Time (S2/2023) Series: Sad & Tragic Prison Drama

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Time (S2-2023) Series Featured Image

Time show narrates a sad and tragic prison drama for the second season. Once again, the poignant human tales of prison inmates tug at your heartstrings and make you think deeply.

We could not look away, we got too engrossed in the stories of these realistic characters. The grim time and the unfortunate circumstances have led some of them to be jailed.

Synopsis of the Time (BBC) Series

This show is a visceral, emotional and high-stakes portrayal of life in a British prison.

Guilt, violence and impossible choices – what does it take to survive? Tense, gritty and heartbreaking – Jimmy McGovern’s award-winning prison drama, with an all-star cast.

Spoiler Free Brief Review of the Time (BBC) Series

A brief note about season one (1) of the Time (2023) series

The BAFTA award-winning first season of the Time (2021) series explored life inside the United Kingdom’s male prison system. Both the lead actors – Sean Bean (prison inmate Mark Cobden) and Stephen Graham (prison officer Eric McNally) were exceptional in that human tale. Lots of moral and ethical questions were raised in that prison drama show.

Bonus info.: TIME series bagged BAFTA for best actor (Sean Bean) and best miniseries. 

Thus, the sharp and intelligent writing in its first season explored the big humanistic ideas like – justice, family, compassion, redemption, moral compass, etc.

Bonus info.:- Filmed in Shrewsbury Prison, Shropshire, UK, you can visit it and even stay overnight if you wish. The prison's last convicts left in February 2013, it is now an interactive and immersive historical site.

We loved this British show. Why? Well, the script was good and the acting was great too. In addition, we learned about the different and flawed sides of the UK’s political institutions.

But, what about season two (2) of the Time (2023) series

Well, its series creator and writer Jimmy McGovern has flipped the switch.

This time, along with another writer Helen Black, its original writer (& creator) Jimmy McGovern has gone to the other side. They have set the Time show inside a female prison.

However, once again, its touching story delves into the world of so-called female criminal behaviour. So, as per its writers, the second season presents a moving and high-stakes portrayal of life inside a women’s prison. Most of these women prison inmates are battling emotionally draining battles. With guilt, violence, backstabbing, and other impossible life choices dominating its tale. So, what does it take for these women to survive?

Time (S2-2023) Series Poster
Abi (Tamara Lawrance), Orla (Jodie Whittaker), & Kelsey (Bella Ramsey) – {L-R} in Time (S2-2023) Series Poster

For a change, Time Series 2 focuses its attention on three mothers – Abi, Orla and Kelsy. They are cellmates. And each of them has heartbreaking life stories to share with us.

All three actresses have given tear-inducing performances

One of the things, you might notice is that, unlike the male prison tales of season one (2021), many of the female prisoners have committed a minor crime, like Orla. Yet, the male-dominated justice and prison systems have dealt a deadly knock-out blow in their family lives. Even the crimes committed by Kelsey seemed to be a sad mistake.

Not so long ago, we last saw Bella Ramsey in The Last Of Us (2023) Series, and since then, she has exponentially grown as an actor. We loved Bella’s portrayal of a drug-addicted teenage mother Kelsey. In this three-episode series, she has amazingly depicted the growth of her character Kelsey.

Then, there is the brilliant Jodie Whittaker. She plays Orla, a young mother with kids; who is struggling financially. So, she commits a minor offence, lands in jail and tragedy strikes.

When I came in here, I had a house, a job and a family – now I’ve got nothing.

Orla (Jodie Whittaker) in Time show

Also, actress Tamara Lawrance has given a haunting performance as Abi. A guilt-driven mother Abi is hated and shunned by the other prison inmates. Most of them believe that Abi has committed an unspeakable crime to end up in jail and serving a life sentence. One could see the pain and shame in Tamara’s eyes, as she masterfully plays Abi.

Lastly, other supporting ensemble casts have done well too. Including the great actress Siobhan Finneran (Marie-Louise O’Dell), who we have seen in Happy Valley show, this year.

The conclusion

The writers and directors of this insightful prison drama have done a good job again with the Time TV show. Some people might find its stories to be grim and shocking. However, the pain and suffering of the people inside the prison seemed realistic. In a way, one could hope that this series might act as an eye-opener for shedding light on the broken systems. This thought-provoking show not only entertains but also compels us to think about the justice and prison systems in the UK. With only three episodes, we loved this contemporary social commentary series from the United Kingdom.

Ratings of this BBC Prison Drama (S2 & S1) Series from the UK

Season 2 (2023) TwoSeason 1 (2023) One
FM’s ratings4.20/54.25/5
FM Rating of Time (S1/2021 & S2/2023) Series

Spoilers Alerts – a peek into the 6 episodes of this BBC Prison Drama

Peek into the Three (3) Episodes of the Second Season (2023) of the show

Enter Carlingford Prison with Orla (Jodie Whittaker), Abi (Tamara Lawrance) and Kelsey (Bella Ramsey) – and find out what it takes to survive. Told through the lens of three very different inmates, Time is a moving and high-stakes portrayal of life inside a women’s prison.

Episode One (1) of Season Two (2)

Orla, Abi and Kelsey land in HMP Carlingford on the same day. Who can they trust?

