One day, BritBox will hit critical mass and release a show so big, so popular, so mainstream that it will stop being that streaming service people look at me funny when I start gushing about how great it is. When that day comes, the world will discover the truly stupendous BBC gems currently tucked away on it, like The Responder, Sherwood, and Time. At present, I am hoping that somehow, the triple threat cast of the latter's Season 2 run — Jodie Whittaker, Bella Ramsey, and Tamara Lawrance — will manage to do what the double whammy of Season 1's Sean Bean and Stephen Graham couldn't, namely make it that breakout hit.
Written and created by Jimmy McGovern, Time began as a deep dive into the English penal system and how it breaks down just about anyone who enters it from either end of the spectrum. In Season 1, Bean was a prisoner convicted of manslaughter after killing a bicyclist while drunk driving; Graham was a stand-up corrections officer whose slowly collapsing life made him vulnerable to the temptations of the system. Season 2 will continue the story as an anthology series, connected by Siobhan Finneran's character, prison chaplain Marie-Louise, this time moving focus to the women's facility.
Unlike Season 1, which was one prisoner learning to survive as a lone wolf, Season 2 will focus on those who survive via a communal strategy. Whittaker, Ramsey, and Lawrance are three women who are all booked on the same day for three completely unconnected crimes and who slowly bond over the course of their time. However, the series apparently kept one twist under wraps.
Here's the series synopsis:
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.
The BBC and BritBox also released first-look images of Abi, Orla, and Kelsey on what looks to be their arrival day:
Tamara Lawrance (The Long Song) stars as Abi Cochrane, Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) plays Orla O'Riordan, and Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) plays Kelsey Morgan. As noted above, Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) is the only returning character from Season 1, prison chaplain Marie-Louise O'Dell. The BBC and BritBox also released a photo of her in the new season, as well as a new character, inmate Maeve Riley, played by BAFTA-winning comedian Sophie Willan (Alma's Not Normal) in one of her first major dramatic roles.
Finneran, Lawrance, Ramsey, Whittaker, and Willan will co-star alongside Julie Graham (Shetland), Alicia Forde (Waterloo Road), Lisa Millett (The A Word), Faye McKeever (The Responder), Kayla Meikle (The Capture), James Corrigan (This Is Going to Hurt), Nicholas Nunn (SAS Rogue Heroes) and Maimuna Memon (Unforgotten). Jimmy McGovern (Accused) wrote the three-part series with Helen Black (Death in Paradise). All three installments were helmed by director Andrea Harkin (The Confessions of Frannie Langton).
Time Season 2 is expected out in autumn 2023 in the U.K. and will hopefully follow directly in the U.S. on BritBox. Season 1 is streaming there now.