ITV's 'Butterfly': Everything you need to know about the new drama

2 October 2018, 09:13 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:53

ITV's groundbreaking drama about a young transgender child will premiere this Sunday. Here's everything you need to know about the series.

Transgender representation has come on leaps and bounds in TV and film over the past few years. More honest, real and open conversations are being had on-screen but we can all agree that there's still such a long way to go and there's still a lot of stigma and misunderstanding around the subject - particularly when it comes to young trans representation.

ITV's new drama series Butterfly aims to address part of that stigma and misunderstanding by focusing on the story of Max, an 11-year-old child who identifies as a girl called Maxine. Too young to make the decision on their own, the show follows how Max's parents come to terms with, and later help Max become who they really are. It's a very real situation that a lot of families go through.

The show is set to premiere on ITV on October 14th, but before it begins, here's everything you need to know about Butterfly; from the cast, the storyline and the topics that will be at the forefront of this important story.

Butterfly ITV
Picture: ITV

What is Butterfly about?

Butterfly is a heartfelt and sensitive drama about the complex relationship between separated parents, Vicky and Stephen, and their division in opinion over how to support their youngest child, Max.

From a young age, Max has identified as a girl but has tried to suppress these feelings in an attempt to earn Stephen’s approval. When Max’s feelings become increasingly distressing, Stephen seizes the opportunity to return to live at the family home, hoping to encourage male bonding and prove himself to Vicky. But Max soon confesses she wants to live life as a girl and express herself as Maxine.

Despite puberty looming over her, as Maxine grows in confidence she becomes increasingly certain that she’s in the right skin – will this be enough to get everyone else on board? Both parents want to protect Maxine but are completely split on the best way to do that. What unfolds is the greatest challenge and test of love and understanding imaginable.

“It’s basically a drama about ordinary people put into an extraordinary situation,” Emmett J. Scanlan (who plays Max's father Stephen) told Entertainment Focus. “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?

The series is set to air on Sunday 14th October at 9pm on ITV.

How many episodes are there?

Butterfly is a three-part mini-series.

Anna Friel Butterfly ITV
Picture: ITV

Who is in the cast?

Anna Friel plays Vicky Duffy, Max/Maxine mother who, while conflicted, will go to any and every length to protect her child.

Emmett J. Scanlan plays Stephen Duffy, Max/Maxine father who moves back home to support his family.

Callum Booth-Ford plays Max/Maxine Duffy, Vicky and Stephen's youngest child who struggles to suppress their true gender identity as a girl.

Millie Gibson plays Lily Duffy, Max/Maxine sister and the first person who encourages Maxine to be herself. She is Maxine's biggest ally.

Also starring in the mini-series are Alison Steadman, Sean McGinley, Lorraine Burroughs, Amy Huberman and Lola Ogunyemi.

What topics will be explored in Butterfly?

Butterfly is a groundbreaking series for many reasons, the main being that it's one of the first mainstream TV series to focus on the topic of gender dysphoria in young teenagers. It's an incredibly important topic given the increased conversation surrounding trans representation, particularly in young kids and teens - something that is quite often overlooked within the media.

In the show, Max experiences Gender Dysphoria. As described by the NHS, Gender Dysphoria is "a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It's sometimes known as gender incongruence. Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It's not a mental illness."

The show also delves into the use of puberty blockers and discusses the important conversation of when it's the right time to use them. Puberty blockers work by "blocking the hormones — testosterone and oestrogen — that lead to puberty-related changes in the body, stopping periods and breast growth, or voice-deepening and facial hair growth." 

Butterfly will premiere on ITV on Sunday 14th October 2018 at 9pm.