Filmhounds Magazine

All things film – In print and online

What Does It Take To Make ‘The Outlaws’? – An Exclusive Look At S2

2 min read
The Outlaws (2021)

Having a 6 month hiatus between a TV show's first and second series seems merely a pipe dream for fans who can't wait to double down on their binge. Yet it's become the reality of Stephen Merchant's The Outlaws, thanks to an intense pandemic shooting schedule.

Speaking at May's BFI & TV Festival, Merchant confirmed both series were shot at the same time, explaining why audiences are already seeing a return of the odd bod comedy-drama.

The incredibly charismatic panel of cast and creators regaled the challenges of working around COVID. “Well it turns out that shooting two series of a show under a pandemic is a nightmare, and I would suggest no one ever does it.” said Merchant. “Particularly if one of your key cast members is 79-year-old Oscar winner , because every day you're on a knife edge hoping he doesn't get COVID. If anyone even looks like they're going to sneeze near him, you jump in front of him like you're taking a bullet for the president.”

Merchant went on to explain the inevitable toning down of his real-life experiences for TV, stating his true stories would be considered too far-fetched to take place in a comedy narrative. Alongside a deeper understanding of criminal research, the comedy and tragic balance in both reality and TV was also commented on, staying true to a ‘what divides us, unites us' tone.

On top of an endearing and entertaining Q+A, fans were also treated to a preview of the new series' debut episode. Picking up right where it left off from series 1, our first return outing to the gang's unruly community payback is satisfying for both hardened fans and complete newbies. The episode is arguably a masterclass in how to write great TV, peppered with compelling narrative hooks, tension and killer one-liners. The Motley crew of outcasts are sizzling yet solid in their connections, splintering off to bite more drama than they can chew. Effortless in its delivery, the mixing of many worlds is truly a delight to get stuck in the middle of — just watch out for a nasty yeast infection.

The synopsis for series 2 reads: “Following on directly from the first series, still have time to serve on their sentences – but now they must face the fallout from their actions. If they thought the criminal underworld or the local police were done with them, they are sorely mistaken. The Outlaws must depend on one another while working with unlikely allies to atone for their sins – but can they save themselves without sacrificing their souls?”

Will we be getting a series 3? Merchant says there are ideas, but no official green light.

Series 2 will air from 5th June.