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Sean Bean and Stephen Graham in Time

I watched the whole of Jimmy McGovern’s three-hour prison drama Time “in a state of high anxiety”, says Anita Singh in the Telegraph. HMP Craigmore is not a holiday camp. One suspected “grass” has a kettle full of boiling water and sugar thrown in his face. Some inmates are scared. Some are “bullying psychopaths”. Thank God for Sean Bean and Stephen Graham, respectively playing a guilt-ridden inmate and a conflicted prison guard – “two actors at the very top of their game”.

My advice is “small doses”, says Carol Midgley in The Times. There are pockets of levity. Bean’s teacher, Mark Cobden, tells a prison guard he’s not religious. “I’ll put you down as Anglican then, yeah?” says the officer. Bean also deserves huge credit for making a killer drink-driver sympathetic. The hard-hitting drama is “like a punch to the face. In a good way.”

“Sean is basically your dad in prison, except your mum still wants to sleep with him,” says Ed Cumming in The Independent. I fear for his gentle soul. There’s Sean in the first-night holding cell, Sean crouching to have his bum checked, Sean having his lunch nicked, Sean dealing with his self-harming cellmate. It’s a tad slow, though. I’m sure it will be good for me to do the stretch, “but I find myself slightly longing to hop the fence”.

Time is on BBC1 and iPlayer. Watch the trailer here.

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Bo Burnham: Inside 

This is “the first comic masterpiece of the Covid era”, says Dominic Maxwell in The Times. American comedian Bo Burnham crams “a staggering number of good jokes”, show numbers and catchy send-ups into an 87-minute TV show. The anxious, irreverent “musical genius” filmed it during lockdown, with nothing but his keyboard and cameras for company. “Should I be joking at a time like this?” he sings. It’s an emphatic yes: five stars.

I hope we never see anything like it again, says Kevin Fallon in The Daily Beast. Not because it isn’t brilliant: it is. Burnham, who directed Eighth Grade and played Carey Mulligan’s love interest in Promising Young Woman, is “a bit of a wunderkind”. He gets the internet’s pitfalls and promises, delivering a claustrophobic paean to Jeff Bezos’s greed, “sexting and horniness”, and a lot more besides. It’s the distillation of a plague year, the “perfect punctuation on the grand quarantine TV experiment”. And now, please, no more.

Bo Burnham: Inside is on Netflix. Watch the trailer here.

Nightmare of Easttown

TV - Mare of Easttown

Mare of Easttown is a hit, but not for me, says Victoria Coren Mitchell in The Daily Telegraph. There’s sobbing and abuse “at every turn”. The marriages are all broken and at least four characters have dead children. Worst of all, they’ve somehow reduced Kate Winslet, “one of the most beautiful women this country has ever seen”, to a warty, lank-haired and dowdy detective. It’s as if she’s not using her superpower. Maybe her dazzling beauty seemed too much for “the relentless misery of this plot”. But “Christ, this is grim”.

Mare of Easttown is on Sky Atlantic and Now TV. Watch the trailer here.