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Having never written before, Leo had taken a gamble and put pen to paper, fully unaware of the doors it would open for him. Gone are the days of construction work to fill the acting gaps. Workshopped at the National, performed at Trafalgar Studios, Richardson’s “Shitmix” garnered praise from all corners. “I think with “Shitmix” the typical thing was that critics would say is that it would make a great locale for a sitcom.The characters are like people you know. People just kept telling me to do more with it. So I played around with the story and decided it had to be done.”

“If someone is young and talented then it needs to be nurtured.” However, the transition period from play to television was not as easy as Leo imagined it would be. “”The actual writing of it, from stage to television, was easy, almost effortless. Which is why it felt so right. Before I wrote the TV version and met TV people, was the part I found more discouraging. In Britain it is all about age and experience, but I think if someone is young and talented then it needs to be nurtured”. Far from opening doors instantly, Leo noted that in some cases snobbery existed and he came to the conclusion which follows. “The attitudes in Britain, I find can be really uptight. The Americans are very pro young talent. If a young person walks into a television producer’s office they are dubious, whereas in America they get excited.“ “I think if you want to do something, you need to just make people listen to you. Just be fearlessly optimistic.” Persistence pays off. Leo was determined to succeed and eventually found a home at the BBC, whom he can do nothing but sing the praises of. “I have to say the BBC have been amazing to me, just so supportive and welcoming.”

acters people will like. They aren’t too cool, they are just real. They aren’t kids who can fly down drainpipes and land safely at the bottom. They are all vulnerable.” A coming of age series devoid of the glorified melodramas, Leo has taken a look at his own youth and those of people around him currently to ensure that rather than simply sensationalising reality his work has an integrity. “People often see me as someone I’m not. They think that I’m a party animal, when the truth is very different.” Realising that perceptions aren’t always reality, Leo wants to capture today’s teenagers as they are and not as the press perceives them, not everyone is a drug taking, knife-wielding hoodie. “There aren’t lots of drugs. There is an incident with canderel, but its mainly booze. That’s what I see 17 year old kids really doing.” Writing with a teenage target audience, Leo firmly believes that his actions have direct consequences. “I think that “Skins” is socially irresponsible on lots of levels. The message they send out can often be wrong. The advertising sequence for the third series was a bunch of people smashing up a pub. That for me is not the right message for young people. I really believe that in television you have to send out the right message to people. “Skins” was a really successful series and I don’t want to put it down or anything. But for me, I think you have to create a world people live in and not one that doesn’t exist.”

“Skins is socially irresponsible on lots of levels.”

The focus on writing has meant that the acting is currently taking a backseat. “I just took my producer’s advice really. It was just that I had never really done this before and I would learn a lot. It would be so much pressure for me to just do the writing, as that is enough pressure as it is. Just so as “I think the BBC need something like this to com- not to cloud my head too much.” But Leo has not pete with E4, who make brilliant shows. They need written off his acting dreams, merely found a dual shows for younger people. I only write stuff that I career. I am in talks with BBC3 about a new series think will entertain people.” Having changed the I have written called “Beautality”, which is someproduction’s title from “Shitmix” to “Stanley Park”, thing I have written and also plan to act in.” in order to align himself with BBC guidelines, Leo knew he had to maintain the honesty at “Shitmix’”’s Be it writing or acting, Leo is not complaining about his workload. Whilst currently “living in limbo, or core to ensure it’s appeal. hell” whilst the BBC decide whether to commission “The characters that I write in “Stanley Park” are a full series of “Stanley Park”, Leo is “just getting kids that live in a world full of consequence. I think on with other things” and creating new opportunithat is the important thing. I have tried to write char- ties for himself on both sides of the big pond. “Stanley Park” airs at 9pm on 10th June (BBC3)

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The Kaje - Issue 2 (June 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 2 takes a look at: The Bang...

The Kaje - Issue 2 (June 2010)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 2 takes a look at: The Bang...

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