Russell T Davies on Love, Loss, and Years and Years

Former showrunner, Russell T Davies has given an interview to Radio Times as promotion gears up for his new BBC1 drama, Years and Years, which charts the fortunes of a Manchester family over 15 years from 2019.

It’s another high profile series for Davies following the success of his BAFTA nominated A Very English Scandal, and features an excellent cast including Emma Thompson, Anne Reid, Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes and Rory Kinnear.

Thompson plays populist politician Vivienne Rook, who comes to prominence through espousing controversial, simplistic opinions on the issues of the day (sound familiar?). Says Davies:

“She’s very aware of what she’s doing. It’s that modern trickster who knows how to play the media machine – it’s Trump, it’s Johnson, it’s Farage… Anne Reid does a speech where she says, ‘Beware the tricksters. The clowns. They will laugh us to hell.'”

Being Davies, he is keen to stress that it’s a series focussed on people, rather than an issues-based polemic:

“I don’t want to present this as a drama that will make your head boil. It’s about people dealing with those issues, but it’s not about the issues themselves. It’s about how to survive.”

Davies has been through personal tragedy recently with the death of his long-term partner Andrew six months ago. Andrew had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011, prompting Davies to take time away from work to devote himself to caring:

“I was surprised by my patience and I’m surprised by how much I miss it. I knew I would miss him. I knew I would miss the love. But, actually, I loved caring for someone. There’s not enough written about carers. I never resented it but you would think, ‘Well, if this is over one day, I’ll be free.’ I imagined there would be great freedom… but I’m here because I only want to run off to New York with him, really. All that freedom that I imagined would exist means nothing.”

As you can see, Davies speaks movingly of the loss of Andrew with considerable wit and insight. Well worth reading, the interview appears in the new issue of Radio Times covering the week of May 4- 10 2019.

Years and Years starts on BBC1 on Tuesday 14th May 2019.