TV review: Years and Years, BBC One (4 stars)

TV review: Years and Years, BBC One

New Russell T Davies drama speculates on a world going ever madder

The rise of populist politicians has led the world into ever more dangerous places. Trump in the US, Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Putin in Russia represent figures whose fragile egos and pandering to the basest human instincts appear to direct government policy. Meanwhile, over in wacky old Ukraine, they have just appointed a president whose main credentials for the job was that he once played the Ukrainian president on a satirical TV show.

In the near future-set Years and Years (Trump is about to be voted in for a second term while we then spring forward to his last few perilous days in office), Russell T Davies returns to the small screen with a six-part drama that speculates on how bad things could get when we elect people who would struggle to spell nuance never mind allow some of it into their thinking. Emma Thompson is chillingly effective as entrepreneur Viv Rook who says something awful on a Question Time-style panel show before forming a new 'people's' party to challenge the status quo.

Her rise to power provides the backdrop to the elements that Davies seeks to filter through Years and Years via the largely dysfunctional Lyons family, featuring siblings Daniel (Russell Tovey), Edith (Jessica Hynes) and Stephen (Rory Kinnear). He chucks in the often futile nature of social activism, the rampaging dehumanisation of technology, and the fracturing of family networks, plus conspiracy theories and the superpower struggle between China and America.

While there's a touch of Black Mirror about some of the nosediving humans v technology interfaces, Davies makes this his own with typically raucous humour, the teasing out of delightful performances, and a fair bit of sex during what we still quaintly call 'post-watershed' viewing.

Episodes watched: 1 of 6

Years and Years starts on BBC One, Tuesday 14 May, 9pm

Comments

1. Johanna McNicholl15 May 2019, 9:32am Report

Years and Years is about 4 siblings, not three. You completely failed to mention the youngest sister, Rosie Lyons played by Ruth Madeley. As the first episode heavily features Rosie, this is a glaring oversight. Or is it because she's in a wheelchair, she has become invisible and unimportant?

2. Keith Bevins12 Jun 2019, 5:03am Report

Episode 5 Season One.

You crossed the line that can't be crossed!

I don't care what anyone says about the people of the United Kingdom. There isn't a blind hope in the darkest depths of any apocalyptic vision; where the people of the United Kingdom would be so blindly dragged into that abyss of absolute evil.

It's just not economically feasible from the coldest numerical analysis. Divorce yourself from morality and reason to fancy oblivion; for a moment. It's impossible!

I'm sorry the people of the United Kingdom at "all" levels of brilliance and ignorance wouldn't allow themselves to be dragged into that moral black hole. Any reasonable suggestion that the United Kingdom could fall to such a dark place results in one end game: the end of the United Kingdom period!

The Irish, the Welsh, the Scots, and then the British would rise up; we would hope to stop such madness. If they, the people of the United Kingdom, didn't people from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland; would find the way, and the path, to drag the United States into a war of moral liberation, That war would reach such an unbelievable level a level of violence. That violence would make any of Oliver Cromwell's actions look like children's bedtime stories.

I'm still in a state of shock after watching this episode. Creative freedom is one thing. Good taste and an honest reflection upon the history of the United Kingdom, good and bad, forces us to wonder. who's writing this nightmare? I'd like to see the writer's names and résumés published for honest public critique. Who's dystopian vision is this? Where did it come from? How did it come to this point of portrayal? We need answers!

Your writers have the United States nuking an island in the South China Sea.

Who in this nightmare is going to stop the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Britain; from liberating the United Kingdom from madness and tyranny? Russia won't. China won't. Is Germany and mainland Europe going to go to the aid of the criminals in the United Kingdom? Not if they want to avoid absolute destruction at a biblical level.

It's easy enough to see the King of England seeking shelter in the United States months, or years, ahead of this..... Crusade! It would be a: Crusade. Nothing less and a whole lot more. A "real" Crusade!

Why would the United States avoid an opportunity to ensure it controls the counterstroke to any revival of a continental European power? That power may start to enjoy global ambitions. You can't threaten Europe's ambitions unless you hold the ground needed to launch a strike at its first heart: Paris. Berlin and everything after that is just time and space.

I'm sure the Russians wouldn't intervene. The United States nuked China. The Russians would most likely co-operate. So much for any threat of a European intervention to save the United Kingdom from the... next "real" Crusade in Europe.

Should the United Kingdom, fascist loyal forces, try to nuke the United States... well by that time the United States will have the technology to disable or destroy most United Kingdom nuclear capable vessels and missiles before they hit targets in the United States. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand might not be so lucky. Those nations would have to hope the United State anti-nuclear weapon umbrella is capable and deployed to save them from nuclear rain. Leave it to an unstable skin-head limey with a button, to try to nuke Toronto, Sydney, or Christ's Church.

Wouldn't that just invite more justification for extreme righteous morally driven violence and retribution! Who's carrying the lance of St. George or the sword of St. James? Will St. Andrew sing songs and call trumpets to lead the hosts to battle?

I assume Doctor Who will show up to save the day! With or without clothing.

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