ITV drama Butterfly creates huge debate among viewers

It's covering a controversial topic

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ITV bosses admitted they were expecting a backlash from some viewers ahead of the screening of Butterfly last night.

The drama follows the Duffy family as they try to come to terms with 11-year-old son Max wanting to live as a girl.

Callum Booth-Ford as Max/Maxine in Butterfly
Max wants to live as a girl (Credit: ITV)

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ITV’s Head of Drama, producer Nicola Shindler, who has described the series as a “heartwarming” tale that “focuses upon gender identity and one boy’s search to be recognised for who he really is” anticipated strong reaction.

She told Mirror Online, ahead of transmission: “I know we’re going to get attacked for it, and I know that whatever we do, we’re going to get it wrong for some people because it’s not their point of view.

“It’s an incredibly difficult subject matter because people are so anti or so pro.”

The first episode revealed that Max’s parents, played by Anna Friel and Emmett J. Scanlan, had separated because of the pressure of what was happening with their youngest child.

Butterfly ITV Anna Friel
Vicky and Stephen don’t know what to do for the best (Credit: ITV)

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Mum Vicky has been allowing Max to live as a girl at home, on the agreement that she live as Max in public, something dad Stephen didn’t agree with.

He was hoping that Max was going through “a phase”.

But as Max starts secondary school, she reaches a point where she can no longer tolerate this and wants to identify as female, and one harrowing scene saw the pre-teen slashes her wrist.

Sure enough, the drama drew conflicting reactions from viewers, some disturbed by the attempted suicide scene.

But others pointed out this is a brutal fact of life in such circumstances.

Others expressed how vital the drama was for raising awareness.

People who had been through similar experiences praised the drama and TV bosses for tackling such an important subject.

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