Mayflies: BBC One show starring Ashley Jensen & Tony Curran on TV - cast list & how to watch

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Mayflies is a brand new BBC One drama which tells the tale of two friends whose relationship changes after heartbreaking news.

BBC One’s Mayflies is a brand new mini-series which follows two best friends as they grow and deal with heartbreaking news. The new drama stars Martin Compston and Tony Curran and is based on the book of the same name.

The show doubles down on the emotional complexities of processing tragic news and the shared experience of grief. This is one that is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings.

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Thirty years after a debaucherous night out in Manchester, Tully rings his lifelong friend Jimmy and informs him he has terminal cancer and just four months to live. James and Tulley’s partner Anna desperately want Tully to keep fighting while Tully is set on autonomously controlling how he bows out.

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."

Here’s everything you need to know about the new BBC One drama miniseries Mayflies.

When is BBC One’s Mayflies on TV?

The miniseries contains two hour-long episodes. Both of which were released on BBC iPlayer on Tuesday December 27 and are available to watch now.

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The first episode will premiere on BBC One on Wednesday (December 28) at 9pm, and the second episode will air a day later at the same time.

Is Mayflies based on a true story?

BBC One’s latest drama miniseries Mayflies is a TV adaptation of Andrew O’Hagan’s 1979 book of the same name. However, despite its fictionalised narrative, the book was inspired by Hague’s personal experience of losing a childhood friend to cancer.

BBC’s Mayflies is loosely based around the life of author Andrew O’HagueBBC’s Mayflies is loosely based around the life of author Andrew O’Hague
BBC’s Mayflies is loosely based around the life of author Andrew O’Hague | BBC/© Synchronicity Films

O’Hagan’s childhood friend was called Keith Martin and both shared a passion for music, film, and opposing Margaret Thatcher. According to a report from Interview magazine, when Martin was dying, he asked Andrew, “Would you ever write about us?”.

This spurred O’Hagan to write Mayflies.

BBC Mayflies cast list 

  • Ashley Jensen - Anna
  • Tony Curran - Tully
  • Martin Compston - Jimmy
  • Charlene Boyd - Young Barbara
  • Mitchell Robertson - Young Tibbs

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