Friday, May 06, 2011

Regular readers of Newsround Blog should be aware that Joe Godwin, Director of BBC Children's, attends the Kidscreen Summit in New York. This year he participated in a session which discussed children's heroes and superheroes (blog 10 April 2011)

Leonardo is being heavily promoted, and few kids who watch children's TV will have missed seeing the series trailer. The website describes it as a "drama following the adventures of the teenage Leonardo da Vinci and his friends." The opening title sequence of every episode broadcast so far sets the story in Florence in 1467.

Florence 1467

Nowhere are kids cautioned that Leonardo is makebelieve. It is a false and misleading account of the teenage years of Leonardo da Vinci.

The fifth episode 'It Must Be Love' portrays Leonardo as head-over-heels in love with a girl called Valentina, and apparently it's love at first sight. Chatting to a friend, Leonardo exclaims - "She is so beautiful. When I look at her I can barely breathe."

Leonardo on CBBC - Episode 5 - It Must Be Love
Leonardo and Valentina flirt together

The series fails children on multiple levels. One of the many issues with Leonardo is that, in reality, the eponymous superhero would have been more likely to be head-over-heels in love with one of his male friends (blog 13 April 2011)

Since my earlier blogs on this topic, I've found out more about the Kidscreen Summit Heroes And Superheroes session, and it seems the issue of LGBT heroes was not raised by any of the panel. This was particularly unfortunate because the reality of the My Hero project is so much at variance with its founding principles. For example there is currently no information about LGBT History Month on their website. I have raised this with them.

Despite CBBC's profoundly misleading account of the life of Leonardo da Vinci, it seems that Joe Godwin has, for years, been telling LGBT rights and support groups that CBBC inclusiveness will improve. On 12 March 2011 he spoke to Families Together London (FTL)

CBBC's Leonardo series is contrary to everything LGBT History Month stands for, quite apart from also being at odds with the BBC's Mission, Values and Public Purposes.

Leonardo is broadcast on Mondays on the CBBC Channel at 5.15pm.
Episode 5 - 'It Must Be Love' is repeated tomorrow at 10am on the CBBC Channel. The series is also presently available online in the UK.

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