The Outlaws: Everything to know about Stephen Merchant’s new BBC show

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  • BBC audiences are keen to know when the new Stephen Merchant show The Outlaws is set to hit our screens.

    He’s known for being one of Britain’s best comedy writers alongside long-time collaborator Ricky Gervais. Having had us in hysterics with hit shows like Extras and The Office. And now Stephen Merchant is back with a TV offering that is sure to have viewers entertained during the coming cold months.

    Unlike Channel 4’s new crime show Murder Island, the programme has been sold as a comedy thriller with plenty of laughs promised in between the action. It’s just one of many new BBC dramas gripping audiences this autumn, following the success of Vigil, filmed in the UK, and the hotly anticipated new series Ridley Road.

    When is The Outlaws by Stephen Merchant on TV?

    Stephen Merchant’s new BBC show The Outlaws will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in autumn 2021.

    No specific release date has been shared yet, but it is thought the series will be on TV soon as the world premiere took place in Bristol on October 4, 2021.

    The BBC announced the drama – originally called The Offenders – back in 2020. But the coronavirus pandemic led to a halt in filming and subsequent delay in production.

    Whilst the series will air via the BBC in the UK, audiences in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will be able to catch it on Amazon Prime.

    If you can’t wait for The Outlaws to start, why not check out some of the other incredible TV picks for this month? Complaints Welcome on Channel 4 starts in early October, starring Munya Chawawa, Jessica Knappett and Tom Allen, while Squid Game is still available to watch on Netflix.

    What is The Outlaws by Stephen Merchant about?

    The Outlaws, written by Stephen Merchant, has been described as a six-part comedy crime thriller.

    The action takes place in Bristol, following a group of seven strangers who have been forced together to complete their Community Service sentences.

    This diverse mix of misfits form unlikely friendships with one another. And when one member gets into trouble with a dangerous Bristol gang, it’s up to the group to come together and protect them from trouble.

    The story is one that holds many personal connections for Stephen Merchant, who himself grew up in Bristol.

    He also drew from his own parent’s experience of working within the community service sector for the piece.

    “I was always intrigued that the many and varied people they dealt with only had one thing in common: they’d committed a crime,” he said.

    “As a writer I always include humour, but with The Outlaws I also get to add drama, pathos, crime genre thrills and say something optimistic about the common humanity that unites us all, whatever our background.”

    The Outlaws: trailer

    Sadly no official trailer for The Outlaws has been released as yet.

    However the BBC have teased audiences with some exclusive first look photos of the cast and action.

    The photos were taken on set in Bristol where the show was filmed.

    The Outlaws: cast

    The seven central offenders are made up of an all-star cast:

    • Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction, Deer Hunter), plays Frank.
    • Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras, An Idiot Abroad) plays Greg.
    • Darren Boyd (Killing Eve, Spy) plays John.
    • Clare Perkins (EastEnders) plays Myrna.
    • Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging) plays Gabby.
    • Rhianne Barreto (Honour) plays Rani.
    • Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle) plays Christian.

    There’s also a few other famous faces who make appearances throughout the series including Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I, Can You Ever Forgive Me?) who plays Gabby’s father. Plus comedy actress Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Gavin and Stacey).

    The cast of new BBC show The Outlaws.

    The cast of new BBC show The Outlaws. (Credit: Big Talk/Four Eyes – Photographer: James Pardon)

    Getting Hollywood legend Christopher Walken in particular to join the cast was a huge feat for the series.

    Stephen Merchant revealed that Walken agreed to the project over an omelette at Walken’s home in Connecticut.

    “I flew all the way to Connecticut and I sat with him and he had a lot of questions, and I was sat with him for about four hours and he made me an omelette,” he recalled to PA media.

    “It was very nice and we talked about the show, and he said to me ‘what’s Bristol like?’ and I said it was a bit like San Francisco. Because it’s exactly the same, with the bridge and the hilly-ness and everything. And he said ‘yes, I’m up for it’. And so he came over.”

    The Outlaws will mark the 78-year-old’s first British television lead role.

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