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Christopher Walken to Star on Amazon, BBC Series ‘The Offenders’ From Stephen Merchant

Show follows seven strangers forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol
Jennifer Maas

Christopher Walken is set to star on “The Offenders,” an Amazon Prime Video and BBC series from Stephen Merchant and “Mayans M.C.” co-creator Elgin James.

The six-part show follows seven strangers who are forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol, with Walken starring alongside Merchant, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins and Eleanor Tomlinson, according to Deadline, which first reported the news of Walken’s casting in “The Offenders.”

The drama, which first began filming in the spring but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, centers on the group who becomes involved with a dangerous criminal gang.

Per the show’s description, “At first, the Offenders seem like archetypes easy to pigeonhole, 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.”

Academy-Award winner Walken has been cast in the leading role of Frank, “an inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family.”

“The Offenders” is an Amazon-BBC co-production that hails from Big Talk, part of ITV Studios, and Merchant’s Four Eyes production banner.

Representatives for Amazon and Walken did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

 

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Stephen Merchant’s BBC/Amazon Series ‘The Offenders’ Renewed For Second Season
By Jake Kanter

EXCLUSIVE: BBC One and Amazon’s Stephen Merchant series The Offenders has been renewed for a second season before the first has even been shot, executive producer Kenton Allen has revealed.

In an interview with Deadline, the Big Talk Productions CEO said that the two seasons are being filmed back-to-back in Bristol, southwest England, in an unexpected fillip for the comedy-drama after it was shut down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Allen said filming on the six-part series, which will star Christopher Walken, was halted after just 12 days last March, at which point the BBC asked if Merchant would consider writing a second season.

This quickly snowballed into a green light for Season 2 after all parties agreed that it would make sense to shoot both seasons at the same time. Production got back underway in Bristol late last year and the shoot will run to October 2021 as Big Talk and Merchant’s Four Eyes capture 12 hours of drama.

Allen said the renewal will help improve the quality of both seasons, with Merchant’s writing benefiting from some of the show already being shot. He has also been able to hone Season 1 storylines knowing what will happen to characters in Season 2.

With an eye on safety, Big Talk has used the two-season commission to build sets so that location shooting is reduced. Meanwhile, Walken will wait until March to film his scenes. “We’ve constructed the schedule in such a way that he’s not coming here during peak corona. He’s coming when we hope it will be safer and there will be a vaccine,” Allen said.

Created by Merchant (who also stars and directs) and Elgin James, the series follows seven strangers, The Offenders, from different walks of life forced together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol.

Walken plays Frank, an inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family. Merchant plays Greg, a lonely lawyer coping with divorce, work-place bullying and scary men with knives.

Other cast includes Rhianne Barreto (Honour), Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle), Darren Boyd (Killing Eve), Clare Perkins (EastEnders), and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark). Bend It Like Beckham’s Nina Wadia and Dracula’s Dolly Wells also feature.

The Offenders will premiere later this year on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK and on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. BBC Studios is handling global distribution and brokered the deal with Amazon Studios.

 
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