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Time (2021 TV series)

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Official poster for Series 1 (2021)
GenreCrime drama
Created byJimmy McGovern
Written by
Directed by
Music bySarah Warne
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series2
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
  • Lewis Arnold
  • Sean Bean
  • Stephen Graham
  • Jimmy McGovern
  • Michael Parke
  • Lucy Richer
  • Tom Sherry
  • Simon Maloney
  • Mark Hedges
CinematographyMark Wolf
EditorSacha Szwarc
Running time56–67 minutes
Production companiesBBC Studios Drama Productions
Original release
NetworkBBC One
Release6 June 2021 (2021-06-06) –

Time is a British anthology drama television series[2] created and co-written by Jimmy McGovern, with Helen Black. Each series presents a new scenario following the lives of inmates and staff in His Majesty's Prison Service. Its first series, starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, was first broadcast on BBC One on 6 June 2021 and concluded on 20 June 2021.[3] Its second series, starring Jodie Whittaker, Tamara Lawrance and Bella Ramsey, was broadcast, also on BBC One, on 29 October 2023 and concluded on 12 November 2023.[4][5]

The first series received largely positive reviews, with many praising the performances of the two leads.[6][7] At the 2022 BAFTA TV Awards, the first series won Best Mini-Series and Bean won Best Actor, whilst Graham was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The second series received similarly positive reviews.[8]


Series 1[edit]

Mark Cobden is newly imprisoned, consumed by guilt for his crime, and way out of his depth in the volatile world of prison life. He meets Eric McNally, an excellent 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.[7][9][10]

Series 2[edit]

Orla, a single mother serving her first sentence, Abi, who is incarcerated for life, and Kelsey, a pregnant heroin addict and repeat offender, begin their respective sentences at a women's prison.[11]


Series 1[edit]



Series 2[edit]



  • Julie Graham as Lou Harkness
  • Nicholas Nunn as Adam Muller
  • Karen Henthorn as Elizabeth O'Riordan
  • Terri Reddin as Sonographer
  • Kayla Meikle as Donna Mills
  • Faye McKeever as Tanya Helsby
  • Sophie Willan as Maeve Riley
  • Alicia Forde as Sarah Duddy
  • James Corrigan as Rob Cochrane
  • Louise Lee as P.O. Carter
  • Lisa Millett as P.O. Martin
  • Isaac Lancel-Watkinson as Kyle O'Riordan
  • Brody Griffiths as Callum O'Riordan
  • Matilda Firth as Nancy O'Riordan
  • Danielle Henry as Tess Palmer
  • Alexandra Monaghan as Tash
  • Conor McCarry as Steven Harkness
  • Maimuna Memon as Tahani
  • Angela Wynter as May Sinclair
  • Cindy Humphrey as Faith


Most of the filming of the first series took place in the Liverpool City Region, with the prison wings and cells filmed at HM Prison Shrewsbury, a former prison which was decommissioned in 2013. The cameras moved to Liverpool to create the rest of the prison using courtrooms, police stations and educational buildings, as well as exterior locations such as the Silver Jubilee Bridge in Widnes and Southport Pier.[12]


SeriesEpisodesOriginally releasedAverage viewership
(in millions)
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
136 June 2021 (2021-06-06)20 June 2021 (2021-06-20)BBC One6.09
2329 October 2023 (2023-10-29)12 November 2023 (2023-11-12)3.89

Series 1 (2021)[edit]

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
1Lewis ArnoldJimmy McGovern6 June 2021 (2021-06-06)8.04[13]
Mark Cobden is sent to prison and has to learn quickly how to survive. When an inmate identifies prison officer Eric McNally's weakness, he faces an impossible choice.
2Lewis ArnoldJimmy McGovern13 June 2021 (2021-06-13)5.18
Mark is being bullied by fellow inmate Johnno and must decide whether to tell the prison officers or risk the attacks becoming more violent. After Eric's son is attacked, he must decide if he will comply with the demands of a prisoner and risk his job.
3Lewis ArnoldJimmy McGovern20 June 2021 (2021-06-20)5.06[14]
After Mark suffers a personal loss he is given the chance to leave prison for a day while Eric is forced to take greater risks to protect his son from further harm.

