Years and Years (TV series)

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Years and Years
Years and Years.jpg
Created byRussell T Davies
Screenplay byRussell T Davies
Directed by
Music byMurray Gold
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)Karen Lewis
Production location(s)Manchester
Production company(s)Red Production Company
Original networkBBC One
Audio formatStereo
Original release14 May –
18 June 2019

Years and Years is a television drama series which is a joint production by the BBC and HBO. It began broadcasting on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 14 May 2019[1][2] and on HBO on 24 June 2019.[3]

The series was created and written by Russell T Davies,[1] and stars Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook, an outspoken celebrity business woman turned political figure whose controversial opinions divide the nation,[4] alongside Rory Kinnear, Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes, Ruth Madeley and Anne Reid[4] as the Lyons family.


The six-part series follows the British Manchester-based Lyons family: Daniel is getting married to Ralph, Stephen and Celeste worry about their kids, Rosie is looking for a new partner, and Edith is engaged in one humanitarian cause after another. Presiding over them all is Gran, the imperious Muriel. All their lives converge on one crucial night in 2019, and the story accelerates into the future, following the lives and loves of the Lyons over the next 15 years as Britain is rocked by unstable political, economic and technological advances.[5]

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook MP, a charismatic and controversial businesswoman turned politician.
  • Rory Kinnear as Stephen Lyons, a financial advisor, who lives in London with his wife, Celeste, and their two daughters, Bethany and Ruby. He is also Daniel, Edith and Rosie's older brother.
  • T'Nia Miller as Celeste Bisme-Lyons, an accountant and Stephen's wife.
  • Russell Tovey as Daniel Lyons, a housing officer based in Manchester and Rosie, Stephen and Edith's brother.
  • Jessica Hynes as Edith Lyons, a political activist and Stephen, Daniel and Rosie's sister.
  • Ruth Madeley as Rosie Lyons, the youngest of the Lyons siblings, who has spina bifida. She is a single mother, has two sons, Lee and Lincoln, and works in a school cafeteria.
  • Anne Reid as Muriel Deacon, the Lyons siblings' grandmother.
  • Dino Fetscher as Ralph Cousins, Daniel's ex-husband, who is a primary school teacher.
  • Lydia West as Bethany Bisme-Lyons, Stephen and Celeste's older daughter.
  • Jade Alleyne as Ruby Bisme-Lyons, Stephen and Celeste's younger daughter.
  • Maxim Baldry as Viktor Goraya, a Ukrainian refugee, who develops a romantic relationship with Daniel.



In June 2018, the BBC announced that Russell T Davies would write Years and Years which was described as "an epic drama following a family over 15 years of unstable political, economical and technological advances".[6] Davies noted that he has been aiming to write the drama series for almost two decades.[5][7][8]

In October 2018, it was announced that Emma Thompson had joined the cast as Vivienne Rook alongside Rory Kinnear, T'Nia Miller, Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes, Lydia West, Ruth Madeley and Anne Reid.[4] Years and Years was cast by Andy Prior. It was also announced that the series would be directed by Simon Cellan Jones.

