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Thursday, 13 June 2019

REVIEW: The Joy of Years & Years is its unpredictability.

The jollities of new year have never been so forced as the Lyons family see in 2028. There's blackouts, digital crashes, bomb explosions and floodings. It's also a case of old acquaintance not being forgot for a family struggling in the aftermath of Daniel's death. There is no resolution in sight for them.

The main wonder of Russell T Davies' script, other than it's warmth and humanity, is that you never know where it's going to go next. The beats to the story are so unpredictable that it verges on disorientating and that's probably the point. The surreal feels uncomfortably real.

It's not just the main arcs that keep viewers on their toes, it's in the little flourishes too. Like Muriel and Celeste's unlikely and strange companionship, or Rosie's hilarious run-in with customer services. It must be said that Ruth Madeley is on top form here.

New Prime Minister Vivienne Rook has declared a housing emergency and anyone with two spare bedrooms has to legally house those in need. Edith is sidetracked by a search for "The Disappeared", humans that have got lost to the state and her cynical mind won't believe it's a myth.

Stephen is a shadow of the man he was five episodes ago. Loss has turned his soul bitter. Loss of money, loss of marriage and in a powerful scene with Viktor, loss of empathy. His principles are in tatters as he joins his friend and Hong Sha denier Woody and chances upon Rook gloating about concentration camps and genocide like it's a chat over the water cooler. Sending Viktor to the newly named "erstwhile" are the actions of a man gone rogue and yet Rory Kinnear plays all the rough edges so well there's a sense the nice, moral man is still inside and redemption next week could be possible.

Bethany is coming into her own and in a closing twist could become an unlikely saviour as the living embodiment of a phone and tablet. She's literally an all seeing eye and teams up with a poorly Edith to carry out a break in. Will we find out what was in those papers? As a superhuman with the truth about Stephen at her disposal, Bethany could prove to be a superhero in the finale. Russell T Davies probably has other ideas..

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

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