Mayflies: Tony Curran (Tully) and Martin Compston (Jimmy)

Mayflies – first images from Martin Compston’s new BBC drama

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The BBC Scotland series also stars Ashley Jensen and Tony Curran. 

With filming complete, the BBC have released some images from their upcoming drama Mayflies. Based on Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed 2020 novel, the story has been adapted into a two-part drama.

Mayflies by Andrew O'Hagan book cover

Here’s the premise for Mayflies:

Everyone has a Tully Dawson – the friend who defines your life. In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, Jimmy 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.

Mayflies: Matt Littleson (Limbo) Rian Gordon (young Jimmy) Tom Glynn Carney (young Tully) Paul Gorman (Hogg) and Mitchell Robertson (Tibbs)

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.


Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Vigil) plays Jimmy, with Tony Curran (Doctor Who: Vincent and the Doctor) as Tully and Ashley Jensen as Anna.

The wider cast includes Tracy Ifeachor (Showtrial), Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk), Rian Gordon, Paul Gorman, Mitchell Robertson, Elaine C Smith, Shauna Macdonald, Cal MacAninch, Colin McCredie and newcomer Matt Littleson.

Mayflies: Tracy Ifeachor (Iona), Ashley Jensen (Anna), Tony Curran (Tully) and Martin Compston (Jimmy)

Mayflies is a Synchronicity Films (The Cry) production for the BBC, produced by Brian Kaczynski. Andrea Gibb (Swallows and Amazons) adapts Andrew O’Hagan’s novel and the director is Peter Mackie Burns (Rialto). The Executive producers are Andrea Gibb, Andrew O’Hagan and Claire Mundell for Synchronicity Films. Plus, Gavin Smith for BBC Scotland and Gaynor Holmes for BBC Drama.

Filmed in Scotland, Mayflies is a co-commission with BBC Scotland in association with All3Media International with support from Screen Scotland.

Mayflies will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer later in the year. We’ll keep you posted when we hear more.