The series began filming in Manchester in October 2018.[4] Locations included Trafford Park for the refugee camp and Altcar Training Camp, Liverpool for the "Erstwhile" site.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
(millions) [9]
1Episode 1Simon Cellan JonesRussell T Davies14 May 2019 (2019-05-14)4.26
On 14 May 2019, businesswoman Vivienne "Viv" Rook (Emma Thompson) causes controversy by saying she "doesn't give a fuck" about the Israel-Palestine conflict on an evening talk show, and Rosie (Ruth Madeley) gives birth to a son, Lincoln, by her former Chinese lover. Daniel (Russell Tovey) worries about the state of the world and what Lincoln’s future will be. The timeline skips forwards to 2024; in the meantime, Donald Trump wins a second term as president, and China constructs an artificial island and a military base named Hong Sha Dao in disputed waters. Daniel marries Ralph (Dino Fetscher), Queen Elizabeth dies, Viv tries and fails to be elected as an independent candidate in the 2022 general election, and a Russian-backed military government takes over in Ukraine. Daniel manages a local council-run refugee camp, where he makes a connection with Viktor (Maxim Baldry), who fled Ukraine after he was tortured for being gay. Teenage Bethany (Lydia West) tells her parents Stephen (Rory Kinnear) and Celeste (T'Nia Miller) that she is transhuman and eventually plans to upload her consciousness to the Cloud, to her mother's utter horror. Cracks begin to form in Daniel and Ralph’s marriage, as Daniel's feelings for Viktor cause him to detach from his husband. Viv starts a political party, calling it The Four Star Party, the stars representing the asterisks that the news media have used to represent her unapologetic use of the "F-bomb" on TV. Rosie goes on a date with Tony (Noel Sullivan), but leaves in disgust after she discovers he has sex with his house robot. At a party for Muriel’s (Anne Reid) 92nd birthday, the family get a video call from long-absent Edith (Jessica Hynes), who has travelled to Vietnam, close to Hong Sha Dao. As air raid sirens sound in the UK, news comes that Trump has fired a nuclear missile at Hong Sha Dao and the family descend into panic and squabbling. In the uproar, Daniel flees Ralph and his family for Viktor, and they have sex for the first time.
2Episode 2Simon Cellan JonesRussell T Davies21 May 2019 (2019-05-21)2.297
In 2025, Edith has survived the Hong Sha Dao nuclear strike, but she was exposed to the nuclear fallout, and she acknowledges in a TV interview that she will succumb to cancer within 20 years. She returns to live in the UK. Bethany, who has calculated radiation patterns from Hong Sha Dao, realizes that Edith's life expectancy has actually been shortened to just ten years, but Edith chooses not to let any other family member know. Celeste loses her job as an accountant, and she and Stephen must sell their house in London to down-size. Bethany, who has turned 18, has cybernetic implants surgically installed in her hand as a step on the path to becoming transhuman, and gets her first job as a data miner. Daniel is in the process of divorcing Ralph, and he and Viktor are living together as a couple, much to Muriel's delight. Though he pretends to accept the split-up without rancor, Ralph spitefully informs the Home Office of Viktor's job at a petrol station, illegal for an asylum seeker, leading to his deportation to Ukraine. Rosie and Edith attend an election debate in which Viv Rook of the Four Star Party unexpectedly electrifies the crowd. To Daniel's dismay, Rosie becomes a Rook supporter and Edith also becomes a sympathiser. Stephen and Celeste sell their house for more than £1.2 million, leaving the proceeds in a single bank account on the night of the sale. Overnight, their money is almost all wiped out in a banking crisis triggered by the collapse of an American investment bank. With nowhere else to go, Stephen and Celeste and their daughters move into Muriel's large but decaying house in Manchester. Viv Rook is elected MP in a Manchester by-election as Rosie cheers her on.
3Episode 3Simon Cellan JonesRussell T Davies28 May 2019 (2019-05-28)1.29[10]
In 2026, the banking crisis has led to a recession. Viv Rook proposes a national IQ test, with anybody with an IQ of less than 70 being barred from voting. Ukrainian police come to arrest Viktor, but he narrowly escapes. Ukraine has now criminalised homosexuality, so Viktor decides to enter an LGBT-friendly country illegally and claim asylum. Edith has returned to activism, infiltrating the offices of a corporation with links to the Syrian dictatorship under an assumed identity, using Lincoln as part of her cover. The information she steals is released, causing a scandal that shuts down the corporation. Bethany makes friends with Lizzie, another "transhuman" teen at her workplace. The availability of self-heating ready meals leaves Rosie redundant from her job. Viktor claims asylum in Spain and Daniel visits him there. Stephen now works as a bicycle courier, among other low-paid jobs, and begins an affair with co-worker Elaine. Celeste finds out, but does not confront him. The Lyons siblings' estranged father dies from antibiotic-resistant sepsis after being struck by a courier's bicycle. The siblings attend his Water Burial to support Stephen, who is the only one who really cares. There they meet with "Steven with a V", their father's son by his second wife Jacqueline, whom all the Lyons children despise. Rosie tells Edith she has always believed her father left the family because he couldn't deal with a child in a wheelchair. Bethany and Lizzie secretly travel to Liverpool for black-market cybernetic surgery, using 10,000 pounds Stephen gave her for her 18th birthday. Bethany calls her mother in hysterics; Lizzie has been given a bogus, malfunctioning eye implant, but Bethany escapes unharmed. At first Celeste is just glad Bethany is safe, but later she is furious that Bethany wasted money when the family is in financial crisis. A general election gives The Four Star Party fifteen seats in a hung parliament, allowing Viv Rook to determine the balance of power between a minority government and the opposition. Hearing the election results, Stephen uses the car he rented for the funeral to run over a fellow courier's bicycle in a fit of frustrated rage, while his siblings sit impassively in the passenger seats.
4Episode 4Simon Cellan JonesRussell T Davies4 June 2019 (2019-06-04)2.173
In 2027, voting is made universally mandatory, the coalition government collapses and Viv Rook becomes the Prime Minister. Stephen has a bad reaction to a drug experiment that he has secretly participated in for money. He calls Elaine to pick him up but the clinic accidentally calls Celeste too and the three have an awkward meeting at his bedside. Arriving home, Celeste coldly confronts Stephen about the affair on a conference call with the whole family. Muriel angrily demands that he leave her house and he moves in with Elaine, who is less welcoming than Stephen expected. Rosie begins a mobile catering business with her new boyfriend, Jonjo. Edith warns him that she is suspicious of his intentions toward Rosie's young sons and will be watchful. Viktor's immigration status in Spain is again uncertain and, fearful that he will be repatriated to Ukraine, Daniel decides he has no choice but to bring him to the UK illegally. Their trip is a chaotic nightmare, first when hiding in a tourist bus is unsuccessful and then when they are ripped off both for money and Daniel's passport while attempting to buy forged documents. Finally they try sailing in an overcrowded boat from France. Half a mile off the British coast, the boat sinks. Daniel and most of the other migrants drown. Viktor survives and returns to Daniel's apartment in Manchester alone. He is stunned and robotic as he phones the family with the news, and they rush to the house, but Viktor won't answer the door.
5Episode 5Lisa MulcahyRussell T Davies11 June 2019 (2019-06-11)2.239
In 2028, extensive flooding and two dirty bombs result in large numbers of displaced residents in the UK. Checkpoints are erected around Rosie's estate in Manchester in response to criminal activity in the area. Bethany is fitted with a brain implant which enables her to interact directly with the internet, but also to spy on her family. Muriel is diagnosed with macular degeneration but is able to pay £10,000 for fast-track NHS surgery which reverses the condition. Stephen blames Viktor for Daniel's death. He also starts a new job with Woody, an old school friend. At a business auction held at Chequers, he encounters Viv Rook by chance before his company wins the contract to maintain two of the new "Erstwhile" concentration camps. Watched by Bethany, Stephen uses the company's computer system to send Viktor to the camp.
6Episode 6Lisa MulcahyRussell T Davies18 June 2019 (2019-06-18)2.611
In 2029, Muriel blames the family and humanity at large for the various problems in the world. The family make a plan to free Viktor and end up liberating the camp and broadcasting footage to the whole country. Rosie breaks through the curfew fence around her estate with her catering van. Stephen confronts Woody and shoots him in the leg using a gun which he had purchased with the intention of killing himself. Edith collapses at the camp due to her illness. Viv Rook is charged with murder relating to the Erstwhile sites and the BBC is reopened. Rosie and Jonjo also get married, and have a son together named Danny. The timeline skips to 2034, where it is revealed that the events of the series were the retellings of Edith's memories, as she is in the process of uploading her memories to water molecules with Bethany's help. Edith's body dies, and the series ends with the whole Lyons clan unsure if Edith's consciousness was uploaded to Muriel's "Signor" virtual assistant.


