‘The Offenders’: BBC Releases “First Look” Image & Additional Casting For Stephen Merchant Series

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12 May 21

‘The Offenders’: BBC Releases “First Look” Image & Additional Casting For Stephen Merchant Series

BBC has released a “first look” image for upcoming series The Offenders (working title) from writer/director Stephen Merchant (‘The Office’), BBC and Amazon Studios.

‘The Offenders’ 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, 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.

As their unlikely new friendships intersect with their complicated private lives, ‘The Offenders’ must unite to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous criminal gang. The show is part crime thriller, and part character study – with humour and heart.

The titular “Offenders” include the legendary Christopher Walken who is set to play Frank, an inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family, whilst Merchant plays Greg, a lonely lawyer coping with divorce, workplace bullying and scary men with knives. Joining them are Eleanor Tomlinson (‘Poldark’, ‘The War of the Worlds’) as Gabby, an aristocratic celebutante whose glamour and life of leisure masks deep-rooted problems; Rhianne Barreto (‘Honour’, ‘Hanna’) as Rani, a gifted but rebellious math student who has been hot-housed from a young age by her loving but controlling parents; Gamba Cole (‘Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle’, ‘Hanna’) as Christian, a young man struggling to raise his kid sister while staying one step ahead of the Brook Hill Crew, a notorious Bristol crime gang; Darren Boyd (‘Killing Eve’, ‘Lucky Man’) as John, a businessman and law-abiding pillar of the community furious at being labelled a criminal; And Clare Perkins (‘EastEnders’) as Myrna, an ageing activist and campaigner who has lost none of her youthful radicalism.

Additional cast includes Jessica Gunning (‘Back’, ‘Pride’) as Diana, the Offenders’ Community Service Supervisor, who supervises with what she deludedly believes is an iron first; Dolly Wells (‘Dracula’, ‘Doll & Em’) as Frank’s daughter, Margaret; Ian McElhinney (‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Derry Girls’) as John’s father, John Snr; Nina Wadia (‘Goodness Gracious Me’, ‘Bend it like Beckham’) as Rani’s mother, Shanthi; Aiyana Goodfellow (‘Small Axe’) as Esme; And Charles Babalola (‘Bancroft’, ‘Silent Witness’) as Malaki.

Announced today as joining all those brilliant people are Richard E. Grant (‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’) as The Earl, a member of the landed gentry and Gabby’s father, and Julia Davis (‘Sally4Ever’) plays Rita, head of human resources at Greg’s company.

The series is a co-production between the BBC and Amazon Studios, and is produced by Big Talk with Stephen Merchant’s Four Eyes. Big Talk is part of ITV Studios. Global distribution is handled by BBC Studios

The Offenders‘ is currently filming in Bristol, and will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, and on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.