Time viewers dub Sean Bean and Stephen Graham drama " almost unwatchable" — in the best way

·3-min read
Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Time episode 1 spoilers follow

Time viewers have dubbed the premiere episode "almost unwatchable" and "absolutely brutal", in the best possible way.

Starring Line of Duty's Stephen Graham and Games of Thrones' Sean Bean, the three-part BBC One series aired its first episode on Sunday night (June 6), 

Written by Jimmy McGovern, Time follows the story of first-time offender and former school principal Mark Cobden (Bean) who is haunted by the crime that has landed him a four-year sentence — while prison officer Eric McNally (Graham) is tested when word gets out that his son is serving time in another correctional facility. 

Photo credit: Matt Squire - BBC
Photo credit: Matt Squire - BBC

 

Related: Time review – Is the BBC's Stephen Graham prison drama worth a watch?

The first episode saw Mark's cellmate Bernard (The Pact's Aneurin Barnard) die by suicide, while another inmate was burned by a kettle filled with sugar and, posting to Twitter after the first episode aired, viewers praised the show's hard-hitting depiction of prison life, dubbing it "riveting yet equally uncomfortable".

"My palms were sweaty and my stomach was in knots but I couldn’t look away," said one viewer. 

"Sean Bean is utterly superb, the script and direction are excellent," said another. "But it's so powerful and true-to-life that it's almost unwatchable."

"Incredible but absolutely brutal and punishing to watch," said another.

Below are a few more of their reactions:

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Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

 

"The uncertainty and fear and trepidation was something that I wanted to express, as though you’re looking at it through my eyes," Bean previously told The Times about portraying Mark.

"It's misery and horror and suffering. I hope that comes across." 

Time airs Sunday nights on BBC One. All three episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.

Watch: Martin Compston shares Line of Duty pranks with co-star Vicky McClure

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