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The characters of the television series Years and Years:


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The Lyons Family

    Stephen 

Stephen Lyons

Played By: Rory Kinnear
"I'm the Man Who Lost A Million Quid, remember?"
The eldest of the Lyons siblings. A financial advisor who lives in London with his wife Celeste and two daughters, Bethany and Ruby.


  • Armour-Piercing Question: Bethany launches one at him when she discovers his affair with Elaine. It also gets under Celeste's skin, as she is.
    What colour is she?
  • Broken Ace: A one-time high-powered financial expert who becomes a lab rat and courier after moving to Manchester, and becoming "The Man Who Lost A Million Quid".
  • The Dog Bites Back: He shoots his evil boss in the knee after the concentration camps are revealed.
  • Fallen Hero: Goes from being a well-loved, authoritative father and banker to a cheater who is barely scraping by and forced to work a brutal courier job, even becoming a lab rat... And out of desparation, ends up taking a job working for a company that oversees concentration camps.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Used to be a financial advisor, eventually ends up working five jobs, the most prominent being a courier.
  • Like Father, Like Son / I Am Not My Father: Muriel says that he is, which totally devastates Stephen.
  • Misplaced Retribution: He is so broken up over the death of Daniel, that he ends up blaming Viktor for it and decides to get revenge by sending him to a concentration camp.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: During his time working for Woody's company, which is contracted by Viv Rook's quasi-fascist government to manage the "Erstwhile sites".
  • Redemption Equals Death: He always intended to send the file to the police then kill himself. However, it luckily gets subverted when Celeste stops him.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The case with him and Edith, his sibling that is the closest in age. They went inter-railing when they were young, Edith wanted to smoke weed and sleep on beaches but Stephen just wanted to stay in nice hotels.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Believes this to be the case for him and Celeste.

    Edith 

Edith Lyons

Played By: Jessica Hynes
"Tear the world down."
The second-born Lyons sibling. Notable activist who has been working all around the world.


  • All for Nothing: Seems to view most of her activism as this towards the start of the series, after the nuclear bombing of Hong Sha Dao. She even enjoys Viv Rook's antics out of sheer nihilism. ...She gets better.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Towards Rosie, when she starts dating Jonjo. When Edith and Jonjo are alone in the kitchen, she starts off by casually talking about gutting fish while she lived at sea, and ends the conversation with a knife at his throat.
  • The Cynic: As mentioned above, she seems to have suffered major activism burnout at the start of the series.
    Edith: "No, but really. Yíknow, like... We keep saying, youíve got 10 more years to sort out climate change? Youíve got 10 more years to sort out flooding? Youíve got 10 more years to sort out the rainforest? We were saying that 30 years ago. Itís too late. Weíve run out of time. Everyone knows it. Nothing to be done. You can recycle and campaign and go on marches. Weíre going to flood. And burn. And starve. And we wonít die, Iím not saying that, the human race will carry on, just... living on plateaus. Like shepherds. Little villages. Maybe with a computer in a hut that you can visit once a week. Then go back to growing your little patch of corn. And you might be digging out some rocks and singing Elvis to yourself, or the Beatles, but you wonít know who they are anymore. Just folk songs from long ago."
    Daniel:"It's so nice to have you back."
  • Expansion Pack Past: Her activism that takes her all over the globe, but she only properly appears after she returns to the UK and largely stops doing it.
  • Granola Girl: In appearance and an environmental activist. Zigzagged in that she becomes much more cynical after feeling that her actions have been for nothing, but she goes back to this after realising that she needs to make use of the time that she has.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: How she threatens Jonjo when he and Rosie start getting serious.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: How her radiation poisoning shows up.
  • Persona Non Grata: Banned from the USA after unsuccessfully protesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
  • Soapbox Sadie: She's an activist who essentially kills herself by going near radiation. Although she claims to give up on activism, she never does and protests Roe v. Wade.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: After feeling that her years of campaigning were all for nothing, she becomes a Viv Rook fan and gives up on caring about anything, to the point of being extremely cynical and callous. However, she gets better over time and returns to her normal self.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: After being exposed to a high amount of radiation while chronicling the aftermath of the strike at Hong Sha Dao, an interviewer on TV asks her about it and states that she probably has 20 years to leave. Edith neither confirms nor denies this, but her family take it as confirmation. It gets worse. Bethany works out that with wind conditions, it's probably more like 10.

    Daniel 

Daniel Lyons

Played By: Russell Tovey
"I mean, what do you do? When your husband is too thick?"
The third-born Lyons sibling. A housing officer in a relationship with a teacher, Ralph.


