Bella Ramsey and Jodie Whittaker reflect on their roles ahead of Time series two premiere
1 month ago
Time season two will premiere on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm.
Stars of BBC’s Time series two, Bella Ramsey and Jodie Whittaker, spoke about being a part of the new series of the hard-hitting prison drama.
Bella Ramsey ‘didn’t believe’ they could take on Time role until filming started, while Jodie Whittaker said that the ‘hard-hitting’ menstruation scene in series two was her ‘favourite scene’ that she has ever filmed.
Jodie Whittaker has said that it was “important” to show menstrual blood in an episode of upcoming prison drama Time, where she plays inmate Orla who does not have access to period products.
The Doctor Who star, 41, said this was her “favourite scene” that she has ever filmed and that it tells audiences what comes “for free in prison” and what is a “commodity”.
Speaking to Radio Times about the second series of Jimmy McGovern’s Bafta-winning BBC series, now set inside a women’s prison, Whittaker said: “There’s a scene where Orla starts her period but she doesn’t have any sanitary towels.
“It’s very hard-hitting. That’s my favourite scene I’ve ever shot.
“I said ‘Is this going to be suggested, or is it going to be shot exactly how it’s written?’
“And it was shot exactly how I felt it should be – unapologetically.
“Showing the blood was so important. It’s brilliant because it tells you what comes for free in prison, what doesn’t, and what’s a commodity.
“Dehumanisation is absolutely in the fabric of the system.”
The series begins with three inmates arriving at Carlingford Prison on the same day – working-class mother-of-two Orla, drug addict Kelsey played by The Last Of Us star Bella Ramsey and Abi portrayed by The Silent Twins’ Tamara Lawrance.
Whittaker’s character is in prison for fiddling her electricity meter and the actress explained that she did so to provide for her children.
Whittaker said: “I’m not saying she didn’t break the law, but the domino effect of the decision to send her to prison and the lives ruined because of that are explored brilliantly.
“She’s a lioness. This isn’t a mother who has put her children at risk. She has kept her children out of risk by providing a safe and healthy environment.
“Who benefits from sending Orla to jail? Not one person.
“You as a member of the community are not protected because Orla’s off the streets, she’s not that kind of criminal. The prisons are full and three children are without their mother.”
Whittaker, who played the 13th Doctor in long-running BBC series Doctor Who, has starred in other TV series including Broadchurch and The Assets.
The Last Of Us star Bella Ramsey has said taking on the role of a drug addict in their latest drama was something they didn’t believe they could do until the first day on set.
Ramsey, 20, who also appeared in Game Of Thrones, said the role of expectant mother and prison inmate Kelsey in the second series of Jimmy McGovern’s drama Time, was the first part they had not had to audition for.
Speaking at a question and answer session following a screening in Liverpool, the actor said it was a “scary” role to take on.
They said: “I’m incredibly naive when it comes to drug use and drug misuse. I knew nothing about the prison system.
“I got sent these scripts asking if I wanted to be a part of it, and that’s the first time I’ve not had to audition for something, which was scary – that you’re going to put that much trust in me when I obviously had no idea what I was doing.
“So I was like, obviously I want to be part of this, but then I was aware of how sensitive the subject matter was and I wanted to make sure I got it right.
“There was research and rehearsals and there was a big element of trust of myself and of everyone else on set that we’d all make sure that it was right.
“So yes, it was scary. And it wasn’t until the day that I got on set for the first time that I believed that I could do it.
“Even through the rehearsals, reading the script, I was like, this is lovely that you’re putting this trust in me but I don’t think…. I was like, this is going to be the one where they’re like ‘Ah, yeah we made a mistake’, but thankfully that didn’t happen.”
Ramsey said the most difficult part of the first episode to film was a scene which sees her attacked by other inmates.
“That was pretty intense,” they said.
“It was hard work as well, just because of the physicality of it, it gets exhausting very quickly.
“Even though you’re not actually going through that trauma, your body doesn’t know the difference between it being real and it not, because you’re still fighting with it at the time.
“The trust element is massive. There was no point I felt unsafe or vulnerable in any way that was negative.
“It was a difficult scene because of the subject matter, but the actual process surrounding it was incredibly kind and supportive.”
Ramsey, who was nominated for an Emmy for their role as Ellie in The Last Of Us, said they felt “so much empathy” for the character.
They said: “I don’t think you can play a character like Kelsey unless you have empathy for them.
“The whole thing was finding her humanity and her vulnerability.
“She’s just a person who’s had a bad start in life and is lost, and just needs some guidance and support, and ends up finding a path through the prison system.”
The second series of Time is set in a women’s prison and stars Jodie Whittaker and Tamara Lawrance alongside Ramsey.
The first series of Time, set in a men’s prison and starring Sean Bean, aired in 2021 and was a hit for the BBC, winning the mini-series award last year at the Bafta TV Awards.
Actor Stephen Graham, who played Eric McNally in series one, accepted the award with others who had worked on the show.