When is Mayflies coming out on BBC? Release date and trailer of Martin Compston drama

One to add to your post-Christmas watchlist

Martin Compston and Tony Curran in Mayflies on BBC, with promo shot of Ashley Jensen in split layout
(Image credit: BBC)

Mayflies is coming to BBC this December and the trailer gives fans the first glimpse of Line of Duty star Martin Compston's return to screens in what promises to be an emotional series.

The BBC Scotland commission is made by the BAFTA award winning Synchronicity Films (The Cry) for the BBC, it is adapted by Andrea Gibb (Elizabeth Is Missing) from author Andrew O’Hagan’s acclaimed novel of the same name, and directed by Peter Mackie Burns (Rialto).

Described as a "memorial to youth’s euphoria and to everyday tragedy, Mayflies is a tender goodbye to an old union, it discovers the joy and the costs of love." We look at all you need to know about the upcoming adaptation, plus when it will air on the BBC.

When is Mayflies coming out on BBC?

Mayflies will first air at 9pm on BBC Scotland on December 27, 2022. It will also be available to watch online via BBC iPlayer from this date too.

Viewers in the rest of the UK will then be able to watch it at 9pm on BBC One the following day on December 28, 2022. The drama is made up of two-parts. The second episode will air the day after the first one drops - at 9pm on BBC One on December 29.

What is Mayflies about?

Mayflies is described an "intimate and devastating portrait of male friendship". 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 (Paperback) by Andrew O'Hagan

Mayflies (Paperback) by Andrew O'Hagan

RRP: £8.67 | View at: Amazon

In the summer of 1986, James and Tully ignite a friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over, they rush towards a magical weekend of youthful excess in Manchester played out against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded. And there a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, the phone rings. Tully has news.

Who is in the cast of Mayflies?

Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Vigil, Our House), Tony Curran (Your Honour, Outlaw King, Doctor Who) and Ashley Jensen (After Life, Extras) will lead the cast of Mayflies. Further names joining the cast include Tracy Ifeachor (Showtrial), as Iona, Tom Glynn-Carney (Dunkirk) as young Tully, Rian Gordon (Vigil) as young Jimmy, Elaine C Smith (Two Doors Down) as Barbara, Shauna Macdonald (The Descent) as Fiona, Cal MacAninch (Time) as Tibbs and Colin McCredie (River City) as Scott and newcomer Matt Littleson as young Limbo.

Tracy Ifeachor as Iona, Ashley Jensen as Anna, Tony Curran as Tully and Martin Compston as Jimmy

(Image credit: BBC)

Martin Compston has since had a child with his real-life wife Tianna - after they announced their 2019 pregnancy - so he will no doubt juggled filming with his new found dad duties.

Back when filming was first announced, Gaynor Holmes, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, said, “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.” 

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)