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First look: Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in BBC One’s Time

Staff Writer

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham are teaming up for new BBC One series Time, and a new image gives us a first look at the prison drama.

Written by Jimmy McGovern and made by BBC Studios Production, the series stars Sean Bean as prisoner Mark Cobden and Stephen Graham as prison officer Eric McNally.

A high-stakes portrayal of life in a British prison, it follows Mark Cobden (Sean Bean), who is consumed by guilt after accidentally killing an innocent man. Accepting his four year sentence and separated from his family, he meets Eric McNally (Stephen Graham), a caring prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge. However when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice; between his principles and his family.

Both Eric and Mark are trapped by their pasts and unsure of their futures. Will they find the strength to move forward?

Joining Sean and Stephen in the cast are Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley, The Other One), Sue Johnston (The Royle Family, Downton Abbey), Hannah Walters (This is England, Pirates of the Caribbean), David Calder (The World Is Not Enough, The Hatton Garden Job) Nadine Marshall (Small Axe, Sitting in Limbo), Michael Socha (This is England, Being Human), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, Thirteen), and Jack McMulllen (The First Team, The Souvenir).

It is directed by Lewis Arnold (Des, Humans) and executive produced by Tom Sherry and Michael Parke for BBC Studios Production and Lucy Richer for the BBC alongside Jimmy McGovern, Sean Bean and Stephen Graham. Filming has most recently been underway in and around Liverpool.

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham to star in Jimmy McGovern’s Time

14th September 2020

Sean Bean (Broken, Game Of Thrones) and Stephen Graham (Line Of Duty, The Virtues) will reunite to star in Time, a new drama from Jimmy McGovern for BBC One.

Time is a high-stakes portrayal of life in the modern British penal system. The three-part series is a story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence and the impact that prison has on all those who pass through it.

Sean Bean takes on the role of Mark Hebden, a teacher, husband and father, who killed an innocent man in an accident. Consumed by guilt, he accepts and even welcomes his four-year sentence. Separated from his family, he has no idea what to expect in this unforgiving new environment and needs to learn quickly how to survive.

Stephen Graham is Eric Reid, a prison officer. Caring and honest, Eric tries his very best to protect those in his charge, something which is a daily challenge in this understaffed and high-tension world. When one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice between his principles and his love for his family.

Both Eric and Mark, officer and inmate, are seemingly trapped by their pasts and unsure of their futures. Each has to not only survive, but to find the strength and the way to move forward.

McGovern says: “The BBC have given me a brilliant young director and two of the greatest actors on the planet. I am overjoyed.”

Bean Adds: “Getting to be involved in a Jimmy McGovern drama again is a real privilege and it will be great to be reunited with Stephen. Mark Hebden is another of Jimmy’s complex and superbly written characters and I am looking forward to bringing him to life on screen.”

Graham comments: “It is an absolute honour to be working with Jimmy again, I’m feeling blessed. I’m excited to be working with Lewis as I have heard so many incredible things about him as a director, I can’t wait to get stuck in. Of course, I am made up to be back on set with Sean.”

Time was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, Chief Content Officer. It will be directed by Lewis Arnold and executive produced by Tom Sherry and Michael Parke for BBC Studios and Lucy Richer for the BBC. It will be produced by Simon Maloney.

The drama begins filming in Liverpool this autumn.

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