Is the prison from Screw on Channel 4 real? Inside Long Marsh

Screw: First look at new Channel 4 prison drama

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Screw will continue to air across six episodes on Channel 4 and the TV series stars Nina Sosanya as prison officer, Leigh Henry. She works in the C Wing at Long Marsh prison, and there isn’t anything she has not witnessed. Fans are keen to know whether the series was filmed inside a real prison.

Is the prison from Screw on Channel 4 real?

Both the prison officers and inmates face danger on a daily basis inside Long Marsh prison.

Leigh heads up the group of officers and she devotes her life to the prison and those serving time.

The leader recruits 21-year-old trainee officer Rose Gill (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and it causes a stir.

Rob Williams created the series and he said it was a rarity to see a prison drama told through the eyes of the officers.

The cast and crew spoke to real-life officers, and the Prison Officers Association, to gain insight.

Long Marsh is not a real prison, it is in fact a life-size replica of a prison wing.

Actress Sosanya said: “You’d be forgiven for thinking that the series is going to look claustrophobic or samey.

“But it’s exactly the opposite because these three levels allow the camera to sweep from one place to another.

“Rob would write these huge scenes and we’d be going, why is this not five or six scenes?

“But you can go from level one to level three, into a cell and out to the office, all in one. It makes it really dynamic.”

The series was filmed in Glasgow, at the Kelvin Hall studios, and it was produced by STV.

The cast did, however, visit a real prison called Peterhead, with Sosanya adding: “It was quite a notorious prison that was eventually closed down in 2013 and is now a museum.

“Exterior shots were filmed there and we were allowed to have a look inside and it was a shock seeing the small sizes of the cells, the narrow doors and the low ceilings.”

Ron Donachie plays Don Carpenter, the oldest prison officer, and he said the set played a crucial role in getting into character.

He said: “Walking on the set of Screw was like walking into an old-fashioned Victorian nick.

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“The atmosphere it creates is just fabulous. It makes a huge contribution if it can have confidence in the thing.

“It’s not one of those shows where, if you bang the wall, the wall shakes.

“You can slam the doors, you can run up and down the stairs, you can treat it as you would a real building.”

Kelvin Hall houses an £11.9m TV studio, with the aim of bringing more shows to Scotland.

The historic building used to be a museum, as well as one of the largest exhibition centres in Britain.

Writer Williams said the set started to impact the way the cast related to their characters.

He said: “Everyone has been raving about the set. It’s incredible.

“Midway through the shoot, we did some exterior shots in a different part of Scotland and I’m so glad we did because people were feeling very, very oppressed by that set.

“Even though Kelvin Hall, where we built the set, is a huge space, you could tell people were feeling as though the walls were closing in a bit, so people were very pleased to be stepping outside.”

Screw airs on Channel 4 from January 6 at 9pm.

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