Synchronicity Films adapting acclaimed novel Mayflies for the BBC

Award-winning production company Synchronicity Films (The Cry) 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.

Starring Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Vigil), Tony Curran (Your Honor, Outlaw King, Doctor Who) and Ashley Jensen (After Life, Extras), BAFTA-nominated Andrea Gibb (Elizabeth is Missing, Swallows and Amazons) is on board as screenwriter and multi award-winning film director Peter Mackie Burns (Rialto, Daphne, Milk) will direct, with Brian Kaczynski producing. Synchronicity Films’ Claire Mundell (The Cry) is lead executive producer along with Andrea Gibb, Andrew O’Hagan and the BBC’s Gaynor Holmes and Gavin Smith.  

Mayflies was commissioned by Ben Irving, 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. It will air on BBC One, BBC Scotland and iPlayer and All3Media International is handling worldwide sales outside the UK. 

Head shits of Martin Compston, Ashley Jenson and Tony CurranHeadshots left to right: Martin Compston, Ashley Jensen and Tony Curran. Courtesy of Synchronicity Films.

Published by Faber in the UK and Commonwealth, and McClelland & Stewart in North America, 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. The Guardian called the novel “funny and plangent” as well as “ebulliently dark”, with The Scotsman noting in his “exploration of enduring friendship, Andrew O’Hagan has created a rare thing: a life-enhancing novel about death.” 

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 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, Lead Executive Producer, Founder and Creative Director at Synchronicity Films, 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. We are excited to be working with Andrew, Peter, Andrea and the BBC to collaborate on an authentic scripted adaptation of this acclaimed Scottish novel.” 

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.” 

Andrew O'Hagan is one of his generation's most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain. He has been nominated three times for the Booker Prize, was voted one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003 and has won the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He is Editor-At-Large of the London Review of Books, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  

Andrew O’Hagan is represented by Casarotto Ramsay and Associates and RCW Literary Agency and Andrea Gibb and Peter Mackie Burns are represented by Curtis Brown. 


About Synchronicity Films

Synchronicity Films is an award-winning independent production company, founded and headed by Claire Mundell, headquartered in Glasgow and run with co-directors Mark Young (Chairman) and Adrian Burns (Operations Director), with an office in Melbourne led by Ruth Underwood. Synchronicity develops and produces feature films and television drama which showcases original voices and brings stories to life with energy, passion and dynamism. The company has a growing reputation for finding and developing quality IP. Notable current books Synchronicity is adapting include the Sunday Times / New York Times Bestseller ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’; Booker shortlisted ‘His Bloody Project’; Craig Russel’s popular ‘Lennox’ series of books; a Hanif Kureishi novella ‘The Body’ and several Helen FitzGerald novels.  Key credits include double BIFA winning ‘Only You’, BIFA winning ‘Weekend’, Karen Gillan’s BAFTA Film nominated ‘The Party’s Just Beginning’ and BAFTA winning series ‘The Cry’ which also received a Best Actress nomination at the International Emmys for Jenna Coleman.  Synchronicity is currently financing it’s next feature film – KILL – starring Ralph Inneson, Lorne MacDonald and Brian Vernel.