Jimmy McGovern's new prison drama Time got off to a great start on BBC One last night (Sunday 6th June) and viewers were captivated – if a little shaken – by the first episode of the brutal three-part series.
The series follows Mark (Sean Bean), a former school teacher who finds himself forced to adjust to life in prison, and Eric (Stephen Graham) a long-time prison guard who finds his principles challenged by a run-in with a dangerous inmate.
The performances of acting heavyweights Graham and Bean in the Time cast came in for particular praise from fans, with many taking to social media to express their views.
One viewer wrote, "20 minutes into #Time & I don’t think I have drawn breath. Played beautifully & with intensity by @StephenGraham73 & Sean Bean, this is another superb piece of writing from Jimmy McGovern."
Another fan Tweeted, "Thought #Time was absolutely fantastic. Sean Bean showing a real vulnerability & Stephen Graham was immense as always, Aneurin Barnard was absolutely brilliant as Bernard. Going to savour this and not binge! Jimmy McGovern knocks it out the park again."
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And a third added, "Just finishing watching Time on BBC, one of the best drama's I've seen, the story, the acting, all impeccable, Sean Bean and @StephenGraham73...Brilliant."
Speaking of the performances, one viewer wrote, "Sean Bean and Stephen Graham have got to be two of the best British actors of all time. Great start to a programme this."
Bean's performance was variously described as "sensational", "a bit special", and "utterly superb" with one viewer saying that he "absolutely smashed it."
And another fan made light of Bean's much joked about habit of being killed off early in a series, writing, "Sean Bean and Stephen Graham two of our best actors in a gritty prison drama written by the superb Jimmy McGovern, and to top it all we're one episode down and Sean hasn't died! (Yet)"
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Viewers were also quick to point out how true to life and bleak the drama was, with one fan branding it "almost unwatchable" as a result of how powerful it was.
"Time on #BBC1 is unbelievably grim," he said. "Grim, but accurate. Really communicates the oppression, violence and alienation of prison life. Sean Bean is utterly superb, the script and direction are excellent. But it's so powerful and true-to-life that it's almost unwatchable."
If you want to find out what we thought of the series, make sure to check out our Time review.Time continues on BBC One on Sunday 13th June at 9pm, and the full series is now available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer. Looking for something else to watch? Take a look at our other Drama coverage, or find out what else is on with our TV Guide.