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The Outlaws star Stephen Merchant talks show future and the possibility of series 4

Stephen created the Bristol-based comedy series  

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
June 6, 2024
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The Outlaws star and creator Stephen Merchant has said "never say never" when it comes to the popular BBC show's future beyond series three. 

Speaking to HELLO! and other press at a recent Q&A event, Stephen revealed why he decided to bring the show back after two successful seasons. "I think a lot of it is because this cast is so good," explained the writer. "I think we sort of had this fanciful idea that you do two series and then maybe move it and it would be about another set of outlaws in another town. But these people are so good and they've brought the characters to life in such a vivid way, that the thought of writing more for them was really exciting."

Greg (STEPHEN MERCHANT), John (DARREN BOYD), Myrna (CLARE PERKINS), Ben (GAMBA COLE) in The Outlaws© Big Talk/Alistair Heap/BBC
Stephen Merchant said 'never say never' about the show's future beyond series 3

The actor, who co-created The Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais, went on to say that he would have kept the shows going beyond two series. "Previously, we'd ended shows thinking you don't want to outstay your welcome but coming back is a thrill," he said. "When I look back now, I would never have cancelled those other shows so early, I would have kept them going."

When asked if he thought season three might be the last during the writing process, Stephen said: "Well, give yourself that option. Never say never."

Remaining tight-lipped on whether a fourth season is in the works, Stephen continued: "Once you've finished a show, you're so exhausted that the idea of thinking how would you bring them all back seems quite overwhelming but we've shown we can do it."

Stan (HARRY TREVALDWYN), Diane (JESS GUNNING) in The Outlaws© Alistair Heap/Big Talk/BBC
Jessica Gunning plays Diane in the series

For those yet to catch up on the drama, it follows a bunch of strangers who are thrown together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol. 

WATCH: Are you enjoying The Outlaws season three?

When we find the outlaws in season three, they've happily moved on with their lives now that crime boss The Dean is behind bars and awaiting trial. But when one of their own reveals a deadly secret, the group are thrown back into mortal danger. 

The synopsis concludes: "As a murder manhunt closes in on the gang, can they prove their innocence before The Dean's case collapses, and he comes looking for revenge?"

Rhianne Barreto a Rani in The Outlaws© Big Talk/Alistair Heap/BBC
Rhianne Barreto plays Rani

The ensemble cast features a number of big names, including Poldark's Eleanor Tomlinson, Baby Reindeer's Jessica Gunning, and Trying actor Darren Boyd.

One major star who had a reduced role in the series is Christopher Walken, who plays veteran conman Frank. 

Christopher's absence can be explained by the actor's strike in Hollywood, which lasted from July to November last year and saw many major TV and film productions close down. 

Christopher Walken in The Outlaws© BBC
Christopher Walken has a smaller role in the series

Speaking about Christopher's smaller role, Stephen said: "Although [the strike] didn't impact us directly, it did impact American actors and they weren't allowed to come over during that," explained Stephen. "That hit right when we were filming. That did make life rather tricky but he's back. 

"It was hard to fit him in with all the other things he's doing and the strike," he added.

The Outlaws is available on BBC iPlayer.   

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