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Is Time based on a true story?

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A gritty new prison drama has landed on BBC One, with Time arriving on our screens on Sunday night. 

The gritty show starring Sean Bean and Stephen Graham is a high-stakes representation of life in the modern British correctional system, seen through the eyes of two people on different sides of a high-security facility.

The three-part series from the BBC, written by Jimmy McGovern, follows new inmate Mark Cobden (Bean), a schoolteacher, and prison guard Eric McNally (Graham).

Graham recently told Metro.co.uk and other press that the hard-hitting new series is ‘difficult to watch’ — and he’s not wrong.

‘I love the fact that stuff I do is difficult to watch for people,’ Graham said. Comparing Time to Netflix period drama Bridgerton, he said, ‘That’s not difficult to watch. So why is this difficult to watch? I think this is difficult to watch because it’s coming into your living room.

‘As Jimmy [McGovern, the creator] said, we need to look at the penal system… [The series is] putting a mirror to society and going, ‘Not sure if we’re getting this right.’ So maybe that’s why it’s difficult to watch, because it makes you think.’

It’s set to be our latest TV obsession, but is it based on a real story?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Is Time based on a true story?

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham star in the gritty new series (Picture: BBC/Matt Squire/James Stack)

While the series is not based on a real life story, creator Jimmy and the cast of the show went to great lengths to ensure the series was as realistic as possible. 

Stephen previously revealed that he shadowed a real prison guard to learn the ins and outs of prison life. 

Speaking to The Sun, the actor said: ‘I absorbed this fella like a sponge. These prison guards, they’re trying to do a job to the best of their ability. 

‘Their job is to protect themselves, protect the prisoners and make it a nice, reasonable, cohesive place where everyone can do their time, treated with respect.’

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 01/06/2021 - Programme Name: Time - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 3) - Picture Shows: Eric McNally (STEPHEN GRAHAM) - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: James Stack

Stephen plays a prison warden in the new drama (Picture: BBC/James Stack)

The show’s synopsis reads: ‘Mark Cobden (Sean Bean) is newly imprisoned, consumed by guilt for his crime, and way out of his depth in the volatile world of prison life. He meets Eric McNally (Stephen Graham), an excellent prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge.

‘However, when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice; between his principles and his family.’

Time will air weekly on BBC One from Sunday June 6 at 9pm. All episodes are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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MORE : Time is a hard to watch prison-based drama from the BBC but it’s worth every minute


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