Skip to main content

'Time' with Sean Bean and Stephen Graham — cast, release date, trailer and a guide to this new prison drama

Jailed! Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in BBC1 drama 'Time'.
Jailed! Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in BBC1 drama 'Time'. (Image credit: BBC)

Sean Bean will be playing Mark Cobden, a guilt-ridden teacher whose life is destroyed when he accidentally kills an innocent man, in BBC1’s thrilling new three-part prison drama Time by acclaimed British TV writer Jimmy McGovern. 

Separated from his family, Mark is sentenced to four years in jail where he befriends prison officer Eric McNally (Stephen Graham), who does his best to protect the inmates from the dangers of life behind bars.

But when one of the most dangerous prisoners identifies Eric’s softer side as a weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice between his principles and protecting the ones he loves.

With both Eric and Mark trapped by their pasts and unsure of their futures, can they find survive and find the strength to move forward?

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 Hebden is another of Jimmy’s complex and superbly-written characters and I am looking forward to bringing him to life on screen.” 

Stephen Graham reveals: “It's an absolute honour to be working with Jimmy again, I’m feeling blessed. I’m excited to be working with Lewis 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.”

Time release date...

Time is likely to be shown on BBC1 and BBCiPlayer during the summer of 2021, but the exact start date hasn’t been confirmed yet. It’s a three-parter, and each episode is 60 minutes long. We'll update as soon as we know the start date.

Who else is starring BBC1 drama Time?

It’s been revealed that The Royle Family star Sue Johnston will be joining Time in a supporting role, alongside Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley and Benidorm) and Hannah Walters (This is England). Not only that, but it’s also been confirmed that The World is Not Enough actor David Calder is among the all-star ensemble cast, as well Small Axe’s Nadine Marshall, This is England star Michael Socha and Dunkirk actor Aneurin Barnard (currently in BBC drama The Pact). We will update as soon as we have more details on their characters.

What is Time writer Jimmy McGovern also known for?

BBC1's Time is the creation of BAFTA and Emmy-winning writer Jimmy McGovern, who has also penned major hit series including Cracker, Hillsborough, The Lakes, The Street, Moving On and Accused, which also starred both Sean Bean and Stephen Graham. 

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

Time cast — what else have Sean Bean and Stephen Graham starred in?

Sean Bean has had a long established career in film and TV. Between 1994 and 1997 he starred in eight Sharpe TV movies as the British soldier Richard Sharpe. He joined the first series of Game Of Thrones as Ned Stark in 2011 and recently played worried father Douglas Bennett in World on Fire. In films, he's probably best known for playing wise warrior Boromir in the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. 

Stephen Graham made a name for himself in This is England in 2006 and its TV sequels, but in the US he's probably best known for playing Al Capone in the hit gangster series Boardwalk Empire. He received critical acclaim for his roles in C4’s The Virtues and ITV’s Little Boy Blue (available on. BritBox) and made a much-talked about appearance as DS John Corbett in Line of Duty Season 5.

Time on BBC1 — what else do we know? 

BBC1's Time has been described as a "visceral, emotional and high-stakes portrayal of life in a British prison." It’s directed by Lewis Arnold, who recently directed the hit ITV series Des, and produced by  Simon Maloney (I May Destroy You). 

Is there a Time trailer from the BBC?

There isn't yet a trailer for Time, but we think it's imminent, so we'll be posting as soon as one arrives from the BBC.