Channel 4 is set to air their much-anticipated prison drama, Screw, on Thursday night. Starring Derry Girls actress Jamie-Lee O'Donnell and Last Tango in Halifax's Nina Sosanya as prison guards in a men's prison, the show is set to be both funny and dramatic. But is it based on a true story?
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The answer is yes and no. While the plot and the characters are fictionalised, the series creator Rob Williams previously worked in a prison as an art teacher, and chatted to Channel 4 about the experience. Saying he was "blown away by the environment", he continued: "It challenged all my preconceptions. Then after a few years in publishing, I started writing and doing some voluntary work, which I’ve done ever since.
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"I've had the privilege of spending time on the wings, talking to prisoners and officers. While there's not a single story or character that is a direct translation in Screw, there is a desire to represent that world as I see it: there is laughter, there is humour, there is humanity, there is friendship, there is real life. It's not just violence and drudgery and darkness."
Nina plays Leigh in the new show
In a statement, he added: "There is so much more to prison and those who live and work there, than misery and violence. I’m incredibly proud to be working with STV and Channel 4 to show this in Screw, alongside the authenticity inspired by my experiences as a civilian worker in various prisons."
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So what can you expect from the new series? The official synopsis reads: "Welcome to C Wing in a busy men’s prison, a place that’s bursting at the seams with humour, emotional high stakes and danger for prisoners and officers alike.
Will you be tuning in?
"At the head of a group of embattled prison officers is Leigh, a woman who has devoted her entire adult life to this prison and its population. Leigh keeps her inmates in line and has their backs when they need it. Into the pressure cooker of Long Marsh Prison enters Rose, a 21-year-old trainee officer. It’s a baptism of fire even for this street-smart young woman. She joins fellow screws Ali, Gary, Don, and Jackie."
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