The new mini drama series, which follows the life of the British Lyons family from a crucial night of 2019, as they face all the hopes and fears posed by an unknown future, has its premiere today on HBO. We bring you what its creator and screenwriter says, and questions and answers from the famous actors about the characters.
It is a dramatic series of six chapters of creation, script and executive production of Russell T. Davies (“A Very English Scandal”, “Queer as Folk”), and is starring Emma Thompson (Oscar® winner for “Return to Howards End” and “Sense and Feelings”), in addition to Rory Kinnear (“The Enigma Code”), T’Nia Miller (“Obedience “), Russell Tovey (“Looking”, from HBO), Jessica Hynes (“Paddington 2”), Ruth Madeley (“Cold Feet”) and Anne Reid (“Last Tango in Halifax”).
The creator, scriptwriter and executive producer Russel T. Davies says that the concept of the miniseries has been on his mind for more than a decade but: “In recent years, the world itself seems to have been boiling faster, hotter and more wild than ever. The current era seems feverish: we are more political, or we mock politics more than ever before. “
However, Davies adds that, “in his heart the series is a family drama. I think people will like the characters. We want to see them fall in love and fall out of love, see parents and children survive the vicissitudes, see friendships over decades. People can talk about politics in YEARS AND YEARS, but they are the people who will make you see the series.”
While Davies does not try to predict the future with this story, in effect he has a technological innovation in his narrative: “My favorite technology already exists and it is WhatsApp, especially the groups. This platform is transforming the family before our eyes. Technology has made us closer and I have shown it with the Lyons family. They are an extraordinarily close-knit group as they talk to each other all the time, and I have dramatized it.”
Davis, What is the meaning of Emma Thompson’s charismatic character, Vivienne Rook?” The series follows the Lyons family while deep down we see great changes in politics and in the nature of Great Britain. I hope people are fascinated with Vivienne Rook. She is rebellious, dangerous and unpredictable. Also she is very, very intelligent, much more than it shows off when she appears for the first time.”
Emma Thompson affirms that she was impressed by the script of Russell T. Davies and Davies himself. “I met him when we were in London talking about doing the series and I loved it. What an amazing subject and what an extraordinary writer. His writing is absolutely at the level of George Orwell’s. It’s extraordinary how he has imagined the future of our relationship with artificial intelligence. His work in YEARS AND YEARS has as many nuances as the best science fiction texts.”
How does Emma Thompson see her personage? “I interpret an independent politician that says what she thinks and becomes incredibly popular given that candor. Russell’s writing made her incredibly alive and credible. In the beginning, many members of the Lyons family believe that she is great. They think that there is decency and humanity in her, whereas in reality what there is, is the desire for power. Clearly, she has no moral fiber. It’s terrifying,” says the actress.
Anne Reid, who interprets the matriarch Muriel Lyons, describes her character as “the glue that holds the family together. Is very big. Over the course of 15 years I go from 88 to 103 years old! She is a ruthless and strong northern woman. Muriel is a really fighter character and it’s a privilege to play it.”
Rory Kinnear, personifies Stephen Lyons, says that “Russell’s description of the times to come, and which is not very far away, feels very real. It has nothing to do with flying cars, it’s a very tangible future. That sense of a family saga against global and national politics feels completely plausible, but it is fictional.”
Russell Tovey who interprets Stephen’s brother, Daniel, names the world that Russell T. Davies has created as “… terrifying, but it’s our world. It does’nt feel very far from where we are now. Our generation has had a lucky time in which nothing has affected us too much, but in the world Russell has written everything has gone wrong. The world changes around us daily.”
What will the viewers feel about the Lyons family, Tovey?” I hope they project their own family dynamics into them and care about them. You’re watching a domestic drama about a Manchester family and it is simply about what is happening in the world. I hope the audience connects with all of them and wants to be with them.”
Jessica Hynes, plays the sister Edith Lyons, thinks the audience will be surprised by the “twists and turns. A lot of the plot and the story is unconventional. Russell’s incredible imagination really shows up in this series. You never know what the characters will do next.”
What do you expect the audience to take away from YEARS AND YEARS?“I hope they enjoy it and feel motivated by it,” she says. And adds: “Love brings hope. Everything that focuses the mind on the love we have for each other brings us closer. That always brings hope and I believe this series tries to do it.”
Ruth Madeley, who plays sister Rosie Lyons, says that when she recorded the family scenes “it felt so natural, it made it more difficult when I was not filming because I really missed them all. Shooting those scenes was like you were around a table in your own home with your family, eating, laughing, drinking and having a good time just being together. ”
She believes that this story “will give people hope that, no matter how bad world is, we will continue to have each other. Although there are incredibly difficult parts in the story, there is a lot of humor, love and consolation.”
T’Nia Miller, has the character of Stephen Lyons’ wife, Celeste Bisme-Lyons, praises the text by Russell T. Davies, and notes: “There were times when I read the script and had to pause to breathe, because the writing is very strong. Those characters are going to captivate people.”
The mini series is a production of RED Production Company, in co production with HBO, BBC One and CANAL +; created, written and produced by Russell T. Davies. The executive producers are Nicola Shindler and Michaela Fereday for RED Production Company and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Karen Lewis is producer of the series and Simon Cellan Jones director and executive producer.