton), cast and crew. I can’t wait to see the results."

Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry Getty

Is there a trailer?

Not yet - but when it's released, you'll be able to watch it right here.


My Name Is Leon will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. While you're waiting, take a look at our other Drama coverage, or find out what else is on with our TV guide.


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