×

Emma Thompson to Play Celebrity-Turned-Politician in BBC, HBO’s ‘Years & Years’

Emma Thompson will play a charismatic celebrity-turned-politician in “Years & Years,” the upcoming future-set family drama from Russell T. Davies, whose extensive credits include “Doctor Who” and “Queer as Folk.”

The limited series will go out on the BBC in the U.K., HBO in the U.S., and Canal Plus in France, with the three coproducing. Studiocanal banner Red Production Company is making the six-parter.

The story follows one British family, the Lyons, over 15 years, starting in 2019, through political instability, technological advances and a changing economy. “We find out if this ordinary family could ever change the world,” the producers said in a statement.

Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks”) will play Vivienne Rook, an outspoken celebrity-turned-politician, whose controversial opinions divide the nation. Rory Kinnear (“Peterloo”) is cast as Stephen Lyons, a financial advisor and the family’s peacekeeper. He is married to Celeste, played by T’Nia Miller (“Marcella”), an ambitious accountant.

Russell Tovey (“Quantico”) will play Daniel Lyons, Stephen’s brother, and Jessica Hynes (“Paddington 2”) is Edith, his sister. The final sibling is Rosie, played by Ruth Madeley, (“Cold Feet”). Anne Reid (“Last Tango in Halifax”) is family grandmother Muriel.

Production is getting underway in Manchester, England. Simon Cellan Jones (“Boardwalk Empire”) is directing.

“This is a dream cast, put together by [casting director] Andy Pryor, the man who found Jodie Whittaker to be Doctor Who,” Davies said. “I’m very lucky, and very excited to start filming.”

Studiocanal is handling international sales. Nicola Shindler, CEO of Studiocanal U.K. and executive producer for Red, has worked with Davies on numerous series, including “Queer as Folk.”

HBO is thrilled to once again partner with the BBC and to be joining RED Production Company in showcasing the stellar work of Russell T Davies and Emma Thompson with this sweeping family saga which captures the spirit of our time,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys.

“No other writer could have written such an original, important and entertaining state of the nation drama, with a family at its center that an audience will want to spend time with,” Shindler said. “I’m thrilled a cast of this caliber will bring them to life.”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content