Interview with T’Nia Miller
T’Nia Miller plays Celeste Bisme-Lyons in Years and Years.
It holds the mirror up to where we’re heading and how detached we have become to our neighbours and our community. Ultimately we can only be as happy as our neighbours are.
Celeste is married to Stephen, but how does her relationships within the Lyons help her to fit in to the family as an individual?
She has a great bond with her daughters, but not so much with the extended in-laws, she takes a snooty approach to them. Her relationship with the grandmother, Muriel, is very confrontational. They’re so alike so they can’t stand each other - there are some great lines that Russell has given us. I remember at the read-through with Anne, I just thought she was this really powerful woman and I could hardly get my words out, because Anne just came in there and wiped the floor with me.
How does Celeste grapple with the challenges of bringing up two young daughters who are responding to the technological advances of society?
When we first meet her we see her as she starts feeling a bit old. I remember a time when I knew everything and was up to date with technology, but now I don’t know how to do things and I have to call a young person! That’s a little difficult for her, it soon becomes apparent she’s a little out of her depth when it comes to technology but she still wants to understand their world.
What is it about this series that you think will keep audiences tuning in every week?
Russell T Davies - the man is a legend, he writes brilliantly. The characters are very relatable, there’s a political undercurrent which is holding a mirror up to where we’re at now and where we’re going, but the characters are very personable and funny. There were times when I read this script I had to stop to pause for breath because the writing is so strong; it’s those characters which are going to draw people in. You can see parts of yourself in every single character. If it’s not where you’re at presently, perhaps it’s where you’ve been or where you might like to be.
Do you have any memorable moments from filming on set?
When we get together as a family we're like school kids who you try to keep under control, and if Russell Tovey is on set then forget about it, because he’s just so naughty and mischievous!
What do you hope the audience will take away from the drama?
Hope. Because it holds the mirror up to us to where we’re heading and how detached we have become to our neighbours and our community. Ultimately we can only be as happy as our neighbours are, but here we’re becoming so selfish and self absorbed. If we could just take a step back and think, if I just had a little bit more consideration and do a 360 - instead of this tunnel vision - then we have time to change things. So that’s why I say hope.
Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson)
Businesswoman and entrepreneur, Viv’s a familiar face on modern media, always ready with a quote. But when she stands for Parliament and forms her own party, she begins an inexorable rise to power. She’s adored for speaking her mind, but what are her actual policies? And how far will she go to achieve them?
Muriel Deacon (Anne Reid)
Muriel Deacon (Anne Reid). Sharp as a knife. Wise, but opinionated. Proud and independent and defying the passing of time. She doesn’t sleep much. Enjoys a whisky. Her house is large, rambling and dilapidated. Mother to the late and much-missed Jennifer, she’s a devoted (and critical) grandmother to her beloved Lyons clan.
Stephen (Rory Kinnear)
Stephen Lyons (Rory Kinnear). The eldest. Lives in London while the rest of the Lyons stayed in Manchester. A financial adviser, he worked at home to bring up the kids while his wife Celeste went out to work. He’s the peacemaker, a calm, smiling man. Though he can afford to be - he’s rich. What will he become when his world is rocked?
Edith Lyons (Jessica Hynes)
The second child, she’s tough, wry, earthy, a bit of a hippy as a teenager. Always knew where to get hold of some weed. As an adult she’s become a fearless campaigner and something of an anarchist, with skills her family would find dodgy. She’s been travelling the world, but shocking events bring her home for good.
Daniel Lyons (Russell Tovey)
A housing officer in Manchester. He’s friendly, diligent and hardworking. Loves his family. Has a strong social conscience, but finds that hard to maintain in an ever-changing world. Daniels is going out with Ralph, and they’re about to get married, but maybe Daniel said yes too soon...
Rosie Lyons (Ruth Madeley)
The youngest Lyons, spirited, sharp, born with spina bifida. Single mother to Lee and Lincoln, by two different dads. Works as a chef manager in a local comprehensive school. She’s great fun and binds the family together, but Rosie will never forgive her dad for walking out on the Lyons family when she was young.
Celeste Bisme-Lyons (T’Nia Miller)
Married to Stephen. Chief Accountant, smart, stylish. A marvellous snob. Exasperated by modern technology. But she’s a proud mum to two daughters, Bethany and Ruby, and they have a comfortable life in a nice house in Barnsbury. One day, that life will feel like a distant dream.
Ralph Cousins (Dino Fetscher)
Primary school teacher. Always on his phone. Ralph’s the fun one, Daniel’s his straight man. They’ve been together for 18 months, married two years later. The end comes quicker and more brutally than Ralph could ever have predicted, and he takes a terrible revenge.
Viktor Goraya (Maxim Baldry)
Ukrainian refugee. Tortured in Ukraine for information about his friends. Nevertheless, he’s a kind, smiling man, a great survivor of his hardships, always looking for the positive side. Full of strength and laughter, Viktor is a source of great joy to Daniel, and will become the love of his life.
Bethany Bisme-Lyons (Lydia West)
Bethany Bisme-Lyons (Lydia West). Daughter to Stephen and Celeste. A brilliant student, Bethany is shy, quiet, withdrawn. But her introspection hides her secret passion. She’s obsessed with transhumanism, the culture of integrating humans with technology. But her ambition is in danger of taking her too far.
Ruby Bisme-Lyons (Jade Alleyne)
Daughter to Stephen and Celeste. Ruby’s fun and great company, enjoying everything the 21st Century has to offer. She’s a bit spoilt, unaware that her world is about to come crashing down.
Lee Lyons (Noah Wride, Blake Woods, Callum Woolford and Adam Little)
Rosie’s first-born son, his dad now lives in Slough with a new family, though that doesn’t cause Lee any grief. He’s a nice, home-loving lad, but as the estate he lives on gets rougher, Lee finds himself going outside the law.
Lincoln Lyons (Jett Moises, Aaron Ansari & Aiden Li)
Rosie’s half-Chinese son. Lincoln is born in episode one. And as he grows up and watched the Lyons family changing around him, his story, over the next 15 years, is set to be the most radical and exciting of all.
Cast and Crew
Vivienne Rook - Emma Thompson
Muriel Deacon - Anne Reid
Stephen Lyons - Rory Kinnear
Daniel Lyons - Russell Tovey
Rosie Lyons - Ruth Madeley
Edith Lyons - Jessica Hynes
Celeste Bisme-Lyons T’Nia Miller
Bethany Bisme-Lyons Lydia West
Ruby Bisme-Lyons - Jade Alleyne
Lee - Callum Woolford
Lincoln - Jett Moises, Aaron Ansari and Aiden Li
Ralph Cousins - Dino Fetscher
Viktor Goraya - Maxim Baldry
Nicola Shindler - Executive Producer
Michaela Fereday - Executive Producer & Head of Production
Russell T Davies - Executive Producer, Creator & Writer
Karen Lewis - Producer
Simon Cellan Jones - Director, Executive Producer
Lisa Mulcahy - Director