Anna Friel will play the mother of a boy who wishes to live as a girl in a new mini-series called Butterfly.
The three-part ITV series will focus on 11-year-old Max, who dresses as a girl at home and makes the decision he no longer wants to hide his identity to the outside world.
Marcella and Broken star Friel will play Vicky, who no longer lives with Max’s father Stephen.
Their separation adds more pressure on the young boy as he longs for a normal family home life in addition to his other struggles.
Butterfly, penned by screenwriter and playwright Tony Marchant and produced by Red Production Company, will highlight the tough decisions the family must make to support and protect the boy. Friel will also co-produce the series, set to begin filming in Manchester early next year.
Marchant is known for TV dramas including Public Enemies, which starred Friel, The Secret Agent and Garrow’s Law.
Polly Hill, ITV’s head of drama, said: “Butterfly is a beautiful story about a young boy on the cusp of puberty who doesn’t feel comfortable in his own body.
“It’s a heartwarming and emotional script from Tony Marchant that focuses upon gender identity and one boy’s search to be recognised for who he really is.”
Nicola Shindler, who founded Red Production Company and will executive produce Butterfly with Marchant, said: “It is great to work with Tony again on such a moving and warm drama that will touch the hearts of viewers with the universal themes of acceptance, inclusivity and unconditional love.
“Tony’s got a great knack of creating real and relatable characters whose stories strike a chord but also have such drama, making his work so compelling. ITV audiences will be in for a real treat!”