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Sunday April 10, 2011 12:37 pm

Leonardo On CBBC




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Television

LeonardoAttention Great Britain!

If you're going to be around what you folks call a telly on Monday evening April 11, you might want to check out a TV series called Leonardo that's airing on CBBC at 5:15pm (17:15).

The first episode is called "Anything Goes." UK's Telegraph has already given the show a thumbs up, saying it "has its roots in traditional adventure drama. And thoroughly engaging it is too."

Picture Leonardo da Vinci as a teenager lurking in the 15th century streets, alleys, rooftops and underground tunnels of Florence, using his brains and his prototype inventions to expose corruption and fight a conspiracy that threatens to bring down the city.

Leonardo is played by Jonathan Bailey. Elements of the series are fictionalized of course, though historical figures do pop up, including Leonardo's best friend Machiavelli, the Borgias, the Medicis and a whole lot more. It's written in a modern style (hardly a "thee" or a "thou" on display), and you'll even find Radiohead on the series soundtrack.

Another reason to watch, of course, is that I co-created the series. My writing partner, Dan Danko, came up with the idea and we originally drafted it as a book pitch some years ago at the request of an editor we knew. The original pitch contained the phrase "teenage Renaissance Batman," and elements of that still exist in the show.

The book project didn't fly, though, but we had a producer friend in the UK we'd worked with before who knew people. He put the project in front of them and the series bible was assembled. We did a presentation to the BBC in the summer of 2009 and series was acquired by them later that year. The writing took place in the first half of 2010 and shooting was done in South Africa in the latter half of the year.

There's adventure, action, mystery, some humor and some creepy stuff, too. Leonardo was designed to fit in with other CBBC shows like MI High and The Sarah Jane Adventures so if you're a fan, you should like this one too.

There are 13 episodes in Season One. Each episode stands alone, but there's a thread of conspiracy that runs through the series that leads up to the finale.

Hopefully the series will get picked up by BBC America and also get shown worldwide. [I do believe that comic book rights are still available as are the novelization rights.]

If you miss the launch day's broadcast, don't worry. They repeat it like crazy throughout the week.

[Artwork: The cast of Leonardo, airing Monday on CBBC]

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