Screw comes to a suitably dramatic conclusion

Thursday: Screw (Channel 4, 9pm)
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

For many actors, part of the appeal of their chosen career is that it’s more varied than the usual nine-to-five.

However, according to Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, going back to film the second series of the prison drama Screw, which comes to an end tonight, did feel a bit like having a normal job – although fortunately, that helped her to get into character as prison officer Rose.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Derry Girls star says: “It’s weird in that you love going back to it, but it doesn’t take long to get cabin fever again. It feels like it’s the closest thing to like a regular job that we’ve had: we’re literally in the same uniform every morning and have breakfast at the same time, so it all feeds into our performances as well.

Jackie Stokes, Prisoner Patrick Morgan and Ali ShahJackie Stokes, Prisoner Patrick Morgan and Ali Shah
Jackie Stokes, Prisoner Patrick Morgan and Ali Shah

“They’ve added more brilliant detail to the set this time to make it even more authentic and lived in.”

Luckily although the set may be realistic, the actors didn’t feel like they were behind bars, especially as they could mix more than did when making the first series.

Jamie says: “We had a lot more time and freedom to go for dinners and socialise, which was lovely because there were fewer restrictions after Covid.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Her co-star Nina Sosanya, who plays senior officer Leigh Henry, agrees that the fictional C Wing of Long Marsh Prison is a surprisingly friendly place to work.

She says that for her, one of the highlights of this series was “getting back with that cast and crew because they were phenomenally cool people. Everybody is very in tune with their characters and where each of them sits on the moral spectrum, so you can act between the lines because we know each other and each other’s characters.”

She adds: “It has stopped being a depressing place full of fear, because it’s also full of all the other stories, laughter and warmth.”

However, if that sounds a little too cosy for a prison drama, rest assured that there’s still plenty of tension on screen, and the show has been praised for its authenticity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nina says: “I read an article from a former offender who was saying, rather wonderfully, that it was the most realistic portrayal of prison he’d ever seen on TV or film. Reading that, you just go: I think we did our job. It’s good to know that we’re hitting the right notes.”

Tonight, the series comes to a suitably dramatic conclusion as the future of C Wing hangs in the balance.

The prisons minister is due to visit, which would be stressful for staff at the best of times, but this is possibly the very worst of times – the prison now a powder keg after the discovery of the undercover police officer. Leigh is trying to keep a lid on the situation, but it finally explodes when a deadly hostage situation develops.

Can Leigh and Rose manage to save themselves, and also ensure that the wing stays open? Let’s hope so as many viewers are crossing their fingers that the cast will be back for a third stretch.