Photo credit: BBC

Time is a series that it’s creator, Jimmy McGovern, has been mulling over since the ‘80s. What happens in prison once the criminals are locked away? What led them to make the decisions they did? And how does the system warp people once they’re institutionalised?

Like the 50-year war on drugs, Time makes the case that the British penal system is also failing, and the prison drama uses two of the UK’s best actors – Stephen Graham and Sean Bean – to tell two emotive sides of the story.

We start off being dropped into a very specific type of hell: in a prison van about to deliver some incredibly violent prisoners to jail. There’s the unshaven, grey face and the white knuckles of a man who’s clearly out of his depth here. The man is Mark Cobden (Bean) – teacher, and as we soon find out, a convicted drunk driver who is haunted by the man he accidentally killed.

Mark soon comes face to face with prison warden Eric McNally, played by…

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