Yorkshire's Sean Bean to join Stephen Graham in Jimmy McGovern BBC prison drama

Yorkshire-born actor Sean Bean has been cast in a new prison drama for BBC One.

Sheffield's Sean Bean, who will appear in Time for the BBC. Picture: Joel Ryan/PA Wire
Sheffield's Sean Bean, who will appear in Time for the BBC. Picture: Joel Ryan/PA Wire

The Game of Thrones star, from Sheffield, will appear alongside Stephen Graham (Line Of Duty, The Virtues) for Jimmy McGovern's three-part series Time, which begins filming in Liverpool this autumn.

Seen through the eyes of two very different men, Time is a" visceral and high-stakes portrayal" of life in the modern British penal system.

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Writer McGovern, who created the television series Cracker, said: “The BBC have given me a brilliant young director (Lewis Arnold) and two of the greatest actors on the planet. I am overjoyed.”

The BBC say it is "a story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence and the impact that prison has on all those who pass through it".

Sean Bean takes on the role of Mark Hebden, a teacher, husband and father who killed an innocent man in an accident.

Consumed by guilt, he accepts and even welcomes his four-year sentence but separated from his family, he has no idea what to expect in the unforgiving new environment and needs to learn quickly how to survive.

Stephen Graham is Eric Reid, a prison officer. Caring and honest, Eric tries his best to protect those in his charge, something which is a daily challenge in this understaffed and high-tension world.

When one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice between his principles and his love for his family, says the broadcaster.

Bean, who portrayed Ned Stark in the first series of Game of Thrones, said: “Getting to be involved in a Jimmy McGovern drama again is a real privilege and it will be great to be reunited with Stephen.

"Mark Hebden is another of Jimmy’s complex and superbly written characters and I am looking forward to bringing him to life on screen.”

Graham added: “It is an absolute honour to be working with Jimmy again, I’m feeling blessed.

"I’m excited to be working with Lewis as I have heard so many incredible things about him as a director, I can’t wait to get stuck in. Of course, I am made up to be back on set with Sean.”

The acting pair previously both featured in McGovern's series Accused in 2012.

Time has been commissioned by Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, chief content officer.

It will be directed by Lewis Arnold and executive produced by Tom Sherry and Michael Parke for BBC Studios and Lucy Richer for the BBC. It will be produced by Simon Maloney.

Mr Wenger said: “Jimmy has a unique style of creating thought-provoking dramas which tell raw and emotional stories, and Time is exactly that. With Sean and Stephen in lead roles, Jimmy and Lewis behind the camera, Time is a shining example of British drama talent at its best.”

Mr Sherry, who is also head of BBC Studios Drama North and Scotland, said: “It’s a joy to be working with Jimmy again. He writes unforgettable characters who live on in your mind long after you have seen them.

"Time will show you a world within a world and leave you questioning, what would you do?”