The Outlaws’ Stephen Merchant explains Christopher Walken’s absence from BBC show

christopher walken, the outlaws season 3
The Outlaws star explains Walken's absenceBBC / Big Talk

The Outlaws star and creator Stephen Merchant has explained Christopher Walken’s absence from the third series of the show.

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

However, their luck changes – not necessarily for the better – when they discover a bag full of money, unaware that its true owners are very dangerous.

christopher walken, the outlaws season 3
BBC / Big Talk

Related: Stephen Merchant on why The Outlaws was changed from movie to TV

Walken, who plays Frank Sheldon on the show, will have a reduced role for the upcoming series, with Merchant telling HELLO that scheduling conflicts and the Hollywood strikes led to the star’s decreased screen time.

“Although [the strike] didn't impact us directly, it did impact American actors and they weren't allowed to come over during that,” said Merchant. “That hit right when we were filming. That did make life rather tricky but he's back. It was hard to fit him in with all the other things he's doing and the strike.”

Whilst Walken’s role may be reduced, there is still plenty to look forward to in the third season, with the stacked cast including Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins, Jessica Gunning and Eleanor Tomlinson.

The synopsis for the series, which airs internationally on Prime Video, reads (via BBC): “With crime boss The Dean behind bars, The Outlaws are moving on with their lives – until one of their own returns with a deadly secret, hurling them back into mortal danger.”

clare perkins, darren boyd, stephen merchant, gamba cole, the outlaws season 3
Alistair Heap - BBC

Related: The Outlaws season 2 details teased by Stephen Merchant

Gunning, who recently shot to wider fame for her role in Baby Reindeer, recently spoke about her impending return as Diane Pemberley on The Outlaws, saying: "Diane is persistent, she’s ruthless, no-nonsense, she never misses a trick – or so she thinks!

"It’s been lovely all being back together, and I felt very lucky that I was in the writers’ room this time as I co-wrote an episode with Stephen, episode five. It’s been really exciting to be a part of helping draft the storyline for series three and get to know the characters more than I did before."

The Outlaws airs on the BBC in the UK and Prime Video internationally.

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