Two stars of ‘Downton Abbey’ will join Sean Bean in new prison drama ‘Time’

A pair of actresses from Downton Abbey have been cast in a new one-off BBC drama.

Written by Cracker creator Jimmy McGovern, Time is described as “a visceral, emotional and high-stakes portrayal of life in a British prison.”

The feature-length TV movie stars Sean Bean (Sharpe) as a prisoner and Stephen Graham (Line of Duty) as a prison officer.

They’ll be joined by Siobhan Finneran and Sue Johnston, who Downton Abbey fans will recognise as Sarah O’Brien and Gladys Denker respectively.

The cast of Time also includes David Calder (The World Is Not Enough), Nadine Marshall (Small Axe), Michael Socha (This is England), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk), and Jack McMulllen (The Souvenir).

The official synopsis reads: “Mark Cobden (Sean Bean) is consumed by guilt after accidentally killing an innocent man. Accepting his four year sentence and separated from his family, he meets Eric McNally (Stephen Graham), a caring prison officer doing his best to protect those in his charge.

“However when one of the most dangerous inmates identifies his weakness, Eric faces an impossible choice; between his principles and his family.

“A story of guilt and forgiveness, punishment and penitence, both Eric and Mark are trapped by their pasts and unsure of their futures. Will they find the strength to move forward?”

Sean Bean commented: “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.”

Executive producer Tom Sherry added: “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?”

Time is filming in Liverpool, England right now and it’ll air on BBC One in the UK next year.

Sue Johnston didn’t return as Denker in last year’s Downton Abbey movie, but the producer is apparently keen for the character to appear in the sequel after she was cut from the script of the first film!

Sean Bean is expected to begin filming the second season of World on Fire next year.

The Downton Abbey movie is available on DVD on Amazon.