Review: Jimmy McGovern's hard-hitting BBC1 prison drama Time really packs a punch
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Sean Bean played Mark, sentenced to four years in HMP Craigmore for killing a cyclist in a traffic accident. The very first scene – in which a fight breaks out in a holding area as Mark waits to be processed into the prison – puts you on edge, dreading the next wrong look, or misplaced word.
Mark is us, an everyman, the ordinary, largely law-abiding person who, after a appalling error of judgement, finds himself in a totally alien environment.
Through his eyes we see everything McGovern wants us to see. The casual violence, the inefficiency of the system, the tension between punishment and rehabilitation, which only seems to happen by accident.
Meanwhile, Stephen Graham, as prison officer Eric McNally, faces his own demons, as his jailbird son is ‘offered protection’ by inmates who know exactly where he is incarcerated.
The first episode is pretty grim, but the next two – available on iPlayer – develop the story of these two men, their principles not just tested, but crushed by the system which doesn’t allow for a personal moral code.
“Horrible places, prisons,” says McNally, and you can feel McGovern’s fury at the wasted lives at every turn, and that hits you straight between the eyes.
The first series of spy-com Intelligence (Sky One, Tues, 10pm) was a bit hit-and-miss, but the gag rate has been upped in the first two shows of series two, and David Schwimmer is on top form.
Krept and Konan: We Are England (BBC1, Weds, 10.45pm) was an engaging, thought-provoking show as the rap duo worked on a new, more representative song for England’s Euro adventure.