‘Mayflies’ first look: ‘Line of Duty’ star’s BBC drama set in 1980s Scotland

We’ve got the first look at the BBC’s upcoming adaptation of Mayflies.

Based on the 2020 novel by Andrew O’Hagan, the two-part Scottish drama has been filming in and around Glasgow and Ayrshire this autumn.

O’Hagan’s book has been adapted by screenwriter Andrea Gibb (Elizabeth Is Missing) and the producers of The Cry.

Described as “a memorial to youth’s euphoria and to everyday tragedy,” Mayflies follows the story of two friends from 1986 to the present day.

Leading the cast as Jimmy and Tully are Line of Duty actor Martin Compston and Tony Curran (Doctor Who).

They’re joined by Ashley Jensen (Agatha Raisin) and Tracy Ifeachor (Showtrial).

The official synopsis reads: “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. 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…”

Playing the group of friends in the ’80s are Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk) as young Tully, Rian Gordon (Vigil) as young Jimmy, Paul Gorman (Outlander) as young Hogg, Mitchell Robertson (A Very British Scandal) as young Tibbs, and newcomer Matt Littleson as young Limbo.

The cast also includes Elaine C Smith (Two Doors Down), Shauna Macdonald (The Descent), Cal MacAninch (Time), and Colin McCredie (River City).

Writer and executive producer Andrea Gibb commented: “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.”

Mayflies will premiere in the UK this winter on BBC One, BBC Scotland and streaming on BBC iPlayer.

Andrew O’Hagan’s novel Mayflies is available on Amazon.