In the new drama Screw, Nina Sosanya plays a prison officer.
Nina Sosanya has starred in some challenging roles in the past, but nothing could have prepared her for her role as a prison officer in Channel 4’s darkly comedic new prison drama.
She rose to fame after appearing in Love Actually, died in a car accident in Last Tango in Halifax, and put her life on the line as an MI6 agent in Killing Eve.
Nina Sosanya, on the other hand, says that few roles have had the same impact on her as her most recent one in Channel 4’s new prison drama, Screw.
Nina visited a real jail, met real female officers, and was even taught how to search inmates and conduct cell inspections before playing senior warder Leigh Henry, a woman in charge of a wing of high-risk offenders in a Category B male prison.
It was a “revelation,” according to Nina.
“I had no idea female prison officers worked in male prisons until I took on the job,” she admits.
She quickly realized that in the prison system, it’s not always the inmates who get trapped.
“What’s crazy about Leigh is that she’s clearly institutionalized, which can happen in an instant.”
There’s a sense of security in a place that is so tightly controlled, where you know exactly what will happen.
I believe she is at ease there.
“However, it gave me an idea of how frightening and claustrophobic being locked up and having to deal with that every day must be.”
I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I couldn’t get up and leave.
“Losing your liberty is a life-changing experience.
I craved those moments when I saw the sky after being in prison all day.”
The new “darkly funny” six-part drama, set in the fictional Long Marsh prison, was shot over the course of four months, ironically during lockdown.
Nina, 52, was deeply affected by the experience and contemplated the criminal justice system.
“Before the show, I had no attitude toward prison, and I believe that is the point of the show.”
People are sent to prison and then vanish, and we forget about them.
We don’t think about the people who must care for them until it makes the news.
“We put people in a building together, but their lives don’t end once they pass through the gates; they continue to live.”
“They’ve all done it,” says the narrator.
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