BBC’s latest crime drama The Outlaws comes with a surprising twist

Boasting an all-star cast, new BBC series The Outlaws promises to be utterly unlike any crime drama you’ve seen before. 

We here at Stylist love a meaty crime thriller as much as the next person. However, there’s no denying that this grittiest of TV genres can get a little… well, a little too dark at times.

Thankfully, Stephen Merchant and Elgin James have joined forces to bring us a suitably twisted new crime drama – albeit one with (surprise!) added humour and heart.

“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,” promises Merchant.

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You may know the series by it’s previous working title, The Offenders, but now that this hilarious show has wrapped filming and is heading to our screens very soon, here are all the confirmed details you need to know about The Outlaws.

What’s the plot of The Outlaws?

The Outlaws follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol.

“At first, they seem like archetypes we can easily pigeonhole,” explains the show’s official synopsis, “but gradually we see behind their façades, understand their hidden depths and what made them the people they are today.

“We are reminded that no one is all good or all bad. Everyone has a story.”

Naturally, it’s not long before their unlikely new friendships begin to intersect with their complicated private lives. And the drama really ramps up when the septet is forced to unite to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous criminal gang.


Watch the raucous trailer below:

Who stars in The Outlaws?

As the trailer proves, it’s an all-star cast in this BBC drama, with Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Walken taking on his first lead British television role.

He’s joined by Honour’s Rhianne Barreto, Hanna star Gamba Cole, Killing Eve’s Darren Boyd, Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson, Clare Perkins of EastEnders fame and Danish actor Claes Bang as a terrifying London crime boss.

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As if that weren’t enough star power for you, though, the series also boasts the talents of Charles Babalola, Richard E Grant, Julia Davis and, of course, Merchant himself.

What are people saying about The Outlaws?

Merchant, who also directs the series, says: “The Outlaws’ mix of light and shade, dark and comic, middle-class angst with inner-city grit, reflects the unlikely partnership of me and [co-creator] Elgin James. I grew up in suburbia, whereas Elgin spent his early life building a national street gang until a police investigation landed him in prison.

“Despite coming from different sides of the tracks, Elgin and I share a love of convincing characters and authentic, engaging, human stories.”

Kate Daughton, head of BBC Comedy, adds: “The BBC One audience is in for an absolute treat with Stephen Merchant’s gripping world, rich with heart, humour and stand out characters.

“Among the deftly woven plots, high jinks, unlikely friendships and big belly laughs are very human stories about loyalty, truth and family.”

And Brad Beale, who is vice president of Worldwide Content Licensing for Amazon Prime Video (this is, after all, a joint project between the Beeb and Amazon Studios), says: “We’re so excited to work with Stephen on a series with his signature razor-sharp wit and distinctive, delightful characters.

“Stephen is such a gifted actor and creator, and we know our Prime Video customers will love The Outlaws.”

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When will The Outlaws be available to watch in the UK?

Filming wrapped in Bristol earlier this year, so this compelling dramedy will actually be on our screens very soon. The show premieres on 25 October at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The series will also be released to international audiences via Amazon Prime Video.

And it gets better. When filming of the first season was halted after just 12 days, the BBC asked Merchant to write a second series, Deadline reports. The two series then began filming back to back when production resumed, which means more excitement in store for us.

Images: BBC/Amazon Studios/James Pardon Photos

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