Sean Bean forced to take break from filming BBC drama Time due to Covid scare

Sean Bean was forced to take a 10-day break from filming the BBC’s new prison drama Time, due to a coronavirus scare, the director has said.

Bean plays the newly imprisoned Mark Cobden in the series, written by Jimmy McGovern, while Stephen Graham appears as Eric McNally, a principled jail officer.

Lewis Arnold, who directed the three episodes, said the production had to carry on without many of its stars, including Bean, following a health scare.

Sean Bean in Time
Sean Bean stars in BBC prison drama Time (James Stack/BBC/PA)

He said: “We were filming in Liverpool during the height of the pandemic, we had to change the plan every day.

“We lost Sean Bean for 10 days and all of our main core cast because we had an incident with Covid.”

Arnold said the cast was “all fine”.

Arnold also discussed the difficulties of filming during a pandemic, with production taking place in Liverpool and at a prison in Shrewsbury.

He said: “Everything changed on a day-to-day basis.

“And the cast and the crew were so accommodating and understanding, and the work never really suffered, they found ways.

Stephen Graham in Time
Stephen Graham stars as a kindly prison officer in Time (James Stack/BBC/PA)

“And I think our producing team really struggled and still managed to hopefully create a drama where I hope you don’t feel it’s been filmed during the pandemic, with social distancing in place and all those kinds of things.”

Time also features actors Siobhan Finneran, Sue Johnston, David Calder, Nadine Marshall and Hannah Walters, who is Graham’s wife.

Graham, an established Hollywood star, praised the show’s “ensembleness”.

He said: “The amount of talent I feel, personally, that was on display in this piece, I know you’re following the story of these two men predominantly but the cast around is phenomenal.”

Time will air weekly on BBC One from Sunday June 6 at 9pm, with the full series available as a boxset on BBC iPlayer once episode one has aired.