The coordination behaviour of the Schiff-base, benzil bis(benzoylhydrazone), LH2 towards divalent nickel, lead, cadmium, zinc and copper ions has been investigated. The complexes have been fully characterized by techniques including 113Cd and 207Pb NMR, as well as 13C and 113Cd CP/MAS NMR and by single crystal X-ray diffraction. All the complexes have the general formula [ML]n (n = 1–3 depending on the metal ion), with the ligand doubly deprotonated. The nickel complex [NiL] 1 is a monomeric compound, the lead complex [PbL]22 shows a binuclear structure, whereas zinc [ZnL]34 and copper [CuL]35 complexes are trinuclear helicates. The cadmium 3 complex seems to be a dimer with a structure similar to that of 2. In the nickel 1 and lead 2 derivatives, the ligand behaves as a tetradentate N2O2 chelate and in complex 2 also as a bridge through one of the O atoms. In the crystal structures of Zn 4 and Cu 5 complexes [ML]3 each metal is in a pentadentate N3O2 environment formed by two different ligands, one tridentate chelate and the other bidentate chelate, giving rise to trinuclear helicates. These results point out the versatility of benzil bis(benzoylhydrazone) on its coordination.