The series was broadcast on BBC One in the UK, BBC First in The Netherlands and Belgium,[11] HBO in the US, Mexico, Poland and Spain, and Canal+ in France.[4]


Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 89% based on 53 critic's reviews and of 90% on 51 public's reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Years and Years scathingly critiques the present with a nihilistic projection of the future, leavening the devastating satire with a buoyant sense of humour and characters who are easy to become invested in."[12] On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[13]

U.S. ratings[edit]

No. Title Air date[14] Rating
U.S. viewers
1 Episode 1 24 June 2019 0.05 193,000[15]
2 Episode 2 1 July 2019 0.06 229,000[16]
3 Episode 3 8 July 2019 0.03 171,000[17]
4 Episode 4 15 July 2019 TBD 181,000[18]
5 Episode 5 22 July 2019 TBD TBD
6 Episode 6 29 July 2019 TBD TBD


  1. ^ a b "BBC - Get Obsessed - 2019 BBC Drama - Media Centre". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  2. ^ "BBC One - Years and Years, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  3. ^ Poniewozik, James (23 June 2019). "Review: In 'Years and Years,' Things Fall Apart, Fast". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "BBC - Emma Thompson cast in Russell T Davies' BBC One drama Years and Years - Media Centre". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b Martin, Laura (1 January 2019). "Years & Years: Everything we know about the new Russell T Davies and Emma Thompson dystopian drama". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC - Gripping new drama Years & Years, from Russell T Davies, set for BBC One - Media Centre". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  7. ^ Singh, Anita (1 January 2019). "Emma Thompson plays 'rebel, trickster and terror' MP in BBC drama Years & Years". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  8. ^ "First look at Emma Thompson in new Russell T Davies drama Years and Years". Radio Times. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Weekly Top 15 Programmes (See relevant weeks and scroll down to BBC and BBC 1 "(inc HD)")". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Russell T Davies on why he'll never do a Years and Years series 2". Radio Times.
  11. ^ "Promo". BBC Studios Benelux.
  12. ^ "Years and Years". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Years and Years". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Shows A-Z - years and years on hbo". Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  15. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (25 June 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 6.24.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  16. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (2 July 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.1.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  17. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (10 July 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.8.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  18. ^ Metcalf, Mitch (10 July 2019). "Updated: ShowBuzzDaily's Top 150 Monday Cable Originals & Network Finals: 7.8.2019". Showbuzz Daily. Retrieved 10 July 2019.

External links[edit]