Mayflies, BBC Scotland, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Writer and producer  Andrea Gibb, based on a novel by Andrew O’Hagan, directed by Peter Mackie Burns.

My partner said I’d like this. We don’t have the same tastes. She watches fuckin Emmerdale and Coronation Street. But she knows I’m a sucker for anything Scottish, with actors playing working-class characters. I’ve not read Andrew O’Hagan’s book, yet. So I’m doing it in the wrong order. Two-part series first. Book to follow.

I have read O’Hagan’s book, The Illuminations. It is set in parts of Saltcoats on the Ayrshire coast. I put the last part in for English readers. Most folk in Glasgow and the surrounding area of a certain age, know where Saltcoats is. It’s the kind of place where your mum took you to paddle in the sea and feed your wee brother to the seagulls.

Here we have Tully (Tony Curran) and Jimmy (Martin Compston) playing the natives that got away thirty years ago, returning to their seaside roots. Tully is an ex-English teacher. Jimmy is a writer. Not just any old writer, but a writer like Andrew O’Hagan that makes a more than decent living from his writing.  He lives in London with his playwright partner, Angela     (Natali McCleary). The focus fall more on Tully’s partner, Anna (Ashley Jensen).  The reason becomes apparent after the opening exchanges.

You cannae just check out, you’ve got responsibilities.

Who to?


I’m doing this my way.

Tully’s got terminal cancer. He doesn’t want treatment. He wants to go to Switzerland and end it. Voluntary euthanasia. He’s for it. Anna isn’t against it, in general, but only when it concerns the love of her life, Tully. She wants more time. More time with him.

Tully also wants to get together with the guys they used to hang about with. That used to be in a band that worshipped at the feet of Manchester bands that played The Hacienda in 1984.  New Order and The Fall feature in backstory when the lads from Saltcoats made a trip of a lifetime and thought growing old was not an option. Thatcherism was never an option. And the ability to rhyme off Robert De Niro’s three greatest movies was a given.

Youth goes north to go south and live forever.

Big themes, well worth a watch. I’m with Tully on that one. Cancer gets one in two of us. But it’s dementia, I fear. Aging population. One million of us have it. Projections for 2050, one-and-a-half million. My mum had dementia. My da had cancer. I said to my partner, if I get dementia, just shoot me. She said I wouldn’t know I’ve got dementia, because I’ve already got it. I think that was a joke.

I don’t know any writers with cash to spare for a trip to Euthanasia-land.  But I could maybe make Saltcoats. I don’t want to make death proud. I just don’t want to be alive when my brain is spaghetti oops. What’s your take on this? Or can’t you remember?


2 thoughts on “Mayflies, BBC Scotland, BBC 2, BBC iPlayer, Writer and producer  Andrea Gibb, based on a novel by Andrew O’Hagan, directed by Peter Mackie Burns.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s