  • Bury Your Gays: He dies via drowning in the Channel.
  • Crusading Widower: Played with. Viktor isn't actually dead, but he and Daniel are separated for years when Viktor is deported, and Daniel never gives up on getting him back.
  • Happily Married: To Viktor, who is also his Second Love before his death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A variant. He doesn't actually die saving Viktor, but the only reason he's on the boat in the first place is because he gives up his passport to help him escape France.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: A rare positive version, but when he falls in love with Viktor, he starts acting much more impulsively in an attempt to protect him.
  • Only Sane Man: In the opening of episode one, he is the only one of the Lyons family watching tv to see Viv Rook for what she is and what she could become.
    • A big factor in the breakdown of his relationship with Ralph - he can't cope with his gullible attitude towards conspiracy theories on the internet.
  • Protectorate: To Viktor.
  • Sacrificial Lion: His death utterly devastates all of the Lyons.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Towards the end of episode one, Daniel literally drives away from his family and ultimately from his marriage to his husband to be with Viktor at what he thinks might be the end of the world.

    Rosie 

Rosie Lyons

Played By: Ruth Madeley
"I'm a championship wrestler."
The youngest of the Lyons siblings. A single mum with two kids, Lee and Lincoln.


  • Alliterative Name: Must be fond of this trope, seeing as she named her children Lee Lyons and Lincoln Lyons.
  • Gullible Lemmings: The representative of this within the Lyons family. She's a huge fan of Viv Rook despite Viv's eugenics policies (and being disabled herself) and, unlike Edith, doesn't even have the excuse that she just wants to destroy the world. She thinks Viv is right.
  • Handicapped Badass: In episode six, when her son Lee is locked out of their estate by private security forces, she gets Lincoln to control the foot pedals of her food van and knocks down the gate.
  • It's All My Fault: Revealed to struggle with this - she blames herself and her spina bifida for their dad leaving their mum. She points out that he only left the family after she was born and he remained faithful to his second wife.
  • Plucky Girl: Has a very sunny demeanour.
  • The Scrappy / Unintentionally Unsympathetic: As she is supposed to represent the working-class everywoman, her behaviour can often bring her to becoming this, such as her support for Viv Rook. A notable example is when she callously tells Stephen, her own brother, that she has zero sympathy for the fact that he lost over a million pounds and telling him he deserves it because he's a financial advisor and therefore the crash was his fault anyway.
  • Struggling Single Mother: She has two kids with two different disappeared dads and manages a school canteen.
    • In episode six, she marries Jonjo and has a baby with him.
  • Where da White Women At?: Inverted. She's a white woman who seems to be mainly attracted to Asian guys, giving that her son Lincoln is half-Chinese and she marries Jonjo.

    Muriel 

Muriel Deacon

Played By: Anne Reid
"Well. I wouldnít know. Not in my little kitchen in Manchester."
The maternal grandmother of Daniel, Edith, Rosie and Stephen.


  • Cool Old Lady: The beloved matriarch of the Lyons family, she doesn't always use the right words but she's strong, kind and non-judgemental - she even holds back Viktor's hair when he's piss drunk and throwing up in her sink.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Tells Ralph that he looks very sexy in his dungarees when he's helping to paint her house. Daniel's a little shocked... but ultimately agrees with her assessment.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Downplayed, but she's very stern with Stephen as she kicks him out when she discovers that he's cheating and she's very protective of Viktor as well as Bethany and Ruby.
  • Racist Grandma: Deconstructed. While Muriel does refer to Lincoln as a "Chinaman" in the first episode, and earns anger from Celeste and Rosie, it's a genuine mistake due to her age and she's not an Innocent Bigot, as she's extremely accepting of the Lyons' mixed family and is actually shown to be one of the most accepting family members.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: A mixed example, she does regularly video-chat with her grandchildren and she owns a smart speaker with a virtual assistant... but she has to keep a note in the kitchen cupboard to remember what to call it.

    Bethany 

Bethany Bisme-Lyons

Played By: Lydia West
"Did you know you can live forever?"
Stephen and Celeste's elder daughter. Identifies as trans, as in transhuman.


  • Being Human Sucks: She's very unhappy with her default state and will go to great lengths to upgrade.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Her determination to ignore Stephen and Celeste about becoming transhuman leads to many arguments, her spending all her savings, and her nearly mutilating herself.
  • Cyborg: In Episode 5, she is augmented with state-of-the art cybernetic implants as part of her government job, including Electronic Eyes, a Brain/Computer Interface, and subcutaneous finger sensors which allow her to operate a virtual keyboard.
  • Electronic Eyes:
    • In episode three, she narrowly avoided being given malfunctioning camera eyes by a back alley doctor. Her friend wasn't so lucky.
    • In episode five, she is given eyes that can take pictures, after her upgrades from the government.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After getting significant tech upgrades from her government job, her hair is much more manicured in contrast to her previously unkempt curls. This could either be due to working in a more professional environment or a signifier of her feeling more at peace after reaching her life's goal of becoming transhuman.
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: At the start of the series, she refuses to take off her snapchat-esque filter mask and emails her parents with appointments for when they can have a chat.
  • Transhuman: She comes out as trans to her parents, but she means this, not transgender. In later episodes, she gets sub-dermal implants that allow her to use her hands to receive phone calls and then gets internet access installed into her brain.
  • Working for a Body Upgrade: It's implied to be part of why she works in the civil service.

