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Thursday, 14 October 2021

The Outlaws Created by Stephen Merchant and Elgin James

Series Synopses
The Outlaws is a contemporary British drama about a disparate group of lawbreakers thrown together to complete a community service sentence. Seven strangers from different walks of life - people who would never normally interact - are forced to work together to renovate a derelict community centre. They resent the menial physical labour and they resent each other. But when one of their number gets dragged into a dangerous world of organised crime, they unite in ways none of them thought possible.

Academic high-flyer Rani has been hot-housed from a young age and has never really known a world outside her overprotective family. When her serial shoplifting finally catches up on her, she is given community service - much to the shame of her parents and to the detriment of her Oxford University scholarship. Removing graffiti at a dilapidated community centre under the watchful eye of jobsworth supervisor Diane, Rani finds herself interacting with very different people for the first time. Including people like Greg, the inept lawyer caught soliciting in a local car park, and Gabby, the socialite with 1.5 million followers who seems to have it all, but is prey to drink and drug problems.

And then there is Christian, an unassuming young man with a complicated story of his own. Sole carer of his kid sister Esme, he's trying and failing to keep her away from a local gang. To protect her, he ends up doing the bidding of the gang's charismatic leader. This leads to him stealing a big bag of cash and hiding it in the very community centre where he and the other outlaws are working.

But Christian doesn't hide it well enough, and soon some of the other outlaws - including John (the right-wing blowhard businessman), Mryna (the radical activist stuck in the 1980s), and Frank (an unreformed con-artist and womaniser) - suddenly and accidentally take possession of a life-changing amount of money. Without realising it, Christian and the outlaws have placed themselves in the centre of a highly dangerous criminal turf war. And it will be Rani who ends up saving them.

Set in modern-day Bristol, the series celebrates the city's distinctive culture and people. Along the way, there'll be legal chicanery, budding romance, audacious acts of heroism and unexpected cases of mistaken identity. As the net closes around them, the outlaws will come to realise that they have more in common than that which sets them apart.

Character Biographies

Rani
Oxford-bound high-flyer Rani has been hot-housed from a young age and has never really known a world outside her overprotective family. When her serial shoplifting finally catches up with her, she is given community service - much to the shame of her parents and to the detriment of her Oxford University scholarship. Removing graffiti and undertaking other menial tasks, Rani finds herself interacting with very different people for the first time. She'll realise there is a whole world beyond her textbooks, and that the dreams of her parents may not necessarily be the same as her own.

Christian
Christian (in his early 20s) is in debt to the wrong people, doing everything he can to keep his kid sister Esme free of their clutches. To protect her, Christian agrees to do the bidding of the gang's charismatic leader. On his orders, Christian steals a big bag of cash, setting in motion a deadly game of cat-and-mouse and threatening the safety of anybody in his orbit - including the other outlaws. Unassuming, with a previously-untapped romantic streak, Christian will subvert expectations and labels as he seeks safety and security for himself, Esme, and his new friends.

Greg
Sad-sack corporate lawyer Greg finds himself on the wrong side of the justice system after indulging his loneliness in the wrong car park. Greg just wants to get his head down and put yet another embarrassing chapter of his life behind him, but he soon finds that his shaky legal acumen might be a little too useful for comfort. Across the series, recently divorced Greg will form the unlikeliest of friendships, find himself battling workplace bullies, aristocratic landowners and even scary men with knives - coming out on the other side with a rediscovered sense of self-worth and purpose.

Frank
Frank (in his 70s) is a twinkly-eyed small-time crook who has seen the world and done everything under the sun. After passing one too many counterfeit cheques Frank must move back in with the daughter he abandoned decades before, and finish his custodial sentence of community service while wearing a wing-clipping ankle tag. As an inveterate womaniser and con-artist who has spent a life running away from responsibility and letting down those who love him, Frank's work with the outlaws presents a second chance at family life - even as his old habits are offered an unexpected new outlet.

Gabby
On the surface, Insta-celebutante Lady Gabriella Penrose-Howe, (in her 20s), seems to have it all. 1.5 million followers across her social media, a chic Clifton apartment, and all the Dom Perignon she can drink. But beneath her effortlessly polished exterior, Gabby struggles with a number of deep-seated problems which threaten to swallow her whole. As she finds herself litter-picking alongside regular members of the general public, she'll realise what it is to feel part of something bigger than herself, liberating herself from the retinue of sycophants and hangers-on who love her credit card more than her personality.

John
John (in his 40s) is a middle age and middle-class white businessman. John has always paid his taxes, and has always been the pillar of the community his strict Northern Irish father bred him in, and so is furious when he finds himself sharing oxygen with criminals while he scrambles to save his family business. John's common-sense approach to his sentence and contempt for political correctness will place him on a collision course with the other outlaws, his supervisor and some extremely dangerous people. But is there more to John than the starched-shirt, small island mentality he shows the world?

Myrna
Black Bristol civil rights veteran Myrna, (in her 60s), was there when Colston went into the harbour. She was there at St Paul's in 1981. Myrna has given her whole life to the cause of social justice. She's sacrificed friends, family, and even her innocence. Myrna is old school and refuses to admit that her approach has put her at odds with a newer generation of activists. But 40 years ago, Myrna made a terrible, life-changing mistake, which she's been running from ever since. Working with the other outlaws, Myrna will realise she must stop running and face the past head-on.

Diane
Diane, (in her 30s), is a hyper-confident and seemingly competent supervisor for Bristol's Community Payback programme. She has been charged with overseeing the outlaws' dispensation of their duties, and treats the responsibility of directing litter-picking and repainting the community centre with deadly seriousness. Diane exudes the sense of power that minor authority bestows on insignificant people, but is a lonely woman at heart who wants to feel part of something bigger than herself; whether that's hijacking the outlaws' team-building exercises, or using every ounce of her self-professed detective's instinct to ingratiate herself with Bristol's bemused police force.

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