Three women are pulled into each other’s orbit when they arrive at Carlingford prison on the same day. Whilst struggling single mother Orla fights to keep her children out of care and desperately tries to wrest her life back on track. Young heroin addict Kelsey is presented with a life-defining decision.

Meanwhile, tough lifer Abi is haunted by a sinister secret that attracts unwanted attention from fellow inmates, putting her safety at risk.

A warm welcome to Carlingford Prison... the three women inmates | Time show - YouTube video link

Episode Two (2) of Season Two (2)

Tensions rise when Orla faces a setback and Abi reaches breaking point. After six months on the outside, Orla finds herself back in Carlingford. Desperate to maintain contact with her kids, she’s willing to risk extreme action. Meanwhile, Abi contemplates revenge, close to breaking point, whilst Marie-Louise encourages her to open up about her past.

Reluctant to trust the other inmates, Abi steps up to help when crisis strikes. And Kelsey sets her sights on transferring to the mother and baby unit, making plans for her future in the face of uncertainty, as her due date draws closer.

A masterclass in acting from Bella Ramsey (Kelsey) | Time show - YouTube video link

Episode Three (3) of Season Two (2)

Faced with intense pressure, Orla, Abi and Kelsey are determined to find a way forward. Abi and Kelsey bond after the birth of Kelsey’s baby. Orla faces the consequences of her actions and suffers a personal loss whilst still struggling to reconcile with Kyle. And intense pressure builds in the prison.

Meanwhile, with the support of Kelsey and Marie-Louise, Abi finally starts reckoning with her unresolved grief and risks the judgement of fellow inmates. After a rash decision, Kelsey’s new-found plans are derailed. Can she find the conviction to break away from the influences of her past and find a new way forward?

Peek into the Three (3) Episodes of the First Season (2021) of the show

Mark Cobden (Sean Bean) and Eric McNally (Stephen Graham) star as two men on the edge in this emotional and thrilling portrayal of life in a British prison.

Mark Cobden is consumed by guilt after accidentally killing an innocent man. Accepting his four-year sentence and being separated from his family, he meets Eric McNally, a caring prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge. When one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible and tormenting choice between his principles and his love for his family.

A story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence, where Eric and Mark both are trapped by the past and unsure of the future.

Episode One (1) of the Season One (1)

Mark Cobden is sent to HMP Craigmore and must learn quickly how to survive in prison. When an inmate identifies prison officer Eric McNally’s weakness, he faces an impossible choice. 

The opening scene of Time had us hooked from the off | Time show - YouTube video link

Episode Two (2) of the Season One (1)

Mark is bullied by another prisoner Johnno and gets a new cellmate. He doesn’t know whether he should tell the prison officers. He runs the risk of being labelled a “grass” and having the attacks become more and more violent. Meanwhile, Eric’s son is attacked. 

Bonus Info.:- Real-life wife Hannah Walters plays Stephen Graham's on-screen spouse in this show.

Episode Three (3) of the Season One (1)

Mark suffers a tragic personal loss and is given the chance to leave prison for a day. Meanwhile, Eric is forced to take greater risks to protect his family, but where will he draw the line? 

Poster of this BBC Prison Drama S1 Series from the UK

Poster – Time (S1/2021) Series – BBC

Key details of this BBC Prison Drama Series from the UK

GenreDrama, Crime
Original languageEnglish (UK)
Age-restrictions15+ (UK)
Total SeasonsTwo seasons
Total EpisodesTotal six (6) episodes with three (3) episodes in each of its season
Released (First Season)June, 2021
Writer (First Season)Jimmy McGovern
Director (First Season)Lewis Arnold
Cast (First Season)Sean Bean (Mark Cobden), Stephen Graham (Eric McNally), Sue Johnston (June Cobden), Hannah Walters (Sonia McNally), Siobhan Finneran (Marie-Louise O’Dell), James Nelson-Joyce (Johnno), Dean Fagan (Stevie), Jack McMullen (Daniel), etc.
Released (Second Season)October, 2023
Writers (Second Season)Jimmy McGovern & Helen Black
Director (First Season)Andrea Harkin
Cast (Second Season)Jodie Whittaker (Orla O’Riordan), Tamara Lawrance (Abi Cochrane), Bella Ramsey (Kelsey Morgan), Siobhan Finneran (Marie-Louise O’Dell), Nicholas Nunn (Adam Muller),
About – Time (S1/2021 & S2/2023) Series

Trailers of this BBC Prison Drama Series from the UK

Season 2 (2023) Two
Trailer – Time (S2/2023) Series – BBC | YouTube
Season 1 (2021) One
Trailer – Time (S1/2021) Series – BBC | YouTube

Awards won by this BBC Prison Drama Series from the UK

Award NamesAward CategoryAwarded
BAFTA Awards2022 Winner BAFTA TV Award Leading ActorSean Bean
BAFTA Awards2022 Winner BAFTA TV Award Mini-Series Time
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards2022 Winner Broadcasting Press Guild Award Best Actor Stephen Graham
Royal Television Society, UK2021 Winner RTS North West Television Award Best Performance in a Drama Sean Bean
Awards – Time (2021 & 2023) Series.

Featured Image and Posters of the Time (2021 & 2023) Series | Pics. Credit: BBC.

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