In what marks his first leading role on British television, Christopher Walken has signed on to star alongside Stephen Merchant in the BBC One comedy drama The Offenders. The series, which hails from Merchant and Mayans M.C. creator Elgin James, is now filming in Bristol.
The Offenders follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol. As they become involved in each other’s lives, they also become involved with a dangerous criminal gang.
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. The comedy drama is produced for BBC One by Big Talk and Four Eyes. Amazon Prime Video are co-producing. The executive producers are Stephen Merchant, Luke Alkin Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice. Nickie Sault is the series producer, while Stephen Merchant and John Butler are directing.
Walken will play Frank, an inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family. Rounding out the cast is Rhianne Barreto (Honour, Hanna), Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, Hanna), Darren Boyd (Killing Eve, Lucky Man), Clare Perkins (EastEnders), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, The War of the Worlds), Jessica Gunning (Back, Pride), Dolly Wells (Dracula, Doll & Em), Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones, Derry Girls), Nina Wadia (Goodness Gracious Me, Bend it like Beckham), Aiyana Goodfellow and Charles Babalola.
“Like so many other productions, we’d just begun filming when Covid-19 struck and we had to shut-down. I’m delighted that we’re now finally able to resume filming with this incredible cast and finish this long-standing passion project”, series co-creator Stephen Merchant said in a statement. “This is the first series I’ve made in my hometown of Bristol and I’m so excited to showcase the city and utilise the amazing local talent.”