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Martin Compston, Tony Curran and Ashley Jensen to star in new Scottish drama Mayflies for BBC One

Set in the summer of 1986, the two-part drama has been adapted by Andrea Gibb from Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed novel of the same name.

Announced at this year’s Edinburgh Television Festival, Mayflies is a new drama for BBC One, filmed in Scotland, directed by Peter Mackie Burns and starring Tony Curran as Tully Dawson. Everyone has a friend like Tully who defines your life.

In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, Jimmy, played by Martin Compston and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit.

With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain.

There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings.

Tully has the worst kind of news and a request that will test their friendship, love, and loyalty to the limit.

Ashley Jensen also stars in this new drama which promises to be a memorial to youth’s euphoria and to everyday tragedy. A tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love.

BBC's Drama Commissioning Editor, Gaynor Holmes, said "We’re incredibly proud to continue the BBC’s longstanding commitment to showcasing the very best of Scotland and Scottish talent with this distinctive new drama. Mayflies is an intimate and devastating portrait of male friendship that manages to be both life-affirming and heart-breaking, and we’re delighted to have assembled an outstanding lead cast and creative team to bring it from page to screen." 


To which Claire Mundell, Executive Producer, Founder and Creative Director of Synchronicity Films, added "Andrew’s novel is nostalgic, poignant and moving, following a life-long friendship and exploring the optimism of youth and the realities of later life."

"It honestly depicts the bonds and boundaries of a shared life and values. We are excited to be working with Andrew, Peter, Andrea and the BBC to collaborate on an authentic scripted adaptation of this acclaimed Scottish novel."

Speaking about the project, screenwriter and Executive Producer, Andrea Gibb, said "Adapting Andrew O’Hagan’s magnificent novel has been one of the highlights of my career. Andrew tells his story of enduring male friendship with love, truth, tenderness and a searing humanity. There’s not an ounce of sentimentality."

"It’s very funny and deeply moving. The characters of Tully and Jimmy are instantly recognisable and totally unforgettable. Both are so alive and vibrant they leap off the page. It’s been a joy and a privilege living with them."


To which novelist, Andrew O’Hagan, added "For a while now, I’ve admired the work of Synchronicity Films — Scottish in its bones and international in complexion — and it's a thrill to see them bringing Mayflies to BBC One."

"The story is a very personal one to me, and it’s amazing to see the characters come to life in Andrea Gibb’s wonderful adaptation. Director Peter Mackie Burns has a singular vision, and I look forward to seeing what he makes of the Ayrshire landscape and the emotional reality of this story."

Filming will take place in and around Glasgow and Ayrshire this autumn and it will be produced by Synchronicity Films for the BBC in association with All3 Media International, with support from Screen Scotland. It will be produced by Brian Kaczynski, written by Andrea Gibb and directed by Peter Mackie Burns.

Executive producers are Andrea Gibb, Claire Mundell for Synchronicity Films, Gavin Smith for BBC Scotland and Gaynor Holmes for BBC Drama. Mayflies was commissioned by Ben Irving, Acting Director of Drama, Gaynor Holmes, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, and was co-commissioned by Louise Thornton, Head of Multi-Platform Commissioning, for BBC Scotland.

Mayflies will air on BBC One


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