BBC One’s prison-set series Time was initially set as a one-off, closed-ended limited series starring Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) as the newly imprisoned Mark Cobden and Stephen Graham (This Is England) as Prison Officer Eric McNally. Written by Jimmy McGovern (Accused), the series was written for those two actors as a grim look at the reality of life in prison and how those within can very easily fall prey to criminal activity. It ended with Bean’s Mark released, while Graham’s Eric wound up on the prisoner side of the line, effectively ending their tale, but the BBC found a way around that, renewing the series as an anthology.
When the renewal was announced, McGovern confirmed he would use each season to look at different parts of the system and that his plan for the second season was to dig into the reality of women behind bars. The cast has confirmed the angle the BBC has put together as filming for the new three-episode story begins. The new series will be headlined by women: Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us), Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who), and Tamara Lawrance (The Long Song), and it is notable that McGovern has taken on a co-writer for this one, bringing Helen Black (Clink) aboard as a partner on all three scripts.
Along with the cast announcement, McGovern said, “This is the best cast I have ever seen assembled for any drama of mine.” But while most of the other statements included were merely enthusiastic, Lawrance was a bit more detailed: “Being a part of women-centered stories and productions is very important to me, as well as projects that challenge a prejudice. Time series two humanizes a sector of society that is too often and easily vilified by elucidating the layered reasons why people end up in the criminal (in)justice system. I’m excited for us to platform the complexity of these characters and their experiences.”
Here is Season 2's synopsis:
An original new story told through the lens of three very different inmates, Time is a moving and high-stakes portrayal of life inside a women’s prison. Arriving at Carlingford Prison on the same day, Kelsey, Orla, and Abi are thrown together to face an unfamiliar world. But even with the ever-present threat of violence within its walls, they discover that an unexpected sense of community, and a shared understanding, still might be possible.
Ramsey plays young Kelsey, while Whittaker and Lawrance play Orla and Abi, respectively. The new season will have one returnee from the original set of episodes, as Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley) reprises her role as prison chaplain Marie-Louise. McGovern will also be adding women behind the camera with Andrea Harkin (The Confessions of Frannie Langton) taking over helming all three episodes from Season 1's director Lewis Arnold. Season 2 will once again film in Liverpool, with production set to begin "in the coming weeks" (which is probably code for "After Eurovision.")
Time Season 2 does not yet have a release date, but is expected out in early 2024. Season 1 is streaming on BritBox here in the U.S.