Stephen Merchant’s comedy drama The Outlaws filmed series 2 at The Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol and in various locations across the city, with the assistance of the Bristol Film Office.
The Outlaws was created by Stephen Merchant and Elgin James. Series two is produced by Fran du Pille and directed by John Butler and Alicia Macdonald.
Made by Big Talk Productions and Merchant’s own company Four Eyes, the production team behind the BBC One and Amazon Prime Video series filmed series two back-to-back with series one.
Sets were built at The Bottle Yard Studios for key interiors and on location, Sea Mills Community Centre served as the central setting where the seven ‘outlaws’ are tasked with completing the community service sentences that first brought them together.
Bristol Film Office facilitated filming at a wide variety of city locations throughout season two’s shoot which ran from June to October 2021. In total, The Outlaws filmed two series over 18 months in Bristol, a period that was lengthened due to the 2020 lockdown causing a pause in production.
Around 200 crew per day worked at The Bottle Yard Studios throughout the production period, an estimated 75% of which were from Bristol and the surrounding area.
Joking that series two’s launch date (5 June) means that The Outlaws is “up against the Queen”, Merchant said: “Bristol is a very visual city, with its hills and the harbourside. It has so many angles which gives you a lot of depth and texture when you’re filming. We really tried to capture the DNA of the city in the show. Filming through the pandemic meant that we were like a team in the trenches at times, I’m very proud of what we achieved. In this series, we just keep trying to turn the heat up on our characters as the series progresses.”
Laura Aviles, senior film manager (Bristol City Council) added: “We couldn’t agree more with the cast, that Bristol has become a character in The Outlaws in its own right! After supporting 18 months of filming at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location with support from Bristol Film Office, it’s wonderful to see Bristol take centre stage in this primetime drama once again.
This was a major production for Bristol that created jobs for local crew and companies, and valuable knock-on income for other sectors. Judging by the phenomenal reception that series one received, we look forward to another successful series where Bristol’s identity is front and centre on screen.”
Bristol locations for The Outlaws:
The Bottle Yard Studios
Bristol’s biggest studio facility in Hengrove was home to sets including:
- Lawyer Greg’s flat. Played by Stephen Merchant, Greg is described by Merchant as an awkward, six-foot-seven gangly nerd whose legal chicanery is once more put to work by the outlaws.
- Myrna’s flat. Played by Clare Perkins, Myrna is a Black Bristol civil rights veteran who finds she hasn’t buried the bones of the past.
- The home of Margaret (Dolly Wells), daughter of “twinkly-eyed small-time crook” Frank (Christopher Walken). Finally free of his tag, Frank faces a familiar choice — fly the coop, or stand still for once in his life?
- Offices of ‘Halloran & Son’, run by businessman John Halloran (Darren Boyd). John has grand plans to modernise the family firm, but his father has emerged from retirement with his killer instinct intact.
- Gang member Malaki’s basement. Played by Charles Babalola, Malaki finds that the illusory promise of a life on the straight-and-narrow eludes him at every turn, as he’s forced to contend with the consequences of his past crimes.
- Police cells, interview rooms and probation offices
Sea Mills Community Centre
The disused building stars once again as the community centre that the outlaws are tasked with fixing up as part of the Community Payback scheme.
Series two will feature plenty of action scenes, including a vehicle chase filmed in the Broadmead area, from Merchant Street towards the Horsefair. Another action scene was filmed at the Cumberland Basin on Hotwells Road and Brunel Bridge. Stunt filming also took place on waste ground beneath the M5 flyover.
Filming for scenes set in a train buffet car took place at Lloyds Amphitheatre last summer.
Lady Gabby’s house
The grand setting for Lady Gabby’s house was a private property on Apsley Road in Clifton.
The Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on College Green featured as the casino visited by Christopher Walken’s character Frank in episode one.
Filming also took place at a huge range of other Bristol streets, landmarks and buildings.