    Ruby 

Ruby Bisme-Lyons

Played By: Jade Alleyne
Stephen and Celeste's younger daughter.


  • Daddy's Girl: It's implied by the fact that she hugs Stephen after his affair with Elaine is revealed, while Bethany doesn't.
  • Out of Focus: In comparison with her sister, her character is not explored as much.

    Lee 

Lee Lyons

Played By: Callum Woolford, Adam Little
Rosie's firstborn child.
  • Delinquents: Goes through a period of teenage delinquency.
  • Disappeared Dad: His dad is a married man with three daughters living in Slough. Is mentioned to send Rosie money.

    Lincoln 

Lincoln Lyons

Played By: Jett Moises, Aaron Ansari, Aiden Li
Rosie's second child, born in the first episode.


  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: They're assigned male at birth, but takes a real liking to hair ribbons after Edith dresses them up to help her do some undercover work at a corporate HQ during a Take Your Daughter To Work day. Nobody cares about the ribbons, least of all Rosie. By the end of episode six, they are fully presenting as female but still going by the name Lincoln. It's left unclear what Lincoln's exact gender identity is.
  • Disappeared Dad: Their dad, Gau, went home to Beijing before the birth.

Friends and Partners

    Celeste Bisme-Lyons 

Celeste Bisme-Lyons

Played By: T'Nia Miller
"Milkís not good for you, darling, itís just mucus."
Stephen's wife.


  • Accent Slip-Up: Generally speaks with a posh London accent but in times of extreme stress her accent turns notably Jamaican. (Her mother is mentioned to be from Port Maria.)
  • A Degree in Useless: With the advances in AI, she views her degree in accountancy as this.
  • Bald of Authority: She's pretty domineering over Stephen and her family (though not without good reason), and she has a shaved head.
  • Best Friends-in-Law: At the start of the series, there is no love lost between Celeste and Muriel. However, a number of events conspire - particularly Muriel having Celeste's back when she wants to kick Stephen out of the house for cheating on her - mean that towards the end of the series, Muriel has given Celeste a share of her will, equal to what she is giving her grandchildren.
  • Break the Haughty: She's pretty judgemental towards Muriel and snobby, which all changes after she and Stephen lose all their money, she essentially loses her job and has to take a much lower-paying one, and move in with Muriel, with whom she doesn't really get on in the beginning.
  • My Beloved Smother: Not a particularly bad case but on one occasion, she does read Bethany's internet history without her consent or knowledge.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Celeste is very strong and, as Stephen learns, you trifle with her at your peril.
  • Stepford Snarker: She's pretty open about being unhappy with her new job(s) and station in life, but she nevertheless forces herself to keep it together when she learns that Stephen is having an affair, for instance, only revealing it months later when she has to.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She's very stern and strict with Stephen and in her professional life, plus in general, but she also has an extremely soft side which she demonstrates around Bethany, Jade, and, eventually, Muriel.

    Ralph Cousins 

Ralph Cousins

Played By: Dino Fletcher
"Look. Iím not saying Iím absolutely right, which means you canít say Iím absolutely wrong."
Daniel's partner at the start of the series. He's Welsh and a primary school teacher.


  • Conspiracy Theorist: Much to Daniel's chagrin - particularly given that he's a teacher - he believes that germs are a hoax created by the pharmaceutical industry and that there's something to the flat earth movement.
  • Gullible Lemmings: Shares this role (albeit more severe and a more minor character) with Rosie.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After Daniel leaves him to be with Viktor, he gets revenge by reporting evidence of Viktor illegally working in a petrol station to the Home Office, resulting in Viktor's deportation.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears mostly in the first two episodes, but he's responsible for getting Viktor deported and thus being responsible for everything that results from it.

    Viktor Goraya 

Viktor Goraya

Played By: Maxim Baldry
"You see? There was a tiny scar. Where the electrode goes in. But not any more, it fades away."
A Ukrainian refugee living in one of the sites that Daniel manages. Eventually, they develop a romantic relationship.


