Time star Bella Ramsey clarifies pronouns as viewers praise ‘insane’ acting in BBC prison drama

Viewers praise Bella Ramsey as Kelsey in BBC series Time.

Non-binary actor Bella Ramsey has clarified their pronouns as they deliver an acting tour-de-force in season two of BBC prison drama Time.

The season’s first episode – starring Bella Ramsey as Kelsey, Doctor Who‘s Jodie Whittaker as Orla, and The Long Song‘s Tamara Lawrance as Abi – aired on Sunday (29 October) on BBC One. Created by Jimmy McGovern, the BAFTA award-winning series returned to screens with a “moving and high stakes” portrayal of life in a women’s prison.

“Arriving at Carlingford Prison on the same day, Orla, Abi and Kelsey are thrown together to face an unfamiliar world,” the official synopsis reads.

“But even with the ever-present threat of violence within its walls, they discover that an unexpected sense of community, and a shared understanding, still might be possible.”

The three-episode mini-series, which follows brand new characters, sees 20-year-old The Last of Us star Ramsey playing pregnant heroine addict Kelsey.

Ramsey continues to blaze a trail for trans, non-binary and genderqueer talent within the TV industry. In an Instagram story post on Friday (27 October) they clarified their pronouns, confirming that they “don’t mind” which pronouns people use for them and “never wanted it to be a big deal”.

While stating that ‘they/them’ “describe me most accurately” and feels the most “truthful”, the actor reiterated that it’s “impossible” for people to get it wrong.

“Comfort wise… I’m good with any,” they wrote. “I have no dysphoria surrounding pronouns. Call me she, call me they, call me he. Call me however you see me. You cannot go wrong! It’s impossible to misgender me.”

Meanwhile, Ramsey says Time‘s street-savvy yet vulnerable Kelsey “kind of terrified” them when they were first offered the role.

“I was kind of terrified taking this one on because other characters I’ve played [before], they very felt like they were inside of me, and Kelsey was a character that felt more external,” they told Esquire.

“She didn’t really live inside of me and that was terrifying to be given this opportunity. It wasn’t until I got to the set and action was called for the first time that I was like, ‘phew, it’s going to be okay.'”

It seems Ramsey had nothing to worry about. After the episode aired on Sunday, audiences flocked to social media to share their admiration for Ramsey’s award-worthy performance.

“For someone so young Bella Ramsey is an extraordinary actress,” one person wrote.

“Distressing but utterly outstanding drama. Excellent acting and Bella Ramsey is beyond talented,” another added.

Critics are also heaping on praise to the young actor. The Guardian’s Time review said: “Bella Ramsey is going to get a lot of the plaudits for their role as Kelsey – they really are having a year, and continue that form into this. Their pregnancy storyline is the glue that holds this whole thing together.”

“It is really Ramsey who steals the show,” The Independent echoed. “After starring turns as precocious kids in Game of Thrones and The Last of Us, their casting as a hard-bitten addict could easily have been a misstep.

“Instead, it is a confident performance that exploits that childlike vulnerability, and feels like the moment they break into the mainstream.”

Time airs every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One. The full series is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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