If you think the present world is a scary place, it’s about to get a whole lot scarier. That’s according to Years and Years, the new Russell T Davies drama which tells the fictional story of a future Britain all the way up to 2034.
From Black Mirror-style tech to distant wars and the rise of another populist leader, the six-part series is set to show a society in crisis.
In the middle of this hotter, faster and madder world are the Lyons, a close-knit family from Manchester.
- The Years and Years cast explain why the series is like Black Mirror but “less dystopian”
- When is Years and Years on TV?
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Find out everything you need to know about the cast of Years and Years below.
How are the Lyons family related to each other?
Here’s a handy family tree to help you out…
Who is in the cast of Years and Years?
Emma Thompson plays Vivienne Rook MP
Trump. Farage. Le Pen. Populist Vivienne Rook is based on them all according to Davies. “There’s a whole generation of tricksters learning how to use social media, how to use the television, how to say whatever they like in public as long as it entertains us,” the writer told RadioTimes.com about Thompson’s party fictional leader.
Although not an MP when the show starts, Rook soon climbs to power at the helm of her “Four Star” party, a group named after an expletive she drops on Question Time.
Rook isn’t initially connected to the Lyons; the family only watches the politician on TV. However, their paths might cross in later episodes…
What else has Emma Thompson been in?
You’ll almost certainly recognise the legendary actor from her film roles in Love Actually, Nanny McPhee, Howards End, Beauty and the Beast and Harry Potter, where she played Professor Trelawney. She’s set to return to the Men in Black franchise later this year for the upcoming Men in Black: International.
Thompson has earned two Oscars, and is the first person ever to receive an Academy Awards for both acting and writing.
Rory Kinnear plays Stephen Lyons
Stephen is one of the four Lyons siblings – the brother of Daniel, Edith and Rosie.
A financial advisor, he’s the cool-headed peacekeeper of the family.
Stephen is married to Celeste and father to Bethany.
What else has Rory Kinnear been in?
Count Arthur Strong. Penny Dreadful. James Bond. Kinnear has starred in them all.
However, it’s his role in the first ever episode of Black Mirror (aka the one with the pig) that’s most significant to Years and Years: just like Charlie Brooker’s Netflix anthology series, Years and Years will be exploring a dark vision of the future. However, according to Kinnear, there are some key differences between the shows.
“[Years and Years is] not about gadgets and robots, although they make an appearance,” Kinnear told Radiotimes.com. “But what’s fascinating, terrifying and wonderful about the future in Years and Years is that it’s all based in plausibility.”
Russell Tovey plays Daniel Lyons
Brother to Stephen, Edith and Rosie, Daniel is a hard-working housing officer who’s in love with partner Ralph. However, as their relationship becomes strained, Stephen’s eye is caught by Ukrainian refugee Viktor.
What else has Russell Tovey been in?
Tovey is no stranger to British screens, having starred in Being Human, Doctor Who, The History Boys, Him & Her and Gavin & Stacey. Sherlock fans will also recognise Tovey from The Hounds of Baskerville, where he played Henry Knight.
Jessica Hynes plays Edith Lyons
Sister of Stephen, Daniel and Rosie, of all the Lyons siblings, Edith is the odd one out. A famous adventurer, she’s rarely in contact with her family due to her travels. However, she’s certainly one to watch. Her character is described as “radical, dangerous and calculating with a secret life”.
What else has Jessica Hynes been in?
Making her name in comedies Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and The Royle Family, Hynes is now known for her roles as PR guru Siobhan Sharpe in Twenty Twelve and W1A, as well as her Bafta-winning role in There She Goes.
You might also recognise her from mini-series Hooten & the Lady and as the knight in game show The Crystal Maze.
Ruth Madeley plays Rosie Lyons
Heavily pregnant when the series begins, single mum Rosie is sister to Daniel, Edith and Stephen. “Rosie is the youngest of the siblings and she is very ballsy,” Madeley told RadioTimes.com. “Very independent, very feisty. I adore her! She was a dream to play.”
What else has Ruth Madeley been in?
Arriving on screens in Fresh Meat, Madeley soon picked up roles in ITV dramas The Level and Cold Feet, where she played Tracey McHarrie in the show’s seventh series. She received a Bafta nomination for BBC3 film Don’t Take My Baby.
Anne Reid plays Muriel Lyons
The matriarch of the Lyons, Muriel is the no-nonsense grandmother of Daniel, Edith, Stephen and Rosie (their mother, Jennifer, has passed away). Although close to her grandchildren, widow Muriel isn’t a fan of Stephen’s wife Celeste, with the two regularly clashing.
What else has Anne Reid been in?
Now in the sixth decade of her career, Reid first rose to fame on Coronation Street playing Valerie Barlow, wife of Ken.
More recently she’s starred in the likes of Hot Fuzz, Last Tango in Halifax, Hold the Sunset, Doctor Who and Electric Dreams.
T’Nia Miller plays Celeste Lyons
Wife to Stephen and mother to Bethany, Celeste isn’t exactly the most easy-going character in the show. “She’s a real ball-buster,” Miller explained to RadioTimes.com. “You can expect a couple of one-liners from her. But she’s someone who is loyal and is a real driving force for her family.”
Described as an ambitious and opinionated accountant, Celeste is no fan of Stephen’s mother Muriel (Anne Reid), with the two often at loggerheads.
What else has T’Nia Miller been in?
Best known as Aleesha from Marcella and Witless’ DI Wilton, you might also recognise Miller from Doctor Who. However, she wasn’t in the show during Russell T Davies’ era: the actress played a Time Lord general during Peter Capaldi episode Hell Bent. That said, she did appear in Davies’ Channel 4 series Cucumber.
Noel Sullivan plays Tony
Tony is a friendly parent who enjoys a date with Ruth, the two meeting at their children’s school.
What else has Noel Sullivan been in?
Yes, it’s Noel from Hear’Say. First finding fame in ITV talent show Popstars, he went into acting after the group split up in 2002.
Since then Sullivan has featured in the second series of BBC’s Ordinary Lies and enjoyed stage roles in the likes of Grease and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Maxim Baldry plays Viktor
What else has Maxim Baldry been in?
After enjoying a small role in Mr Bean’s Holiday, Maxim became a regular face on Hollyoaks in 2016, taking the role of Liam Donovan.
Lydia West plays Bethany
Daughter of Stephen and Celeste, Bethany is an unruly teenager who is ‘transhuman’ – somebody who wants to escape their body and become a solely digital entity.
What else has Lydia West been in?
Years and Years is her first major screen role.
Dino Fetscher plays Ralph
Ralph is the enthusiastic but dim-witted partner of Daniel.
What else has Dino Fetscher been in?
A former Mr Gay UK, Fetscher played Aiden in Russell T Davies shows Banana and Cucumber. He’s also starred in Paranoid as DC Alec Wayfield and Stanley in Humans.
Years and Years starts Tuesday 14th May on BBC1