The gritty three-part series focuses on two central characters: Mark (played by Bean), a soft-spoken new inmate completely out of his depth, and Eric (Graham), a principled prison guard.
Time reunites Bean and Graham (the latter is currently filming Peaky Blinders), who previously co-starred together in a standalone episode of Accused, also penned by McGovern.
The “difficult to watch” series mostly takes place inside the show’s fictional prison, but also shows us Eric’s family life at home.
But where exactly was Time filmed, and how does the prison look so realistic?
Where was BBC drama Time filmed?
BBC prison drama Time was filmed in a real-life former prison, HM Prison Shrewsbury, which was decommissioned back in March 2013.
Speaking at a press event attended by RadioTimes.com, director Lewis Arnold said that he had considered various locations while scouting for the series, but that Shrewsbury “had such a feeling and energy”.
“The wings and the cells… The majority of the prison stuff – the key stuff, the landings – were shot in in a disused prison, which ironically, myself and the executive producer shot in five years ago, when it first closed, just before it was meant to be turned into student accommodation that never happened, luckily for us, so we were still able to use it now. But yeah, we looked at so many different prisons as well. This… prison just had such a feeling and energy, especially when [our set designer] got in and put a visual stamp on it as well. And it’s been left that way,” he said.
Series star Stephen Graham, who attended the same press event, also revealed that the walls of the prison had been specially painted a grey colour, in order to make the location feel more “miserable” on-screen.
“We had an amazing team, we had an amazing set designer, we had fantastic costume and makeup departments…. I love [the] kind of the tones of it, the colours of it. Because I went in: ‘Why are we painting [the prison]?’ He [Lewis] went, ‘Because with the greys,’ he said, ‘It looks a little bit more miserable,’ and… it was a tone that you found yourself, wasn’t it? Completely you and the team found [it] yourselves? It’s not a normal colour in most prisons at all, is it?”
Arnold responded: “No, it’s a colour that [our set] designer found. Yeah, we painted half the prison with that colour.”
The director also revealed that filming for prison guard Eric’s house took place at a location in Liverpool, while the prison visiting room was actually shot in “an old school gym”.
“There are elements showing Liverpool – the prison was not in Liverpool, because you obviously have to go to the disused prison. And then we did [go to Liverpool]. So the visit room… our designer took an old school gym and turned it into a visits room, which was wonderful. You know, Eric’s house was in Liverpool. So there was many elements we shot in Liverpool and made work: police stations, all that kind of stuff.”