Synchronicity Films, maker of The Cry and Only You, has been commissioned by the BBC to produce a 2 x 1 hour mini-series based on Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed novel Mayflies, a co-commission with BBC Scotland in association with All3 Media International, with support from Screen Scotland.

Andrea Gibb (Elizabeth is Missing, Swallows and Amazons,  Call The Midwife) is on board as screenwriter and director Peter Mackie Burns (Rialto, Daphne, Milk) will direct, with Brian Kaczynski producing. Synchronicity Films’ Claire Mundell is lead executive producer, along with Andrea Gibb, Andrew O’Hagan and the BBC’s Gaynor Holmes and Gavin Smith.

The drama will star Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Vigil), Tony Curran (Your Honor, Outlaw King, Doctor Who) and Ashley Jensen (After Life, Extras),

Mayflies was commissioned by Ben Irving, the BBC’s 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 is a book about life-long friendship. 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 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.

Keeping that vow, Jimmy is now a successful writer, living in London. He might have escaped his small-town roots, but he hasn’t cut all ties with his past. He’s still deeply connected through his thirty-year friendship with Tully. Even the prospect of turning 50 can’t dent their boyish optimism. They’ve worked this whole life thing out. Somehow.

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

Claire Mundell says: “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.”

Andrew O’Hagan, novelist, said: “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.”

It will air on BBC One, BBC Scotland and iPlayer and All3Media International is handling worldwide sales outside the UK.

Synchronicity is currently adapting titles including The Tattooist of Auschwitz,  His Bloody Project, Craig Russel’s Lennox series of books, a Hanif Kureishi novella The Body and several Helen FitzGerald novels.


Pippa Considine

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