WELCOME TO MAYFLY TELEVISION
An independent production company established to create beautifully crafted television, film and digital content for the UK and beyond.
Our broadcast series, digital content and feature documentary work has won broad critical acclaim and several major awards.
No Strings is our mischievous new puppet show that lip-sync real-life recordings of people who don’t want to be on television, telling true stories they would never say on camera that reveal what’s really going on in Britain - off screen.
Created by Mayfly Television for Channel 4 No Strings is piloting under Channel 4’s ‘Mini-Blap’ digital comedy shorts strand as four short-form episodes each introducing a puppet version of a real person who has a story they want shown on TV – as long as their face isn’t.
The first compilation episode went live on Channel 4 social channels on 18 Dec 2019. You can watch it here.
The project was created and directed by Mayfly's Marcus Stephenson and produced in collaboration with veteran puppeteer and puppet maker Phil Eason (The Dark Crystal, Spitting Image). Phil and Marcus are both very excited about the project and are hoping the viewing public would love to see more hilariously frank puppet stories in 2020.
Our popular heritage format was devised by Marcus Stephenson and commissioned as a 6 x 60 minute series by Channel 4 and first aired on More 4 in 2016 (click the image to view on Channel 4 catch up).
The series explores the creation of Britain's priceless historic homes to reveal how they were built - and how much they cost in today's money, and with unprecedented access to the archives - and historic bills - of the very finest buildings in Britain from Longleat House and Castle Howard to Woburn Abbey and Blenheim Palace.
Taking each house back to the drawing board, Phil is given unprecedented access into fascinating stately home archives, to reveal the incredible ambition of the house’s creators, as well as the monumental quantities of materials, labour - and money - involved in turning their flights of fancy into bricks and mortar.
The series received excellent reviews and rated well above slot average and following this success we were delighted to have been recommissioned by Channel 4 to make a second series which aired on More 4 in early 2018 and in a prestigious Sunday evening prime time slot on Channel 4 in the Autumn.
This year we delivered the third season which aired on More4 in February and will go out on Channel 4 later this year.
Our first feature documentary and winner of the BIFA DISCOVERY AWARD 2019 Children of the Snow Land tells the story of children born in the High Himalayas of Nepal who have to leave their families behind for a chance of a better life through education.
Spending up to 12 years at a residential school in the capital Kathmandu, the children can not see nor speak to their parents, due to the remoteness of their villages.
Upon graduation, aged 16, the children trek home, an arduous and lengthy journey across mountains that takes them to the highest inhabited place on the planet; a faraway, off-grid land where the way of life has not changed for thousands of years, and where their parents are waiting to see their children.
Children of the Snow Land documents their moving and humbling journey home.
The film is produced and directed by Mayfly's Marcus Stephenson and Zara Balfour (Picture on the Wall). The film highlights the plight of children who pay a very high price for education and hopes to improve their situation.
Having received critical acclaim at international film festivals with many 'Best Film' awards, the film premiered at the Curzon Soho in London on March 14, followed by other cinemas. A one hour version for broadcast television was bought by Arte in France as well as channels in Taiwan and Poland and was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Grierson Award for Best Cinema Documentary 2019 AND HAS JUST WON THE BIFA DISCOVERY AWARD.
The film is also touring schools in both the UK and Nepal as part of the project's social goals to help Nepalese children to have an education without sacrificing all contact with family; and providing inspiration and perspective for children at school in the UK.
Bear Grylls says: "An incredibly inspiring story from the roof of the world where families struggle and sacrifice everything to help their children…"
Joanna Lumley says: "This is a stunning film: and I hope it will prompt generous donations towards a better system of pastoral care in this awesome Himalayan region.”
Sir Chris Bonington says: "Congratulations on your wonderful film. I greatly appreciate how valuable your work is and do hope your film leads to generous donations for the wonderful work you are doing to promote better pastoral care in these remote himalayan areas."
Marcus is a multi award winning Creative Director with 20 years experience in broadcast television and branded communication and a passion for innovative, well crafted and entertaining factual television, and as a shooting director and editor has built a reputation for heartfelt storytelling with beautiful photography. Several of his original broadcast concepts have been commissioned by major broadcasters and there are lots more in the pipeline.
This year Marcus has been overseeing his third season of Phil Spencer's Stately Homes for Channel 4 and completed a feature length documentary ‘Children of the Snowland’ co produced /directed with Zara Balfour. The film has won many 'Best Film' awards and had a cinema premiere at Curzon Soho in spring 2019, followed by excellent reviews in the mainstream press; recently the film was shortlisted for the prestigious Grierson Award for Best Cinema Documentary and won the BIFA Raindance Discovery Award 2019.
In January Marcus's new factual comedy puppet show No Strings went live as a pilot on Channel 4's Mini Blaps strand. Marcus devised, produced and directed the pilot series in collaboration with veteran puppeteer and puppet maker Phil Eason (The Dark Crystal, Spitting Image). The No Strings puppets lip sync voice recordings of real people who wouldn't otherwise appear on television, sharing their true stories of life that TV can't show, and Marcus is now partnering with Objective Media to take the idea to America.
Lockdown life has meant less filming but Marcus continues to cultivate creative concepts and collaborations with many exciting projects in development.
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