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Lockie Leonard (2007 - current)

Children's series
52 episodes x 30 minutes

Series synopsis:

The first series of Lockie Leonard is a 26-part live action comedy-drama based on a trilogy of semi-autographical books by award-winning Western Australian author Tim Winton. The first series follows a 12-year-old city boy and 'surf rat’ when he moves from the city to Angelus, a fictional remote town on the coast of Western Australia. Here Lockie (Sean Keenan) deals with the usual teen angst: coping with an embarassing family, making new friends, and first love. He forms an unlikely friendship with local headbanger Egg (Clarence John Ryan), and learns to navigate bullies and snobs and get close to Vicki Streeton (Gracie Gilbert), who is rich, smart and the mayor’s daughter.

A second, 26-part series of Lockie Leonard screened in 2010–11. Vicki goes to boarding school and Lockie befriends Mel (Laura Fairclough). He is also joined at Angelus High School by his precocious younger brother Philip (Corey McKernan).

Curator’s Notes:

‘I felt like I was making myself up as I went along’ (Lockie, Stormy Mondays).

Lockie’s laconic and self-deprecating humour, and the unique landscape, make Lockie Leonard a strongly Australian series, while its examination of experiences common to all teenagers resonates with an international audience. The program’s themes include the agonies of an embarrasing family, the challenges of high school, finding your ‘tribe’, having to pretend to be someone you are not to impress others, standing up to bullies for what you think is right, and the many complexites of communication, love and sex. Issues are all tackled from the point of view of Lockie, who is awkward but appealing, tongue-tied but smart, into self preservation but loyal enough to stick his neck out for his friends. The series builds empathy for him using a mix of real-time action and fantasy sequences from his perspective.

The series was adapted from the multi-award winning Lockie books by Tim Winton: Human Torpedo (1990), Scumbuster (1993) and Legend (1997). The books are loosely based on Winton’s experiences when his family moved to the coastal Western Australian town of Albany after his police officer father was posted there. The series was shot in Albany, standing in for the fictional town of Angelus, with the school scenes filmed in Winton’s former school, Albany Senior High School.

Lockie Leonard was one of 14 dramas for children produced in Australia in 2006. The creative team behind the series has a huge collective experience in television both for adults and children and includes producer Kylie du Fresne and directors Tony Tilse, Wayne Blair, James Bogle, Roger Hodgman and Peter Templeman, whose short film The Saviour was nominated for an Oscar in 2007. Series writers include Keith Thompson and Ken Kelso. The show’s theme song was composed and performed by popular Perth band, Jebediah.

Lockie Leonard is played by 13-year-old Sean Keenan, a self-confessed ‘surf rat’ from Busselton, Western Australia, in his TV debut. Like Tim Winton and Lockie Leonard before him, Sean had to move to Albany with his family for the three-month shoot. Lockie’s younger brother Philip is played by another newcomer to television, Corey McKernan. His dad, Sarge, is played by television veteran Rhys Muldoon and his mother by Briony Williams. Clarence John Ryan (Egg) played the co-lead in the Tropfest feature film September (2007).

Although the series was broadcast in a children’s timeslot in Australia, Winton, in an interview in The Sydney Morning Herald (18 June 2007), believes that the program has strands of irony and humour that resonate with adults, and that the series has a ‘warm, humane decency which makes it watchable for people of all ages’. He was disappointed that the series was not broadcast in a later family timeslot.

Lockie Leonard was launched on Jetix in the United Kingdom in the prime-time slot of 6.00 pm on 14 April 2007. In Australia, the first series was broadcast Tuesday to Thursday at 4.00 pm on the Nine Network, premiering on 19 June 2007. Lockie Leonard won the AFI Award for Best Children’s Drama and the ATOM award for Best Children’s Television series in 2007, and the 2008 TV Week Logie Award for Best Children’s Television series. Sean Keenan won the AFI Young Actor Award in 2007.

The second series screened in the US and UK from mid-2010. It screened weekly on the Nine Network in a late morning-early afternoon Saturday children’s timeslot from 21 August 2010. After a break in broadcast over the Australian summer and autumn, episodes resumed on 4 June 2011. Series two of Lockie Leonard received AFI Award nominations in 2010 for Best Children’s Television Drama, Lead Actor (Corey McKernan) and Supporting Actor in a Television Drama (Rhys Muldoon).

Titles in this series

Lockie Leonard – The Human Torpedo 2006

For ‘surf rat’ Lockie Leonard (Sean Keenan), ‘life is proving to be one long whack in the goolies’. Discovering that his new home is a dump on the edge of a swamp, starting high school in a new town without ...