Russell T Davies has said it was a “dream come true” to cast Dame Emma Thompson for his new political drama Years & Years.

The Oscar winner plays celebrity turned politician Vivienne Rook in the six-part series.

Set to air on BBC One in May, the show will follow the Lyons family over a 15-year period as Britain is rocked by unstable political, economic and technological advances.

Davies told the Press Association: “The inspiration was all around me.

“I think it’s time to take these people seriously, really. There’s a whole new breed of politician who uses the media and uses public opinion and social media to become popular and to get votes.

“Emma Thompson, you don’t just see her on television, and to cast her was a dream come true.

“They said shall we try Emma Thompson and I said, don’t be so ridiculous, that would be nice in a million years – and it happened.

“Amazing, absolutely amazing.”

Davies told an audience at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival that Dame Emma’s character uses “all of the tricks” of modern politicians.

He said: “There’s a bit of (Boris) Johnson in there, there’s a bit of (Nigel) Farage in there, but her being a woman makes it completely new energy.

“She knows how to talk nonsense, when to tell the truth, she knows how to get a vote, she’s looming over the whole thing.

Emma Thompson (Ian West/PA)
Dame Emma Thompson stars in Years & Years (Ian West/PA)

“Our lives are full of those people now and they’re terrifying and fascinating at the same time.”

Cast opposite Dame Emma is former Coronation Street star Anne Reid, who plays the matriarch of the Lyons family, and her on-screen grandsons – Russell Tovey and Rory Kinnear.