Time: Cast of BBC prison drama endured Covid scares and real prison experiences

<p>Sean Bean in ‘Time'</p> (BBC/James Stack)

Sean Bean in ‘Time'

(BBC/James Stack)

There’s a fair amount of hype surrounding Time, the BBC’s new three-part prison drama beginning this Sunday (6 June).

The series stars Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, and tells the story of the struggle for power in a British prison and the bleak realities of life behind bars.

Graham plays morally upright prison officer Eric McNally, while Bean plays schoolteacher Mark Cobden, who is imprisoned after killing an innocent man.

Alongside Bean and Graham, the series, created by Jimmy McGovern, stars a cast which includes Siobhan Finneran, Sue Johnston, Hannah Walters, David Calder, Nadine Marshall, Michael Socha, Aneurin Barnard, Jack McMullen and James Nelson-Joyce.

In preparation for his role, Graham said that he shadowed a real-life prison guard.

“I absorbed this fella like a sponge. These prison guards, they’re trying to do a job to the best of their ability,” Graham said to The Telegraph.

Meanwhile, Time’s director Lewis Arnold recently revealed to PA that filming on the series had been disrupted by a coronavirus scare that involved Bean.

“We were filming in Liverpool during the height of the pandemic, we had to change the plan every day,” he said.

“We lost Sean Bean for 10 days and all of our main core cast because we had an incident with Covid.”

The first episode of Time airs at 9pm this Sunday (6 June) on BBC One. Subsequent episodes will air on Sundays, with the entire series being available to stream on iPlayer after the first episode’s debut.

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