Pistol: episodes, cast and everything we know about the Sex Pistols limited TV series

The cast of Pistol leaning against a bus
(Image credit: FX)

Legends of the punk rock era, the English band Sex Pistols are getting their own limited TV series from Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, simply titled Pistol. The series is now available across various broadcasters and streaming services, including Hulu and Disney Plus.

The Sex Pistols have been featured in TV shows and movies before, most notably in 1986’s Sid & Nancy, where Gary Oldman played the band’s bassist Sid Vicious. However, the movie was primarily focused on the titular couples relationship. The band also got the documentary treatment in 2000’s The Filth and the Fury. Pistol, however, will be based on one of the band member’s own telling of their journey, guitarist Steve Jones.

Here is everything you need to know about Pistol.

When is the Pistol release date?

Pistol is available as of May 31. For US audiences, the limited series will be available on Hulu, while it will stream on Disney Plus in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. All six episodes are available immediately.

Star Plus is slated to carry Pistol in Latin America and other Disney Plus territories, but a release date has not yet been set for those regions.

What is the plot of Pistol?

Based on Steve Jones’ 2017 memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, Pistol details the rock and roll revolution that the band was a part of in the 1970s.

The Sex Pistols caused a major stir when they broke out in the 1970s with songs like "Anarchy in the UK," "Holiday in the Sun," "Pretty Vacant" and "God Save the Queen." This series will look at the experience of the band and their impact from the perspective of one of its members.

Here is the official synopsis:

"Pistol is a six-episode limited series about a rock and roll revolution. The furious, raging storm at the center of this revolution are the Sex Pistols — and at the center of this series is Sex Pistols’ founding member and guitarist, Steve Jones. Jones’ hilarious, emotional and at times heart-breaking journey guides us through a kaleidoscopic telling of three of the most epic, chaotic and mucus-spattered years in the history of music. Based on Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, this is the story of a band of spotty, noisy, working-class kids with ‘no future, who shook the boring, corrupt Establishment to its core, threatened to bring down the government and changed music and culture forever."

Pistol episodes

Here is the synopses for all episodes of the Pistol limited series:

Pistol episode 1, "Track 1: The Cloak of Invisibility"
"Steve Jones convinces Malcolm McLaren to manage The Swankers, but he discovers that his 'Cloak of Invisibility' can't protect him from the gaze of the audience."

Pistol episode 2, "Track 2: Rotten"
"As Steve tries to learn guitar in five days, Johnny Rotten arrives on the scene, leading to the birth of the Sex Pistols."

Pistol episode 3, "Track 3: Bodies"
"Steve and Chrissie Hynde begin making more than just music, while the Pistols cause anarchy in the UK and Johnny Rotten finds inspiration in a grieving young woman."

Pistol episode 4, "Track 4: Pretty Vaaayc**t"
"The band shock the nation out of its torpor. The media frenzy causes their egos to explode. Malcolm blackmails Steve into replacing Glen Matlock with Sid Vicious as bassist."

Pistol episode 5, "Track 5: Nancy and Sid"
"Sid becomes increasingly lost to heroin and violence as his relationship with Nancy heats up. A plan to get rid of Nancy goes awry during a riverboat stunt at the Queen's Jubilee."

Pistol episode 6, "Track 6: Who Killed Bambi?"
"Malcolm believes the Sex Pistols have become too much like a rock band. Johnny leaves the group and is replaced by Sid as lead singer. Sid is suspected of murdering Nancy in New York City."

Who is in the Pistol cast?

The cast of Pistol

(Image credit: FX)

Taking center stage in Pistol are of course the actors playing the members of Sex Pistols. They are Toby Wallace (Baby Teeth) as Steve Jones, Anson Boon (1917) as John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, Christian Lees (The Phantom of the Open) as Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge (Enola Holmes) as Sid Vicious and Jacob Slater as Paul Cook.

Pistol is also going to feature some Game of Thrones veterans, as Maisie Williams is on board to play punk icon Jordan and Thomas Brodie-Sangster is playing Malcolm McLaren.

Other cast members include Emma Appleton (The Witcher) as Nancy Spungen, Sydney Chandler (Don’t Worry Darling) as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley (Westworld) as Vivienne Westwood and Dylan Llewellyn (Derry Girls) as Wally Nightingale.

Who is the Pistol director?

As mentioned, Danny Boyle is directing all six episodes of Pistol. Boyle is best known for his Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and his breakout movie Trainspotting. Some of his other credits include 28 Days Later, 127 Hours and Steve Jobs. He’s also dabbled in some big TV projects in recent years, including directing multiple episodes of the limited series Trust, the pilot episode of Babylon and the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

The rest of the creative team for Pistol includes Craig Pearce (Moulin Rouge!, Elvis), who created the series, as well as Frank Cottrell Bryce (Goodbye Christopher Robin, Doctor Who), who co-wrote the episodes.

Is there a Pistol trailer?

The first Pistols trailer has one thing in mind, "destroy." It's just a quick tease for what's in store, but check it right directly below:

Another Pistol teaser trailer is also now available. Give it look below:

Hulu also shared a teaser trailer as part of National Streaming Day:

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Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.