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Sean Bean to star with Stephen Graham in new BBC1 prison drama

Sean Bean at Game of Thrones premiere
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sean Bean plays a prisoner filled with remorse

Sean Bean will star opposite Stephen Graham in Time, a major new Jimmy McGovern drama for BBC1.

The Game of Thrones actor will play teacher Mark Hebden, who is jailed after killing an innocent man in an accident.

Riddled with guilt, he accepts his sentence but is worried about how he will survive without his family. He needs to learn how to cope and become streetwise as he find himself in an unforgiving prison.

Sean Bean, who worked with McGovern on Broken (opens in new tab) and Accused, 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 Hebden is another of Jimmy’s complex and superbly written characters and I am looking forward to bringing him to life on screen.”

If you missed the BBC drama, Broken, when it was first shown in June, catch it on iPlayer while it’s still available

Sean Bean in Jimmy McGovern's Broken (Image credit: BBC/Tony Blake)

Meanwhile, Line of Duty's Graham plays prison officer Eric Reid, a caring and honest man trying to protect the inmates. But one hugely dangerous prisoner discovers Eric’s weak spot and places him in an impossible position. Will Eric choose his principals or his family?

Stephen Graham says: “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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The BBC bill Time as a “a visceral and high-stakes portrayal of life in the modern British penal system. It is a story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence and the impact that prison has on all those who pass through it”.

Writer Jimmy McGovern says: “The BBC have given me a brilliant young director and two of the greatest actors on the planet. I am overjoyed.”

Three-part drama Time, starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, will start filming soon in Liverpool (see our TV Guide for more shows to enjoy).

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.


Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 


David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.


Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!