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Screw: release date, cast, trailer and all you need to know about the prison drama

The cast of Screw is led by Nina Sosanya and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell (both centre).
The cast of Screw is led by Nina Sosanya and Jamie-Lee O'Donnell (both centre). (Image credit: Channel)

Darkly comic prison drama Screw arrives on Channel 4 for January 2022 and BritBox in April. It takes viewers into the intense world of fictional men’s prison Long Marsh, a place bursting at the seams with humour, emotional high stakes and danger for prisoners and officers alike!

Witten by BAFTA nominated writer Rob Williams, one of the masterminds behind Killing Eve, this six-part series was inspired by his experience of working and volunteering in prisons.

Screw, a British slang term for a prison guard, stars Nina Sosanya as Leigh, who has devoted her entire life keeping inmates in line. She’s joined in the fray by rookie officer Rose (Derry Girls star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), as well as fellow screws Ali, Gary, Don and Jackie (King Garys Laura Checkley).

Here’s what else we know about the irreverent new six-part comedy drama…

Screw release date

Screw started on Thursday January 6 at 9pm on Channel 4, with all six episodes shown on streaming service All4. Screw will become available on streaming service BritBox from April 1 2022. 

On Amazon Prime Vi...

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Is there a trailer for Screw?

Yes a trailer for Channel 4's Screw has been released now. Take a look below as well as at all the first look pictures in this feature.

What is the plot of Screw?

Set in Long Marsh’s C Wing, Screw follows a group of embattled prison officers, aka screws, including Leigh, a woman who has devoted her entire adult life to the prison and its inmates. But she’s an enigma to her team, and has her own secrets that if discovered could cost her more than her job.

Meanwhile, into the pressure cooker enters streetwise 21-year-old trainee officer Rose. But Long Marsh is a baptism of fire even for her! Producers of Screw say the series offers an insight into incarceration rarely seen on British TV, tackling contemporary stories ‘head-on with through a vibrant and multi layered cast of characters.’

Leigh and Rose patrolling the Long Marsh wing in 'Screw'.

Leigh and Rose patrolling Long Marsh's C wing in 'Screw'. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Screw cast — Nina Sosanya on playing Leigh

In Screw, Nina Sosanya plays experienced prison officer Leigh, who keeps her inmates in line, but has their backs when they need it.  

Nina says: "Leigh runs the prison’s C wing as if she’s the captain of a ship. She doesn’t trust anybody else to take any kind of responsibility, really, because she needs control.  Having that kind of personality in a prison is going to cause friction amongst the staff members. You can’t run something that way – you need to have a certain level of trust.

"Leigh absolutely lives for her job, which ordinarily makes my heart sink when you hear that in a character breakdown. But when you look at what this job actually is, it's completely fascinating. She utterly believes that she can and should be trying to make a difference within a system that she sees as broken. She runs her wing like the captain of a ship, according to her own beliefs and rules, and doesn’t particularly trust anybody else to do the job as well as well as she can. She finds it easier to relate to the prisoners than the staff members, and this causes incidents. She's quite unpredictable and enigmatic, but she's compassionate and trying to do the best she can within a broken system. One of the things that she says is about how these people have already been judged – the loss of liberty is the punishment – so the officers’ job is to look after them while they're here, to make that time as beneficial as they can."

NIna is best known for her roles in W1A and Last Tango in Halifax. But she’s also had parts in Killing Eve, as DCI Laura Porter in Marcella, and Elaine Parry in His Dark Materials

Nina Sosanya in 'Screw'.

Nina Sosanya on duty as Leigh in 'Screw'. (Image credit: Channel 4)

'Screw' star Nina Sosanya with Sarah Lancashire in 'Last Tango In Halifax'.

'Screw' star Nina Sosanya with Sarah Lancashire in 'Last Tango In Halifax'. (Image credit: BBC)

Screw cast — Jamie-Lee O’Donnell on playing Rose

In Screw, Jamie-Lee stars as rookie screw Rose, who struggles in her new job on C Wing. She's a streetwise 21-year-old who nonetheless has a lot to learn about life on the inside.

Jamie Lee says: "Rose grows really quickly as a person – she doesn’t have a choice because of what’s going on in there. It’s a lot of responsibility, and I think her expectations change pretty quick when she goes in and meets the rest of the characters. Everybody has their own take on prison life, and it changes what she maybe thought prison would be like.

"There's quite heavy stuff in Screw, but they’re trying to keep it as true to life as possible because not everything is doom and gloom – even in dramatic times, there's some sort of a silver lining. It's a survival instinct to find the lighter side of things, especially when the reality you're faced with is quite dark."

Jamie-Lee made her name as wild child Michelle in the C4 comedy Derry Girls, but has also starred in the Northern Irish series 6Degrees.

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Rose in 'Screw'.

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell as Rose in 'Screw'. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Derry Girls. with 'Screw' star Jamie-Lee O'Donnell (second from left) as Michelle.

Derry Girls. with 'Screw' star Jamie-Lee O'Donnell (second from left) as Michelle. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Screw cast — who else is starring?

Completing the Screw team of prison guards on C Wing are Line of Duty’s Faraz Ayub as Ali, I May Destroy You’s Stephen Wight as Gary, Game of Thrones’ Ron Donachie as Don and King Gary’s Laura Checkley as Jackie.

Laura Checkley says: "Jackie is no-nonsense, but doesn't take life too seriously. She’s a good mum and a good mate with a big heart, but you don't want to push her because she’s no mug. She likes to think of herself as the mum of the prison, but she believes in boundaries and discipline. Although the prisoners trust her, she keeps them at arms’ length because that's the healthy thing to do. When she goes home to her husband and five kids, she leaves it at the gates and doesn’t take the work with her. Life's too short."

Stephen Wight says: "On the surface Gary can seem a very simple man, but I found him incredibly complex. He is a no-nonsense, working-class, angry, white man, but underneath all of that, there is a good heart. He's fiercely loyal to his colleagues and sees them as an extended family, but he keeps his life inside and outside prison very separate."

Screw — writer Rob Williams and behind the scenes

Screw is directed by Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster) and Jordan Hogg (Ackley Bridge), while Rob Williams is also acting as executive producer as well as writer of the series.

Rob wanted to create a drama that reflected the prisons he’d worked in as a teacher, where gallows humour was rife among the staff, and the prisoners he taught were a fascinating and diverse group that confounded his expectations.

"It was such an eye-opener for me that there is such a cross-section of society in prison," says Rob Williams. "More than anything, I remember the amount of times I was just laughing and enjoying the company. I made a point of not knowing what the students in my classes were in for, and we made the same decision in Screw. You’ll very rarely find out what the guys on the wing have actually done, it’s sort of beside the point."

Nicholas Cannon
Nicholas Cannon

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.