** WARNING: SPOILERS FOR YEARS AND YEARS EPISODE ONE**
As cliffhangers go, you’ll be tested to find a bigger one than in the first episode of Years and Years, the BBC1 drama forecasting the tumultuous events that could unfold through the next 15 years.
While the show’s debut instalment predicted a fictional near-future Britain on the frontline of a refugee crisis by 2024, its climax portrayed the world facing something much, much worst: a nuclear war.
While the Lyons family – the show’s focal point through future events – celebrate the birthday of matriarch Muriel (Anne Reid), their fun is suddenly interrupted by some very ominous air raid sirens.
Dashing inside, they see an emergency broadcast on TV announcing that Donald Trump – who was re-elected as US President in 2020 – has launched a nuclear warhead at a fictional Chinese artificial island, claiming the landmass was a secret military base.
The Lyons are sent into a frenzy: while Stephen (Rory Kinnear) attempts to calm the panicking family, Daniel (Russell Tovey) runs away from his partner for a steamy liaison with Viktor (Maxin Baldry), a refugee he had flirted with a few days earlier. The end of the world, it seems, is not far off.
But could this actually happen? Is DEFCON 1 imminent thanks to Donald Trump?
Years and Years writer Russell T Davies certainly hopes not. “Will I put the idea in his head? I’ve ended the world!” he joked after a screening of the episode at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival. Turning to Tovey, he added with a laugh: “Sleep with me, Russell!”
However, despite the drama airing on HBO in the US, Davies is sceptical the US president will ever see it: “With all the madness in the real world, I don’t think he’ll pay much attention to this. If only, though – I’d have him hung in it and crucified!”
Order breaks down in the refugee camp following the nuclear crisis
If that ending was too tense for you then we’ve got some bad news: Years and Years will feature a cliffhanger every episode, according to Davies. And the first instalment isn’t the most intense in the series. “Episode four is one to watch out for,” he told RadioTimes.com. “Things reach a crisis in episode four like never before. I’d keep an eye out for that one.”
More of a crisis than a nuclear strike? We dread to think what’s coming next.