Butterfly: Everything you need to know about Anna Friel’s new ITV series

When Anna Friel is involved in a TV show, you know it’s going to be good. In fact, it tends to be a critically-acclaimed, sometimes Emmy-winning hit – and her latest drama has potential for all of the above.


This autumn will see the highly-anticipated release of Butterfly, a new ITV series addressing life as the parent of a transgender child. Written by Tony Marchant – the playwright behind BBC’s Public Enemies, The Secret Agent, Garrow’s Law and Bafta-winning war film The Mark of Cain – the three-part mini series is Friel’s first project since the end of the second season of her famous crime drama, Marcella.

As the show prepares to hit the small screen this month, here’s everything you can expect to see from Butterfly.

What is it about?

The mini series follows protagonist Vicky, the mother of a transgender child. Her 11-year-old son, Max Duffy, has always felt trapped in the wrong body but as he hits puberty, his distress only intensifies. Butterfly highlights Vicky’s attempt to support her son while navigating the tension in their family.

The official ITV synopsis reads: ‘From a young age, 11-year-old son, Max, has identified as a girl and as puberty looms, he begins to present increasing signs of gender variance. When Max was eight, his father, Stephen, left the family home. But as Max’s conviction that he’s in the wrong body intensifies, his distress escalates, and Stephen seizes the opportunity to return to live at the family home and support his son.

‘However differently Max’s parents feel about their child potentially being transgender, they agree on one thing, Max’s welfare is paramount. What unfolds for all the family members involved is the greatest challenge and test of love and understanding imaginable. The social transitioning of Max to Maxine is initially thwarted because of the clear division of opinion between Vicky and Stephen.’


Who are the cast?

Anna Friel takes centre stage as Max’s mum Vicky, while Emmet J Scanlan (best known from Hollyoaks and The Fall and Safe) plays Stephen, Max’s father. Max himself is played by young actor, Callum Booth-Ford.

Speaking about the show in her recent YOU magazine cover interview, Friel said: ‘It’s a delicate subject. But what I hope this drama does is say, “Try not to be so opinionated if you don’t know anything about it.” Imagine how confusing it must be to get to the age of four and realise you’re a boy but you like girls’ dresses; being told that you’re not to do this or that, but you have this desperate need. And imagine how many people must have gone through that before transgender was something we talked about openly.’

Similarly, Scanlan told Entertainment Focus: ‘It’s basically a drama about ordinary people put into an extraordinary situation. The writing is so real, so relevant, so topical and so brave, which are the reasons why you get involved in projects like this.’

When will it air?

Butterfly will kick off on Sunday 14th October at 9pm on ITV. So, may sure to mark your calendars.