Series 2 (2023)[edit]

No.Directed byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
1Andrea HarkinJimmy McGovern & Helen Black29 October 2023 (2023-10-29)4.14
Single mother Orla, heroin addict Kelsey and lifer Abi are sent to prison. While Orla loses control of her old life and tries to protect her children, Kelsey makes a personal discovery and Abi attempts to hide a terrible secret.
2Andrea HarkinJimmy McGovern & Helen Black5 November 2023 (2023-11-05)3.71
Several months after she's released, Orla is sent back to prison and her children are taken into care. While Abi confides in Marie-Louise about her past, Kelsey thinks about the future of her unborn child.
3Andrea HarkinJimmy McGovern & Helen Black12 November 2023 (2023-11-12)3.78
Orla faces consequences while trying to reconnect with her children, Abi attempts to overcome her unresolved grief and Kelsey hopes to move on from her old life and plan a future with her child.


Writing in The Guardian, Lucy Mangan wrote: "The performances of Bean and Graham are, even though we have come to expect brilliance from them both, astonishing. So, too, are those from everyone in smaller roles, none of which is underwritten or sketchy, and who thicken the drama into something more profoundly moving and enraging at every turn".[6] Billie Schwab Dunn, writing for Metro, praised the show, which was "elevated by the central performances – particularly Bean, who gently grounds us and provides a beam of light in all that darkness".[7][8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2022 BAFTA TV Awards Best Mini-Series Time Won
Best Actor Sean Bean Won
Best Supporting Actor Stephen Graham Nominated
Director:Fiction Lewis Arnold Nominated
Photography & Lighting:Fiction Mark Wolf Nominated
Scripted Casting Beverley Keogh, David Marin Nominated
2024 BAFTA TV Awards Editing:Fiction Alex Mackie Nominated
Scripted Casting Amy Hubbard Nominated
RTS Awards Leading Actor:Female Tamara Lawrance Won
Leading Actor:Female Jodie Whittaker Nominated
Supporting Actor:Female Bella Ramsey Won


  1. ^ Goldbart, Max (13 June 2023). "'Time': Bella Ramsey Prison Drama Boarded By BritBox North America For Season 2, Reveals More Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  2. ^ "BBC Series 'Time' Season 2: Anthology Cast | Telly Visions". tellyvisions.org. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  3. ^ Vassell, Nicole (4 June 2021). "Time release date: Cast, plot and trailer for new BBC One series". Radio Times. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Four of the BBC's biggest dramas The Tourist, The Responder, Vigil and Time to return for a second series on BBC One and BBC iPlayer". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Time: Jodie Whittaker set to star in second series". TV Zone. 2 April 2023. Retrieved 7 April 2023.
  6. ^ a b Mangan, Lucy (6 June 2021). "Time review – Sean Bean and Stephen Graham astound in enraging prison drama". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Schwab Dunn, Billie (6 June 2021). "Time review: Sean Bean's prison drama is a hard watch – but worth every minute". Metro. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Time series two review – Jodie Whittaker shines a light on the idiocy of our legal system". The Guardian.
  9. ^ Chilton, Louis (4 June 2021). "Time: Cast of BBC prison drama endured Covid scares and real prison experiences". The Independent. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  10. ^ Lally, Kate (6 June 2021). "BBC's Time viewers are all hoping for one thing from tonight's show". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  11. ^ Hilton, Nick (29 October 2023). "Time season 2 review: Bella Ramsey steals the show as a hard-bitten addict". The Independent. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  12. ^ Carr, Flora (4 June 2021). "Where is Time filmed? All the locations in the BBC drama". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  13. ^ "7-DAY RATINGS: 31 MAY-06 JUNE 2021". tvzoneuk. 14 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  14. ^ "7-DAY RATINGS: 14-20 JUNE 2021". tvzoneuk. 29 June 2021. Retrieved 29 June 2021.

External links[edit]