Martin Compston stars in new drama Mayflies

Mayflies (BBC One, 9pm)
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Martin Compston has been keeping himself busy since the sixth season of Line Of Duty came to an end last year.

From ITV’s Our House to his unfortunately short role in BBC drama Vigil, and Amazon Prime’s upcoming thriller The Rig, the 38-year-old Greenock-born actor has certainly demonstrated how versatile he is.

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However, the question of many fans lips remains: when are we going to see DI Steve Arnott and the rest of AC-12 back on our screens?

Compston’s co-star in the smash-hit drama Adrian Dunbar recently told Radio Times: “There’s no update yet on whether we can expect a seventh season.

“I think generally there’s a willingness among everybody to do something, but I think we’re just gonna have to wait a little bit longer.”

Although the lack of LOD news will continue to frustrate the show’s millions of fans, at least we get to see Compston in another acclaimed role this festive season, as he takes the lead in this two-part Scottish-set drama.

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Based on the acclaimed novel by Andrew O’Hagan which was named Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year in 2021, Mayflies tells the tender story of the bond between friends Jimmy (Compston) and Tully (Tony Curran).

Opening in the summer of 1986, the series follows the teenage pair and their friends Limbo, Hoggs and Tibbs who have a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit.

With school over, they head to a magical Manchester music festival featuring their favourite pop groups, including New Order.

There, against the backdrop of the music they love, they make a vow: to go at life differently.

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Years later, things change. One day, Jimmy, who is now a successful writer, living in London, hears his phone ring – and when he picks up, he learns that Tully, who’s a teacher in Glasgow has the worst kind of news.

He also has a request for his old mate that will test their friendship, love and loyalty to the limit.

In real life, Martin has been friends with co-star Tony for over 20 years, and that was an immediate advantage during casting and filming.

“The turnaround on Mayflies was so quick,” Compston says. “I was offered the job a week before filming – so they were looking for people who already had an in-built chemistry because you didn’t have time to work on the backstory.

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“That helps when you’re doing these emotionally-charged scenes.”

Tully and JimmyTully and Jimmy
Tully and Jimmy

As well as Compston and Curran, Mayflies also stars After Life, Extras and Agatha Raisin star Ashley Jensen, who will be taking over from Douglas Henshall in the lead role in another hit BBC drama, Shetland, next year.

Other names in the strong cast include Tracy Ifeachor as Iona, as well as Tom Glynn-Carney as young Tully, Rian Gordon as young Jimmy, Paul Gorman as young Hogg and Mitchell Robertson as young Tibbs.

Two Doors Down’s Elaine C Smith also appears as Barbara, while Shauna Macdonald plays Fiona and Cal MacAninch is Tibbs.

However, this is ultimately Compston and Curran’s programme, and it is sure to satisfy fans until Martin gets chance to dust off DI Arnott’s trusty waistcoat again.

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