Anna Friel's newest TV drama, Butterfly, premiered last night (14th October), and it seems the hard-hitting series is already winning over viewers.
The three-part miniseries, which airs on ITV, centres around a child, Max, who was born a boy, but has identified as a female from a young age.
Starring Marcella actress Anna as mum Vicky, Emmett J Scanlan as dad Stephen and Callum Booth-Ford as Max, the show focuses on Max’s journey towards becoming Maxine, and being comfortable in his body – and also, how his family deal with the changes.
In the first episode, viewers see dad Stephen struggling with his child’s identity as a female, and heartbreakingly, the relentless bullying Maxine faces after opening up about her transition.
And viewers – including many people who identify as transgender – have already widely praised the drama, for portraying the experience of someone growing up unsure of their gender so ‘authentically’.
One fan wrote, ‘For some, #Butterfly will be the first time they’ve seen someone on TV who’s going through the same thing as they have. More of this please ITV.’
While another viewer said, ‘Am very impressed with #Butterfly on ITV. It’s powerful and sometimes painful to watch but feels like it could be a game-changer in helping the general public empathise with the trans experience – so one day life might not be so difficult for trans kids. An exciting prospect!’
And a third commented, ‘#butterfly really is going to help soo many families and trans kids. Such an authentic portrayal of what it’s like for all involved Credit to @itv for telling an important story so sensitively and honestly’.
However, the feedback hasn’t all been positive, with some crticising the drama for having Max as Maxine show an interest in ‘pink and sparkles’ and hating football. Some viewers criticised the ‘stereotypical’ portrayal of male and female interests.
But the reaction has without doubt been largely very positive. Susie Green, who is director of Mermaids UK, a charity that supports gender diverse and transgender young people, was lead consultant on the series.
And she revealed to the Radio Times that she was ‘ecstatic’ that something like the programme was finally being shown on prime-time TV.
Anna Friel also revealed to the publication that she and Emmett Scanlan met with many families who have gone through the experience. She said, “I came out of that room so moved and touched,
“I met so many wonderful families and it just opened my mind to the amount of bullying that’s going on, I was absolutely flabbergasted.”
Butterfly continues on ITV next Sunday at 9pm.