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Tuesday, 28 May 2019

REVIEW: Years & Years couldn't be more timely.

it's all system's go, or it is for the systems that haven't crashed yet because there are so many threads going on at this halfway stage of an intriguing series. Stephen (with a ph) is now a courier having lost over a million pounds. Hopefully, he doesn't lose his parcels so easily. The message from Russel T Davies is clear throughout - populism won't look after you. No holiday, no sick pay and pathetic wages to add insult to bankruptcy.

A pharmaceutical crisis is also ravaging the country and the knock-on effects soon hit the Lyons family as their estranged dad passes away as a result of a minor accident. The medication wasn't available and a routine case became a fatality. We witness that there really is a bond between this disparate lot at the awkwardly funny "Aqua Funeral" scenes. And no, Barbie didn't come party. The dead bodies get "dissolved" apparently, which is perhaps not the best time for cheesy nineties pop. We meet another sibling Steven (with a V) as stay at home ex Muriel flushes the loo in his honour. They are beautifully comic moments in such deep emotional terrain.

Bethany and her bestie run away to Liverpool to be digitally uploaded to the cloud. Most people do a Beatles tour, but let's not judge. Sadly it turns sour when her friend ends up looking like a malfunctioning cyborg. There's a sense this could be the main arc that sets up some sort of redemption and a fight back against technology.

As for Daniel, his boyfriend Viktor escapes the police in Syria and manages to get his way to socialist Spain where he should be safe. Should be, but it seems a little too simple and disaster could be imminent. This is a dystopian drama, we can't have people smiling for too long can we?

Meanwhile, Viv Rook, still just a menacing background character at this point, is not only a celebrity in her own lunchtime TV show but on her own channel. Her ego inflates further after a general election result in which she holds all the power. Her calling card this week is that everyone should pass an IQ test for the right to vote. Amid all these mayhem let's not forgot that the supposedly reformed Edith is secretly hacking into the software of a corporate business. There's plenty to digest but never does it feel like an overload of information. The pacing is on point and there’s every reason to have confidence that all stories will be resolved.

The best moment is saved for the very end. It might be a strange conclusion but Stephen's attack on a courier's bike is actually an expertly realised scene. Accompanied by Murray Gold's pulsating score, it is a testament to one of the main results of civil unrest - the people are turning on each other. While the government fiddles with its thumbs, society is attacking itself. While Rome, or in this case, Manchester burns the elite prosper.

Years & Years Continues Tuesday at 9.00pm on BBC One.

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