Jimmy McGovern's hard-hitting prison drama Time continues on BBC One tonight, and viewers will no doubt be desperate to tune in again after praising Sean Bean's "sensational" performance in last week's first episode.


Bean stars alongside Stephen Graham in the cast of Time, with the “difficult to watch” series focusing on the prison system in the UK from the perspective of two very different men in two very different situations.

Described as a story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence and the impact that prison has on all those who pass through it, the three-part miniseries was written with Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in mind.

Of course, while some viewers will be watching in the traditional linear fashion, others may already have watched all three episodes after they were made available on BBC iPlayer last week – meaning some will already have reached the Time ending.

Before the series started, Stephen Graham revealed that the real-life disused prison where Time was filmed was specially painted grey, to make the location feel more "miserable".

"I love the fact that stuff I do is difficult to watch for people," Graham recently told RadioTimes.com and other press. Comparing Time to Netflix period drama Bridgerton, he said, "That's not difficult to watch. So why is this difficult to watch? I think this is difficult to watch because it's coming into your living room.

"As Jimmy [McGovern, the creator] said, we need to look at the penal system... [The series is] putting a mirror to society and going, 'Not sure if we're getting this right.' So maybe that's why it's difficult to watch, because it makes you think."

Read on for everything you need to know about Time.

When is Time on BBC One?

The three-part series began airing on Sunday 6th June at 9pm on BBC One, with the full series available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer immediately after. The second and third episodes also air on BBC One on Sunday 13th and Sunday 20th June at 9pm respectively.

Filming on the show started in late 2020 and took place in and around Liverpool.

Time cast: Who's in it?

Time BBC

Time reunites two of Britain's best-known actors: Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) and Stephen Graham (Line of Duty), who starred together in another of Jimmy McGovern's creations, Accused, in a standalone 2012 episode that saw Bean playing a genderqueer teacher.

On working with Graham and McGovern again, Sean Bean says: "Getting to be involved in a Jimmy McGovern drama again is a real privilege and it will be great to be reunited with Stephen. Mark Cobden is another of Jimmy’s complex and superbly written characters and I am looking forward to bringing him to life on screen."

Time BBC

Similarly, Graham has expressed nothing but positivity at the prospect of starting work on Time, saying in a statement: "It is an absolute honour to be working with Jimmy again, I’m feeling blessed. I’m excited to be working with Lewis [Arnold] as I have heard so many incredible things about him as a director, I can’t wait to get stuck in. Of course, I am made up to be back on set with Sean."

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Others in the cast include Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley), Sue Johnston (The Royle Family), Hannah Walters (This is England), David Calder (The World Is Not Enough), Nadine Marshall (Small Axe), Michael Socha (This is England) and Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk).

Time trailer

The first trailer for the series arrived in May 2021, introducing us to Bean's character as he arrives for a prison sentence and immediately seems to find himself coming into conflict with both staff and fellow prisoners. You can check it out below.

What is Time about?


Viewers are introduced to Mark Cobden, a teacher, husband and father, who accidentally kills an innocent man and ends up prison.

Consumed by guilt over his actions, he accepts his four-year sentence with open arms. But, seeing as this is completely different to any life he's known before, Mark has no clue what to expect in this unforgiving new environment and soon realises there's no space for time-wasting when it comes to learning the ropes for survival.

Meanwhile, prison officer Eric does his utmost to protect the people he has authority over, a daily challenge in a space that is full of tension and lacking in resources.

But when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric arrives at a crossroads that forces him to choose between his principles and his love for his family.

If you want to see what we thought of the series, you should read our Time review, or, if you've already seen the series, you can read our analysis of the Time ending.


Time starts on BBC One on Sunday 6th June at 9pm. While you're waiting, take a look at our other Drama coverage, or find out what else is on with our TV Guide.