The Outlaws season 1: release date, cast and everything you need to know

The Outlaws cast.
The Outlaws cast. (Image credit: BBC/Big Talk/Four Eyes)

The Outlaws season 1— previously called The Offenders is a thrilling BBC comedy that’s got some truly top-tier talent attached. 

In the show, seven strangers are forced to become fast friends as they work alongside one another whilst completing their community service in southern England, especially with the looming threat of gang crime on their doorstep.

First announced in early 2020, The Outlaws is described as "part crime thriller and part character study — with humour and heart" by the BBC. Although it was forced to stop production due to COVID-19, the series debuted on BBC in October 2021 and and has now hit Prime Video internationally. 

In our interview with writer-director Stephen Merchant, he said he was inspired to create the series by the work of his parents who both worked as community service supervisors. He said: "It’s an interesting area for a show because you have unlikely people forced to work together. They’re from different walks of life."

With one of the creative minds behind The Office UK and Extras behind the show and it has already been renewed for a second season before the first one has even aired, it's sure to be worth the wait. 

Here’s what we know about The Outlaws...

The Outlaws season 1 release date 

The Outlaws season 1 premiered in the UK on BBC1 and BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab) in October 2021; all episodes are available to stream on iPlayer now.

If you're not in the UK, the series has since debuted on Prime Video in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as it hit the streaming service on April 1.

The Outlaws season 1 cast 

The main cast of The Outlaws is the seven titular offenders serving community service in the show. The seven characters are:

  • In his first British TV role, Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken (Pulp Fiction) plays Frank, a scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family. 
  • Stephen Merchant (The Office) as Greg, a lonely lawyer coping with divorce, workplace bullying and scary men with knives. 
  • Darren Boyd (Killing Eve) as John, a businessman and pillar of the community who is furious about being labelled a common criminal. 
  • Clare Perkins (EastEnders) as Myrna, an ageing activist and campaigner who's still just as radical as she once was. 
  • Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) as Gabby, an aristocrat whose glamour and life of leisure masks some deep-rooted problems. 
  • Rhianne Barreto (Honour) plays Rani, a gifted but rebellious student who has been hot-housed from a young age by her loving but controlling parents. 
  • Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle) plays Christian, a young man who is struggling to raise his kid sister whilst he stays one step ahead of the notorious Bristol crime gang, the Brook Hill Crew. 

Stephen Merchant said he thinks we'll want to root for the main cast. He commented: "They’ve all broken the rules, but nobody’s purely good or evil. You see what led them to this point. Everyone has the potential to be morally compromised. 

"The people my mum saw made one misstep and it sent them down the wrong road. So you can have empathy for the characters even if you don't agree with where they're coming from."

Christopher Walken in The Outlaws.

Christopher Walken in The Outlaws (Image credit: BBC)

The Outlaws' cast list only grew more impressive with the addition of Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) as the Earl, a local member of the landed gentry who is also Gabby’s father. Julia Davis (Sally4Ever) plays Rita, head of HR at Greg’s company. 

Additional cast includes Jessica Gunning (Back) as the Offenders’ Community Service Supervisor, Dolly Wells (Dracula) as Frank’s daughter, Margaret, Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones) as John’s father, John, Nina Wadia (Goodness Gracious Me) as Rani’s mother, Shanthi, Aiyana Goodfellow as Esme and Charles Babalola as Malaki.

Claes Bang

Danish actor Claes Bang is the latest addition to the cast. (Image credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Claes Bang (Dracula) also stars as Dean, a terrifying London gang boss who is after a debt owed by the titular offenders.

The Outlaws season 1 plot 

The Outlaws follows seven strangers from different walks of life who are forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol, England. At first, they seem like an archetypal group of people who are easy to pigeonhole, but as they get to know each other their barriers fall down. 

Slowly, we’re reminded that no one is completely good or bad. As their unlikely friendships blossom and clash with their own personal lives, the group unites to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous gang. 

Is there a trailer?

The trailer was released in early October 2021. It looks set to deliver thrills and comedy in equal measure and gives us our first look at the so-called "Outlaws" getting down to business. 

Whilst doing their community service, they stumble across a huge sum of cash that clearly belongs to a high-ranking member of the criminal underworld, prompting Dean (Claes Bang) to send some gang members after the group.

You can watch the official trailer below:

Will there be a second season?

If you've enjoyed the series (or are looking forward to watching it soon), you'll be delighted to know that The Outlaws season 2 is on the way.

Stephen Merchant confirmed the news, saying: "I am overwhelmed by the wonderful response to The Outlaws

"Audiences have fallen in love with the characters as much as I have and my Twitter feed is inundated with people asking for updates on series two, so I’m delighted to confirm the entire gang will return for more adventures. If we made The Outlaws sweat in series one, we’re really turning the heat up second time round."

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.