The Offenders: Amazon, BBC team up on British comedy-drama series
Deadline is reporting that Amazon and BBC are teaming up on a British comedy-drama The Offenders, from The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and Mayans M.C. co-creator Elgin James.
The Offenders (working title) follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol. Although they seem like archetypes, they should not be pigeon-holed. As their unlikely new friendships intersect with their complicated private lives, the group must unite to protect one of their own from Bristol’s most dangerous criminal gang.
Merchant is set to co-star and direct the series, which will air on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and on BBC One and iPlayer in the UK. BBC Studios is handling global distribution. The series comes from Big Talk (Mum) and Merchant’s Four Eyes.
“The Offenders is a long-standing passion project for me,” said Merchant. “My parents used to work in the Community Service world and I was always intrigued that the many and varied people they dealt with only had one thing in common: they’d committed a crime. Ever since The Office, I love finding ways to bring unlikely groups of people together and watch the sparks fly. As a writer, I always include humor but with The Offenders, I also get to add drama, pathos, crime genre thrills and say something optimistic about the common humanity that unites us all, whatever our background. The Offenders’ mix of light and shade, dark and comic, middle-class angst with inner-city grit, reflects the unlikely partnership of me and Elgin. I grew up in suburbia whereas Elgin spent his early life building a national street gang until a police investigation landed him in prison. Despite coming from different sides of the tracks, Elgin and I share a love of convincing characters and authentic, engaging, human stories.”
The six-part series is executive producers by Merchant for Four Eyes, Luke Alkin, Kenton Allen, and Matthew Justice for Big Talk. Nickie Sault (The Virtues) is producing. Kate Daughton is Commissioning Editor for the BBC.
Amazon and BBC’s previous collaborations include Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s award-winning Fleabag and Steve McQueen’s drama Small Axe.
(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic and Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images)