Time: Viewers heartbroken after episode two of 'tough watch' BBC drama

Sean Bean and Stephen Graham star

The second episode of BBC's gritty new series, Time, aired on Sunday evening and while many viewers had high praise for the drama, it seems audiences were in agreement it was a "tough watch".

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Episode two saw Mark Cobden's (Sean Bean) time in prison reach boiling point as the bullying from fellow inmate Johnno intensified. Mark faces an ongoing dilemma; deal with the bullying himself or inform staff, which could risk worsening the situation.

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WATCH: Time on BBC - official trailer

Elsewhere in the episode, Eric and Sonia McNally (played by Stephen Graham and Hannah Walters) had their own trauma to process after their son, Daniel, was attacked in prison.

The devastating scenes in the episode were labelled "heartbreaking" by viewers, who praised Time's portrayal of such circumstances that occur in real-life prisons.

One person summed it up on Twitter: "What a tough watch! Brilliant drama but heartbreaking to think that this must go on in prisons." Another echoed this, writing: "Blinking heck. Sean Bean and Stephen Graham were bloody marvellous in #BBC #Time - a really uncomfortable watch to be honest, but an important subject covered well by Jimmy McGovern."

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Sean Bean as Mark Cobden in BBC's Time

A third fan was also quick to compliment the writing and performances from the cast: "Just watched the last two episodes of #time. Just amazing, heartbreaking but also uplifting. I say this quite regularly but #JimmyMcGovern is the absolute boss." A fourth simply commented: "Brilliant from the script to the acting #Time was bloody phenomenal. Well played @BBC."

The cast themselves have spoken out about the reality of life in prisons. Stephen Graham, who plays prison officer Eric, revealed to the Telegraph how he shadowed a real-life officer in preparation for the role.

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"I absorbed this fella like a sponge. These prison guards, they're trying to do a job to the best of their ability," he told the publication.

"Their job is to protect themselves, protect the prisoners and make it a nice, reasonable, cohesive place where everyone can do their time, treated with respect."

He continued: "[But] Nine times out of 10, they're not qualified to deal with people like this... I think that unfortunately, there's a lot expected of them in those circumstances."

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