Stephen Merchant reveals family’s personal connection to new BBC drama The Outlaws

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NEW BBC drama The Outlaws is very much a passion project for comedian and actor Stephen Merchant – and he’s revealed the incredibly heart-warming reason as to why.

Following a group of offenders carrying out community service in Bristol, the six-part comedy-drama sees Stephen star as awkward lawyer, Greg.

Stephen Merchant revealed the family link to his new comedy-drama

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Stephen Merchant revealed the family link to his new comedy-dramaCredit: PA

After an embarrassing altercation with a prostitute, Greg is forced to do his community service alongside a rag-tag bunch of other felons, but when one of the group gets embroiled in gang warfare, they all find themselves in danger.

Speaking exclusively with The Sun’s TV Mag, Stephen, who has co-written and directed the series, said the idea for the show was inspired by the work of his parents, who worked in the community sector supervising offenders.

“They used to tell me about the sort of people that came through the ranks, some of whom I went to school with, it turned out, but I just thought it was an interesting area for the show,” he said.

“You’re always looking for ways to bring groups of people together in TV and clearly an office is a good place and this seemed like a good place.

“There was a guy I remember my mum told me about who used to steal cabbages from allotments and they realised after a time because they’d always see his face that he was just lonely.

“So he’d do these minor crimes just to get hours of community service because he liked the social aspect of it.

“Or there’d be a businessman that got caught drink driving, so there’s all these unlikely people that got forced together and I thought that was an interesting backdrop to something.”

Stephen, one of the creative minds behind The Office UK and Extra, also announced that the show has already been renewed for a second season before the first one has even aired.

Speaking of the personalities in the show, Stephen added: “Hopefully, in some ways, all of the characters are, not sympathetic, but you can kind of have empathy for them – even if you don’t necessarily agree with where they’re coming from in life.

“I didn’t write myself a crazily major role because I sort of knew I had all of these other hats to wear.

“In a way, I feel like I’m kind of there to add a bit of light relief and I’ll let the other proper actors do the heavy lifting.”

The Outlaws will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, with the first episode arriving on Monday, October 25 at 9pm.

Read the full interview in TV Mag, available exclusively with The Sun every Saturday.

The actor and writer stars in new BBC show The Outlaws

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The actor and writer stars in new BBC show The OutlawsCredit: BBC
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