Set and filmed in Scotland, Mayflies is a co-commission with BBC Scotland and will be made by the Bafta Award-winning Synchronicity Films (The Cry) for the BBC, adapted by Andrea Gibb (Elizabeth Is Missing) from Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed novel of the same name, and directed by Peter Mackie Burns (Rialto).
Everyone has a Tully Dawson (Tony Curran) – the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, Jimmy (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…
Mayflies is 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.
Gaynor Holmes, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, says: “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 heartbreaking, and we’re delighted to have assembled an outstanding lead cast and creative team to bring it from page to screen.”
Claire Mundell, Executive Producer, Founder and Creative Director of Synchronicity Films, says: “Andrew’s novel is nostalgic, poignant and moving, following a lifelong 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.”
Andrea Gibb, Screenwriter and Executive Producer, says: “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.”
Andrew O’Hagan, novelist, says: “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.”
Mayflies (2×60’) is a Synchronicity Films production 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. All3Media International are handling worldwide sales outside of the UK.
Filming will take place in and around Glasgow and Ayrshire this autumn. Mayflies will air on BBC One, BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer.
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