An Eagle-eyed fan noticed that when discussing the ending of the Torchwood series in 2010 book The Writer’s Tale, Davies says he used aspects of another drama he was developing – one that sounds very familiar.
He wrote: “It was essentially, a family drama, in which the world goes to hell, ending with our nice, safe, comfy western society descending into anarchy or a military state[…] nightmare regimes that we see in Africa, or Bosnia, or in history – but right here, on our doorsteps, with ordinary people like you and me, and our mums and dads, and our brothers and sisters, not just watching it, but part of it. Brilliant idea.”
Ten years after the events of Children of Earth, it looks like this idea was finally brought to screen again in Years and Years.
The finale of the Torchwood series follows Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and her family running through a devastated Britain, attempting to avoid UK soldiers ordered to collect children to be sacrificed to alien forces.
Years and Years also sees a family experiencing the pressures of an increasingly extremist government – thanks to politician Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson) – and people right ‘on our doorstep’ being treated like the refugees we see on the news today.
Meanwhile, a more lightweight reminder of how writers often store away ideas for long periods of time also popped up in the same episode of Years and Years.
In The Writer’s Tale, Davies offers a throwaway (if brilliantly funny) character description – “the sort of man who’s happy if he finds a big crisp” – that found its way into Years and Years.
So by pure chance, I’ve been re-reading The Writers Tale recently and just before #YearsAndYears tonight, I read a chapter where Russell gives a hypothetical character description.
So, should we be looking for other clues from RTD’s writing to tell us where Years and Years could be going next? Will the UK soon be put under military control like in Torchwood? Or will Jack Harkness turn up to save the country from Vivienne Rook? We’ve got our fingers crossed.
Years and Years continues on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesdays