Time release date: Cast, plot and latest news about the new BBC One series

Everything you need to know about Jimmy McGovern's new prison drama starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham.

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in BBC's Time

Gritty scenes abound in BBC One’s new drama, Time, starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham.


Written by Jimmy McGovern (Moving On, Broken), it’ll focus on the people who make up the prison system in the UK – inmates and guards alike. Described as a story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence and the impact that prison has on all those who pass through it, emotional stakes will be undoubtedly high.

Here’s all we know about Time so far.

When is Time on BBC One? 

Filming started in late 2020 in and around Liverpool. As of yet, there’s no confirmed air date.

Time cast: Who’s in it?

Sean Bean_Stephen Graham 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.”

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.”

Others confirmed 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

Sadly, there’s no trailer yet, but as soon as one becomes available, you’ll be able to take a look at it here.

What is Time about?

Viewers will be introduced to Mark Hebden, 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 Reid 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.


Time is coming soon to BBC One. While you’re waiting, take a look at our other Drama coverage, or find out what else is on with our TV guide.