Christopher Walken to lead new Stephen Merchant series ‘The Offenders’

Merchant, Gamba Cole, Eleanor Tomlinson and Darren Boyd will also star

Christopher Walken has been cast as the lead in Stephen Merchant’s The Offenders.

This will mark the veteran actor’s first lead role on British television, on the new six-part series for the BBC and Amazon Prime Video developed by Merchant, who co-created The Office.

Walken will be one of seven leads in the show, alongside Merchant, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins and Eleanor Tomlinson.

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The Offenders is described as a “crime thriller-meets-state-of-the-nation commentary”, per Variety, who added as a plot synopsis: “The series follows seven strangers, The Offenders, from different walks of life (Walker, Merchant, Barreto, Cole, Boyd, Perkins, Tomlinson) 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.”

Christopher Walken is set to play Frank, described as “an inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family”.

Opening up about the production, which began filming in March and recently resumed after the global lockdown, Merchant said: “I’m delighted that we’re now finally able to resume filming with this incredible cast and finish this long-standing passion project.

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“This is the first series I’ve made in my hometown of Bristol and I’m so excited to showcase the city and utilize the amazing local talent.”

There is no release date confirmed yet for The Offenders.

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