The Offenders: The Office meets Community Service in Stephen Merchant’s must-see new comedy

Stephen Merchant, Christopher Walken, Eleanour Tomlinson and Julia Davis are all in the cast of new BBC One comedy The Offenders.

By Alex Fletcher Updated: 10 June 2021 - 11.22am
Comedy

Richard E Grant

Eleanor Tomlinson

Getty Stephen Merchant being interviewed

Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras) is back on the BBC with a new comedy series filled with heart and humour- The Offenders.

Set in the world of Community Service, The Offenders is described “part crime thriller, character study, and a state-of-the-nation commentary”.

The BBC said viewers can expect “an absolute treat with Stephen Merchant’s gripping world, rich with heart, humour and stand out characters” and promised “deftly woven plots, high jinks, unlikely friendships and big belly laughs are very human stories about loyalty, truth and family."

Here is everything you need to know about the highly anticipated new series…

What is The Offenders about?

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

“I love finding ways to bring unlikely groups of people together and watch the sparks fly.”
- Stephen Merchant

At first, they seem like archetypes we can easily 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.

As their unlikely new friendships intersect with their complicated private lives, The Offenders must unite to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous criminal gang.

The show is part crime thriller, character study, and a state-of-the-nation commentary - with humour and heart.

Who is in The Offenders cast?

First look at The Offenders cast including Stephen Merchant and Christopher Walken BBC

Joining Stephen Merchant is an incredible cast of Hollywood stars, comedy heavyweights and rising stars.

The Offenders are:

Rhianne Barreto (Honour, Hanna) plays Rani

A gifted but rebellious maths 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 struggling to raise his kid sister while staying one step ahead of the Brook Hill Crew, a notorious Bristol crime gang

Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction) plays Frank

An inveterate scoundrel trying to reconnect with his family

Stephen Merchant (The Office, Jojo Rabbit) plays Greg

Alonely lawyer coping with divorce, work-place bullying and scary men with knives

Darren Boyd (Killing Eve, Lucky Man) plays John

A businessman and law-abiding pillar of the community furious at being labelled a criminal.

Clare Perkins (EastEnders) plays Myrna

An ageing activist and campaigner who has lost none of her youthful radicalism

Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, The War of the Worlds) plays Gabby

An aristocratic celebutante whose glamour and life of leisure masks deep-rooted problems

Julia Davis on a red carpet BBC
Julia Davis joins the cast of The Offenders

It has also been revealed that Richard E. Grant  (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) plays The Earl, a member of the landed gentry and Gabby’s (Eleanor Tomlinson) father and Julia Davis (Sally4Ever) plays Rita, head of human resources at Greg’s (Stephen Merchant) company.

The ensemble also includes Jessica Gunning (Back, Pride) as Diana; the Offenders’ Community Service Supervisor, who supervises with what she deludedly believes is an iron first, Dolly Wells (Dracula, Doll & Em) as Frank’s daughter, Margaret, Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones, Derry Girls) as John’s father, John Snr, Nina Wadia (Goodness Gracious Me, Bend it like Beckham) as Rani’s mother, Shanthi, Aiyana Goodfellow as Esme and Charles Babalola as Malaki.

Claes Bang in Dracula BBC

Dracula star Claes Bang has also been added to the cast (June 10th) and will play The Dean.

The Dean is a mysterious and terrifying London gang boss the Offenders are unlucky enough to find themselves in debt to.

Where is The Offenders filmed?

The Offenders is the latest series to be filmed in Bristol at The Bottle Yard Studio.

An increasingly popular TV production destination, other upcoming TV series filmed there include Netflix’s The Last Bus, Starz Original series Becoming Elizabeth and BBC One’s Nancy Mitford adaptation The Pursuit of Love.

How to watch The Offenders

The Offenders will premiere in the UK on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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