The Outlaws: Stephen Merchant appears in trailer
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The Outlaws is set to premiere on October 25 at 9pm on BBC One. Starring Stephen Merchant and Christopher Walken, the show follows a group of strangers as they are forced to work together for community payback in Bristol. Produced, written, and directed by Merchant, the comedian has brought his real-life experiences to the project.
The Outlaws is clearly a personal project for Merchant, bringing some of his younger years into the narrative.
One such example is his parents, whose work was the direct influence of the story.
The characters of The Outlaws are all brought together to community service, helping to clear up the streets of Bristol.
Speaking to the BBC about the series, Merchant revealed that this was the line of work his parents were involved in, helping those that had been sentenced to community work.
Merchant explained: “Growing up, my parents used to work for Bristol Community Service. My mother was always careful, she would say, ‘I can’t tell you about specific cases…’ as if it was sensitive information and I couldn’t be trusted.
“But here and there, not naming names, she would talk about some of the people that came through the doors. I was always intrigued because it was such a mix of people.
“You’d have the businessman who’d got caught drink-driving or some student who’d got in trouble for some minor thing.
“Or there was an old guy who was stealing cabbages from allotments just to get community service because he was lonely and he liked the social aspect of it.”
In the series, Merchant plays one of the community service members himself.
Starring as Greg, the character couldn’t be further from Merchant as a corporate lawyer and is sentenced for “indulging his loneliness in the wrong car park,” according to the series synopsis.
Merchant continued: “What was interesting to me was that it was a way of bringing completely disparate groups of people together.
“You could have a random cross-section of society and it was totally legit that they were all there doing community service.
“I was always interested in the idea of that. And finding ways of bringing people together is useful in a TV show.
“Also, I liked the idea of doing something which had a crime thriller aspect but that didn’t just involve policeman or private detectives.
“And so this is just an interesting way of going into that world from a slightly different angle.”
Merchant was born in Hanham, Bristol, using real locations of his home city for the series.
The bulk of the show was filmed on location, primarily around the city centre of Bristol.
Merchant wanted to ensure the city was as much of a character as the seven main characters themselves.
Joining Merchant and Walken is Eleanor Tomlinson as Gabby and Darren Boyd as John.
Rounding out the main cast is, Rhianne Barreto as Rani, Charles Baboloa as Malaki and Gamba Cole as Christian.
The Outlaws premieres October 25 at 9pm on BBC One.
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