  • Dark and Troubled Past: Was tortured in Ukraine for being gay.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Daniel's death.
  • Heroic B So D: Suffers from a classic example after Daniel dies and he returns to the Lyons house.
  • Family of Choice: His biological parents shopped him to the government for being gay due to their extreme orthodox beliefs. For the most part, he becomes a beloved part of the Lyons family and in episode six, even though Daniel has been dead for years, he refers to them as his family and has faith that they will help him escape the concentration camp in which he is imprisoned. And they do.
  • Flying Under the Gaydar: A serious example. When he is deported to Ukraine, he is told to live "discreetly". He complies until it looks like even that won't be enough.
  • Happily Married: To Daniel before his death.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Let's see. He flees to England from the Ukraine because of their new anti-gay laws. He falls in love with Daniel but is then violently and suddenly deported back to the Ukraine, where he has to live separately from the man he loves. After a crack down in the Ukraine, he flees to Spain where he's largely unsuccessful in getting back, he's stolen from...he takes all of this relatively in his stride. Until Daniel dies, and he can't hold it together long enough.
  • The Pollyanna: Previously he had been very calm and taken it in his stride when he's deported to the Ukraine, in a camp in the UK, or in Spain during a crisis, which makes it all the more devastating when Daniel's death totally breaks him.
  • Protectorate: For Daniel and the Lyons more generally.
  • Sensual Slavs: A male example. Daniel's sex life notably improves when he starts dating Viktor.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Daniel's house key, which he reveals that he kept all the time he was a refugee and uses to get back into the house at the end of episode four, but never with Daniel.
  • Worthless Foreign Degree: Has a degree in economics and is highly educated.

    Fran Baxter 

Fran Baxter

Daniel's neighbour, who becomes a friend of the Lyons.


  • Life of the Party: Her skills as a storyteller and as a singer in a band leads to highlights such as her energetically singing Mama Tembu's Wedding at Daniel's birthday party.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Ends up having this with Edith.
  • The Storyteller: Her job, much to Daniel's initial confusion.

    Jonjo Aleef 

Jonjo Aleef

Played By: George Bukhari
Rosie's new boyfriend.


  • Fun Personified: Doesn't seem to take too much seriously, in fact, in his first scene, he's chatting about his family and spraying a hose at Rosie.

Others

    Vivienne Rook 

Vivienne Rook

Played By: Emma Thompson
"But I have got you listening, haven't I?"
A businesswoman who runs a political think tank. Starts to step onto the stage herself to become a far-right politician.


  • Beware the Silly Ones: Most people just laugh at her Brutal Honesty and use of the Precision F-Strike. A lot of them aren't laughing when she institutes concentration camps in the UK.
  • Family-Values Villain: Claims to be with her ranting against pornography. Isn't.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: From an unknown panelist on Question Time who "doesn't give a fuck" about Israel and Palestine, to prime minister of the UK, presiding over the introduction of concentration camps.
  • The Man Behind the Man: When Stephen has a chance meeting with her in episode five, she expresses a desire to "sail away from all this.". Confused, he tells her that she's the prime minister and can do what she wants. She simply chuckles and remarks, "They'd kill me."
  • Oop North: Speaks with a particularly thick Mancunian accent.
  • Power Hair: She has shorter blonde hair.
  • Secretly Wealthy: It's not a secret as such, but she heavily downplays her wealth and privilege to seem like one of the people.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: First when a hung parliament leaves the balance of power in her hands, then much more so in episode 6 when she becomes Prime Minister.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Invoked by her television channel, where she is frequently shown learning how to dance and cook...in between dangerous political rants.

    Woody 

Clive "Woody" Woodward

Played By: Kieran O'Brien
"I think I've found myself a monkey."
Stephen's awful former school friend, now a fairly sucessful businessman running a property managment company, who he turns to out of desparation for a well-paid job.


  • Conspiracy Theorist: Believes the US nuclear attack on Hong Sha Dao was faked, and even goes so far as to force Stephen to pretend to agree with him as part of his job.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Gleefully profits off a property maintenance contract for freaking concentration camps. 'Nuff said.
  • Evil Is Hammy
  • Hate Sink: Woody is a thoroughly loathsome individual- a bullying, misogynistic boor who not only helps to operate the Erstwhile sites but is positively thrilled to win the government contract for doing so. He's almost certainly more detestable than Viv Rook.
  • Jerkass: Delights in making the desperate Stephen become his Yes-Man and proceeds to mock him at every possible opportunity. Muriel's comments in Episode 6 suggest he's been like this since school as well.
  • Lack of Empathy: Has no qualms whatsoever over helping to send (presumably) thousands of refugees and illegal immigrants to their deaths in the Erstwhile camps.
  • Large Ham: Has a very loud and boisterous personality.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Makes several disgustingly sexist comments about Celeste- as if operating the Erstwhile sites wasn't already enough to qualify him for this.
  • Walking Spoiler: Difficult to discuss without mentioning the true nature of the Erstwhile sites and Stephen's role in operating them.

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