The Outlaws is another drama pointlessly filmed in 2.39:1, rather than the 16:9 ratio for the screen on which we’re watching.
First up, we meet Rani (Rhianne Barreto), a young woman who steals a jacket from department store – and it turns out this isn’t her first rodeo. Meanwhile, Christopher Walken is the grandad getting out of jail, for forging signatures on cheques… those things we haven’t used in years.
Yes, it’s time for a drama where they string together a rag-tag bunch of idiots, this time who are up for Community Payback, aka Community Service – spending many hours cleaning up litter, because they committed a crime. Of those making up the numbers, Stephen Merchant is the same he always is since The Office, and the same goes for Jessica Gunning as their supervisor.
However, given that they all discuss what they did to get in there, it’s hardly The Breakfast Club.
I did get a giggle out of the social media influencer “Lady Gabby” (Eleanor Tomlinson), one of those self-absorbed types who announce their arrival with their preferred pronouns. Meanwhile, those of us who are sane just get on with our day. Meanwhile, Darren Boyd’s angry businessman, John, did have a point when he referred Christian (Gamba Cole), the black lad, as “coloured”, causing the left-wing black lady, Myrna (Clare Perkins) to ask him why he said that rather than “person of colour”, to which he replied, “I’ll give you £1000 if you can tell me the difference(!)”
Cue lots of bickering between each other, a lot of guff as we see their individual backstories and lies (not everyone in episode 1, though), Gregg (Merchant) thinking he’s making a gang sign to Christian because he’s trying to ‘get down wiv da kids’, and Walken constantly with a face on that questions how he got involved with this crap? He’s a major Hollywood actor, so he can’t be short of roles, even at 78. Maybe he wanted to do a BBC drama, and this was the first post-pandemic role offered to him by his agent? We’ll never know. It’s certainly a far cry from The Deer Hunter.
At the time of posting this, I don’t know whether this weekly drama will be on the iPlayer in full after one episode.
The Outlaws begins Monday October 25th on BBC1 at 9pm, and runs for six weeks. It’s not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
After broadcast, each episode will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Episode 1: 2/10
Director: Stephen Merchant
Producer: Nickie Sault
Writers: Stephen Merchant, Elgin James
Rani: Rhianne Barreto
John: Darren Boyd
Christian: Gamba Cole
Myrna: Clare Perkins
Gabby: Eleanor Tomlinson
Greg: Stephen Merchant
Frank: Christopher Walken
Diane: Jessica Gunning
Esme: Aiyana Goodfellow
John Sr: Ian McElhinney
Shanthi: Nina Wadia
Margaret: Dolly Wells
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.