Hard Cell — release date, cast, trailer, characters, plot, first looks, and all you need to know about the Catherine Tate prison comedy

Catherine Tate is doing time in her new Netflix comedy Hard Cell.
Catherine Tate is doing time in her new Netflix comedy Hard Cell. (Image credit: Netflix)

Catherine Tate's new Netflix sitcom Hard Cell sees the comedian taking a satirical look at life within the prison system. Filmed in a 'mockumentary' format —just like The Office, Parks & Recreations, and a host of other comedy hits — the comedy sees Catherine playing multiple characters as she guides viewers through life at fictional jail, HMP Woldsley. The British comedy performer, who's best known for The Catherine Tate Show and Doctor Who, is the creator and star of the new series and will also direct all six episodes. 

So here's everything you need to know about Hard Cell...

Hard Cell release date

All six episodes of Hard Cell launch as a box set on Netflix on Tuesday 12 April 2022. This comedy will be released worldwide. 

Hard Cell Catherine Tate

First look! Catherine Tate takes on a range of roles in Hard Cell. (Image credit: Netflix)

Is there a Hard Cell trailer?

Yes a trailer for Hard Cell has been released by Netflix, so take a look below at all of Catherine Tate's prison characters. So many accents, so many wigs!

Hard Cell plot

In Hard Cell, Catherine Tate straddles the line between humour and tackling important themes regarding the prison system. Hard Cell is a documentary-style comedy set in the fictional female prison, HMP Woldsley. 

Writer and creator Catherine plays multiple characters (see character list below) from Laura Willis, the Governor who believes creativity leads to rehabilitation, to Big Viv, the psychopath lifer. Set over a six week period during which the inmates rehearse a musical directed by ex-EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison. Rehearsals draw together an oddball collection of women as they find their voices, grow in confidence and strengthen their friendships. Funny yet surprisingly moving, Hard Cell leans into the comical truth of prison life. 

Producers of Hard Cell have described the plot as "a documentary crew follows the inmates and staff of HMP Woldsley capturing the penal system at its brutal humorous best."

Meanwhile, executive producer Kristian Smith says: "We cannot wait to show audiences on Netflix the inside of HMP Woldsley, our fictional prison occupied by the fantastic creations of Catherine Tate. This series is funny and touching all at once, revealing what life might be like in a British women's correctional facility."

Catherine Tate as prison governor Laura Willis in Hard Cell.

Catherine Tate as prison governor Laura Willis in Hard Cell. (Image credit: Netflix)

Hard Cell cast — Catherine Tate on playing multiple characters

In Hard Cell, Catherine Tate plays multiple characters in the six-part series and love the challenge of making her first Netflix series. "Exciting ain't it? Exciiiiiiiiiiiting!!!" she screams. 

"Setting a show in a women’s prison is something everyone gets wherever they are in the world, with shows like Orange Is The New Black, Prisoner: Cell Block HWithin These Walls and that new one Wentworth too! It’s a well-tried genre."

Hard Cell characters played by Catherine Tate

Catherine Tate plays Marco the prison guard from Essex.

Catherine Tate plays Marco the vain prison guard from Essex. (Image credit: Netflix)

Here are a few of the characters from Hard Cell, played by Catherine Tate...

Laura Willis (see below) is HMP Woldsley’s governor. A self-styled prison reformer convinced staging musicals will provide a platform for her belief that creativity leads to rehabilitation. Her detractors would describe her as a ‘bleeding heart liberal in kitten heels’, a description she wouldn’t hate

Ros is a popular, bouncy inmate who idolises her mother. Loves her prison wife Suds, pretends to love her penpal boyfriend Sebastian but is in fact, rinsing him for all he’s worth. What? It’s not her fault that people are so trusting

Ange is a timid first timer in prison. An innocent, struggling to adapt to her new environment, her meekness making her easy prey. But she lives by her mantra “People are inherently good” and despite her misfortune, she overcomes her fears, settles in and even finds her prison walk.

Big Viv (see below) is terrifying, feared by inmates and prisoners alike. Violent, unpredictable and singing is her happy place - everything you’d want in a cell mate. A devoted fan of the Kardashians, with whom she identifies deeply, Vivienne develops a passion for theatre as she becomes involved with the musical.

Marco (see above) is a prison guard from Essex. He got down to the last 32 on Love Island so he’s got nothing to prove. More committed to his appearance than his job, which he only took because he can get to work without changing tubes.

Anne Marie is Ros’ mother. A tough, mean, ex-con, who visits her daughter whenever she has run out of money. Contemptuous and scathing, she takes full advantage of her daughter’s unconditional love.

Terrifying inmate Big Viv is just one of the Hard Cell characters played by Catherine Tate.

Terrifying inmate Big Viv is just one of the Hard Cell characters played by Catherine Tate.  (Image credit: Netflix)

For playing Roz Catherine had to have the tattos painted on her every morning.

Catherine as Inmate Ros. (Image credit: Netflix)

Who else is starring in Hard Cell?

Other stars of Hard Cell include Poldark star Christian Brassington as prison governor Laura's 'Number 2' Dean, Benidorm's Niky Wardley as a troubled inmate Anastasia, former EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison playing herself, Sister Boniface Mysteries star Lorna Brown, Caroline Harding, Jola Olajide and Duncan Wisbey...

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.