Hard Cell

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Hard Cell
Created byCatherine Tate
Written by
Directed by
  • Catherine Tate
  • James Kayler
Music byAdem Ilhan
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
  • Kristian Smith
  • Catherine Tate
ProducerJennie Fava
CinematographyGreg Duffield
  • Lucien Clayton
Running time24–27 minutes
Production company
Original networkNetflix
Original release12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)

Hard Cell is a British mockumentary sitcom streaming television series developed by Catherine Tate, who also plays six of the main characters. The series premiered on 12 April 2022 on Netflix, and consists of six episodes.[1] The series was cancelled after one season.[citation needed]


The series follows UK prison governor Laura Willis (Catherine Tate) who firmly believes that creativity leads to rehabilitation and plans to put on a musical, starring inmates and directed by ex-EastEnders star Cheryl Fergison.[2] During the six-week rehearsals, the inmates find their voices, build self-confidence and strengthen their friendships.

Cast and characters[edit]




No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Episode 1"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
Governor Laura Willis announces an inmate-led production of West Side Story as newcomer Ange arrives at the prison.
2"Episode 2"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
A plumbing accident causes absolute anarchy in HMP Woldsley and threatens to disrupt the production of the musical.
3"Episode 3"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
While Ros is scamming her penpal boyfriend, the other inmates are reunited with their loved ones on visiting day.
4"Episode 4"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
Rehearsals continue with all-new material as Ros receives an unexpected visitor. Meanwhile, Laura recruits help to better communicate with an inmate.
5"Episode 5"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
After a whirlwind romance, two inmates find it hard to go their separate ways when one is being released from prison.
6"Episode 6"Catherine Tate & James KaylerCatherine Tate, Niky Wardley & Alex Carter12 April 2022 (2022-04-12)
When the long-awaited premiere of the musical is right around the corner, Laura is being sued and has to handle a medical emergency. Ange says goodbye to the inmates after all charges against her are dropped.


On 30 June 2021, it was announced that Catherine Tate would write, direct and star in a six-part Netflix comedy set in a fictional women's prison.[3][4] Executive producer Kristian Smith described the series as "funny and touching all at once, revealing what life might be like in a British women's correctional facility".[5] Donna Preston announced her involvement in the series the next day. On 30 July, Deadline shared the news that Tate's co-stars will include Christian Brassington as Dean, Niky Wardley as Anastasia, Lorna Brown as Cal, Caroline Harding as Sal, Jola Olajide as Charlee and Duncan Wisbey as Martin.[6] Wardley and Alex Carter (who previously starred in The Catherine Tate Show Australian and New Zealand live tour) were also confirmed to be parts of the creative team behind the series.[6]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 20% of 10 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 4.9/10.[7] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 38 out of 100, based on four critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8]

Gabriel Tate of The Telegraph criticised the series for being dated.[9] Rachel Aroesti of The Guardian criticised the series for a lack of plot and "an abundance of one-dimensional characters".[10] James Hibbs of Radio Times criticised the series for immature jokes, but noted it gets better over time.[11]

Nicole Vassell of The Independent noted that the series has fared better with general audiences,[12] as the audience Rotten Tomatoes score is 88% positive.[7] Many have especially praised the dramatic and shocking ending of the series.[13] Speaking about the open ending and the possibility of a second series, Catherine Tate said: "I'm quite a big fan of things ending with loose ends. I think that's sort of life, isn't it? Life doesn't tie itself up in a neat bow. And so I'd be delighted if it got another series, and I'm happy for it to stand alone".[14]


  1. ^ DeVore, Britta (25 March 2022). "'Hard Cell' Trailer Reveals Catherine Tate's Comedy Set in Prison". Collider. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Catherine Tate on how Hard Cell stands out from her other shows". Digital Spy. 12 April 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Catherine Tate to play multiple characters in new Netflix comedy series Hard Cell". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  4. ^ Kanter, Jake (30 June 2021). "'Hard Cell': 'Doctor Who' Star Catherine Tate Lands Netflix Prison Comedy Series". Deadline. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Netflix announces new Catherine Tate comedy series Hard Cell". About Netflix. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  6. ^ a b Kanter, Jake (30 July 2021). "'Hard Cell': Netflix Rounds Out Cast For Catherine Tate Prison Comedy Series". Deadline. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  7. ^ a b "Hard Cell: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  8. ^ "Hard Cell: Season 1". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  9. ^ Tate, Gabriel (8 April 2022). "Hard Cell, review: Catherine Tate's prison sitcom is better than The Nan Movie – but only just". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  10. ^ Aroesti, Rachel (12 April 2022). "Hard Cell review – Catherine Tate's first attempt at a sitcom is lacklustre". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  11. ^ Hibbs, James (8 April 2022). "Hard Cell review: Catherine Tate's prison comedy is too much, too late". Radio Times. Retrieved 28 June 2022.
  12. ^ "Catherine Tate's Hard Cell gets rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes". The Independent. 19 April 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  13. ^ "Hard Cell: viewers all saying the same thing about Catherine Tate show". HELLO!. 14 April 2022. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
  14. ^ "Will there be a Hard Cell season 2? Catherine Tate explains ending". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 January 2023.

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