The Offenders cast

The Outlaws: the BBC’s hilarious comedy-thriller is returning for a second series

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After becoming the BBC’s biggest comedy launch of 2021, Stephen Merchant’s smash hit BBC series The Outlaws is returning for a second run.

We here at Stylist love a meaty crime thriller as much as the next person. However, there’s no denying that this grittiest of TV genres can get a little… well, a little too dark at times.

Thankfully, it’s been confirmed that The Outlaws, Stephen Merchant’s suitably twisted crime drama – albeit one with (surprise!) added humour and heart – is returning for a second series. 

Created by Stephen Merchant and Elgin James, the comedy follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol. With over 11 million streams to date on iPlayer, the first series has proved to be a huge success with viewers, becoming the BBC’s biggest comedy launch of 2021.

You may know the series by it’s previous working title, The Offenders, but now that the second series of this hilarious show has wrapped filming and is heading to our screens in 2022, here are all the confirmed details you need to know about The Outlaws.

What’s the plot of The Outlaws?

The Outlaws follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol.

“At first, they seem like archetypes we can easily pigeonhole,” explains the show’s official synopsis, “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.”

Naturally, it’s not long before their unlikely new friendships begin to intersect with their complicated private lives. And the drama really ramps up when the septet is forced to unite to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous criminal gang.


In an official synopsis for the second season, the BBC said the six new hour-long episodes would focus on the consequences from the Outlaws’ actions.

“Following on directly from the first series, The Outlaws 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?”

Watch the raucous trailer for the first series below:

Who stars in The Outlaws?

As the trailer for the first series proves, it’s an all-star cast in this BBC drama. Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Walken is joined by Honour’s Rhianne Barreto, Hanna star Gamba Cole, Killing Eve’s Darren Boyd, Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson, Clare Perkins of EastEnders fame and Danish actor Claes Bang as a terrifying London crime boss.

As if that weren’t enough star power for you, though, the series also boasts the talents of Charles Babalola, Richard E Grant, Julia Davis and, of course, Merchant himself.

Following the announcement that filming has wrapped on the second series, the BBC confirmed that the second series will see  Christopher Walken, Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jessica Gunning, Charles Babalola, Nina Wadia, Tom Hanson and Aiyana Goodfellow  reprise their roles in the new run of episodes. 

Meanwhile it’s been revealed that the new series will feature guest stars Julia Davis, Dolly Wells, Derry Girls and Game of Thrones’ Ian McElhinney and Dracula’s Claes Bang.

What are people saying about The Outlaws?

Merchant, who also directs the series, says: “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 2, so I’m delighted to confirm the entire gang will return for more adventures. 

“If we made The Outlaws sweat in Series 1, we’re really turning the heat up second time round.”

Jon Petrie, Director of BBC Comedy, adds: “The Outlaws has entertained BBC viewers across the nation this autumn and we are thrilled to say the series is the BBC’s biggest comedy launch this year. 

“We can’t wait for fans to see what Stephen has in store for this second series as our Outlaws come face to face with the consequences of their actions.”

And Chris Mansolillo, who is director and head of content licensing in the US for Amazon Prime Video (this is, after all, a joint project between the Beeb and Amazon Studios), says: “Stephen and Elgin’s unlikely band of Outlaws have clearly connected with audiences in the UK, through their compelling storylines, and hilarious and heartfelt performances. 

“We can’t wait to introduce The Outlaws to our Prime Video members next year.”

When will The Outlaws be available to watch in the UK?

The first series of this compelling dramedy is available to stream right now on BBC iPlayer.

The Outlaws season 2 will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK in 2022, and will be also be released to international audiences via Amazon Prime Video in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Nordics next year.

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Images: BBC/Amazon Studios/James Pardon Photos

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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