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.”

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