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The Outlaws series 3 filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios & across Bristol

May 28, 2024

Stephen Merchant’s comedy thriller The Outlaws returns to BBC One/BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video next week with a third series filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios and on location in and around Bristol.

Made by Big Talk Studios and Merchant’s own company Four Eyes, The Outlaws follows a group of strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol. Production for the new five-part series was once again based at The Bottle Yard Studios, where sets were built for key interiors. On location, Bristol Film Office facilitated filming at a host of city locations during the 14 week shoot, including St Werburgh’s City Farm which features prominently. Filming also took place in nearby Weston-Super-Mare.

Stephen Merchant with boomsatsuma students studying at The Bottle Yard Studios (image courtesy boomsatsuma)

Luke Alkin, executive producer, Big Talk Studios, says: “We’ve been very lucky to make three series of The Outlaws at The Bottle Yard Studios. As a production base and as studios, they are a great place to work. The stages gave us all the facilities and space we needed for our sets and production offices. For a proudly Bristol-set show, the range and variety of locations the city offers is unparalleled and was a key part of The Outlaws’ distinct identity. At all times, the Film Office were supportive and proactive with assisting the production. Our experience of shooting in the city could not have been more positive.”

Laura Aviles, head of film (Bristol City Council) says: “Welcoming The Outlaws back to The Bottle Yard Studios was an absolute pleasure. It’s hard to express how important this production is to Bristol. Not only does it put the city on screen as itself, with its own distinctive character front and centre, the making of the show has created employment for local crew and skills opportunities for local talent behind the camera. Around 90 people per day worked on Series 3 throughout the production period. Primetime shows like this with such a strong sense of place are proven to have a positive impact on screen tourism, bringing benefits to local businesses in different sectors. Yet again, Stephen and Big Talk have done an excellent job of celebrating Bristol and benefiting our local film and TV sector.”

Bristolian writer/director Michael Jenkins (age 35) was trainee director/director of additional photography on episodes 1 and 2 of the new series, shadowing Stephen Merchant, Curtis Vowell and John Butler. Michael says: “This was a truly transformative experience. Being my first time on set and on such a funny and enjoyable show that had Bristol at its core, was breathtaking. I think my main take away was the confidence it’s infused in me. I was given the freedom and the space from the Directors and the team. I went from watching and really enjoying the show to being able to lend my voice to some of it. It’s just given me the drive and hunger to direct more TV and has really informed my writing.”

The production team also gave behind the scenes access to students aged 16-18 studying Film & TV Production Diplomas with boomsatsuma, The Bottle Yard’s on-site education provider. Course leader Simon Williams said: “The summer of 2023 was particularly exciting for some of our Year 12 and 13 students, as they got valuable on-set experience and appeared as extras in various scenes of The Outlaws 3. They got to witness a giant LED backdrop virtual driving set-up in The Bottle Yard Studios, as well as witnessing and appearing in scenes at Clifton College and Cirencester Courthouse. Stephen Merchant himself took the time to hold a Q&A with the students on getting a job and working in the industry. They also met other stars of the show including Richard E. Grant and the very lovely Jessica Gunning. We are so grateful to Stephen and everyone at Big Talk Studios for making it all possible and can’t wait to see the results.”

 The Outlaws series 3: where was it filmed?

The Bottle Yard Studios

Bristol’s leading studio facility in Hengrove housed a number of key set builds, including Greg’s flat, Myrna’s flat, Ben’s flat, Halloran & Sons factory offices, probation offices, police station interview rooms and a fertility clinic. Eleanor Tomlinson (Gabby) says: “I think Greg’s flat is my favourite. In series three we really see how Gabby has completely taken over his flat. There are false nails everywhere and massively garish art. Greg’s flat has been fully Gabby’d, which is great.”

St Werburgh’s City Farm: In the new series, the six ‘Outlaws’ are completing their community service on a farm under the watchful gaze of their supervisor Diane (Jessica Gunning). Filming took place at St Werburgh’s City Farm from the end of May to mid-June 2023. An independent registered charity, the Farm offers “a green oasis in the heart of Bristol” and provides educational and recreational services, including a working livestock farm, gardens and playground open daily with free entry, environmental youth work, community events, building hire and café.

Jenny Howard Coles, co-director of St Werburgh’s City Farm says: “As an inner-city community hub that has been strengthening connections between land, animals and people for more than 40 years, we’re always looking for ways to raise funds that will protect our services. We offer programmes for young people facing disadvantage or struggling with mainstream education, horticultural and animal care placements for adults with disabilities and a volunteering programme for adults experiencing mental ill-health, as well as a range of training opportunities for people of all ages. So we were very pleased to host The Outlaws cast and crew to film at the Farm last year. The shoot helped us generate valuable income and once the new series airs, we hope to see an increase in visitors who may want to find out more about what we offer here.”

Other locations to look out for in the new series include:

  • St Peters Rise, Knowle
  • Belland Drive and Emmet Wood, Whitchurch
  • The Washington Guesthouse, Clifton
  • Guthrie Road, Clifton
  • The Kensington Arms, Redland
  • Francombe House and Redcliffe Underpass, Redcliffe
  • The Architect Bar, Bristol Harbourside
  • King Square, Stokes Croft
  • Hillyfield Road, Headley Park
  • Somerset Street, Kingsdown
  • The Tablisi Room, Bristol City Hall
  • Unite Students, Brunel House, St George’s Road

 

What the cast & crew said about filming in Bristol:

Writer/director and actor Stephen Merchant (Greg): “I was born and raised in Bristol. The show is very much a love letter to Bristol. I love the fact we get to feature different pockets of the city, and in the instance of series three, we are in a city farm. I love showcasing the city. It’s very visual, it’s full of street art, and it’s very hilly which adds interesting depths to the show. Also, the people of Bristol are very welcoming to us. I like the idea of making it another character in the show. In this show it gets to play itself.

“One of the great things about filming The Outlaws is the community spirit, it’s like a family that moves around the town. It’s just a real pleasure to be in the city I was born in. The weather was good, and it’s just the kind of lovely experience of making the show I dreamed of. The dream was always to come back to my hometown, and see people I knew, my family, introduce actors who hadn’t worked here before to the town and make that feel part of the show.”

Jessica Gunning (Diane) says: “All of my favourite scenes were the ones we filmed on the City Farm in Bristol. It’s so amazing to see it all come to life. Some of the places were already here on the farm itself, but our props and our art departments did all the signs, built this massive shed, which I just think is amazing. And seeing all The Outlaws back in their tabards.”

Darren Boyd (John) says: “We were surrounded by goats and pigs. I myself made friends with a little family of goats and I didn’t want to leave! I feel like we created something quite special, I made it my mission every morning to go and say hi. I didn’t know goats were as affectionate as they seem to be and I love them.”

Bristol-born actor Gamba Cole (Ben): “I love anytime that we’re in Bristol. We really wanted to make sure we showcased Bristol in every light. I think we’ve done a good job of that. When people approach me when I’m out and about, they talk about how much they love the show, and they always mention the roads that they recognise, the buildings they recognise, the art on the walls that they love. I think that’s really nice, because we wanted to make sure that the whole of Bristol felt a part of this story, it didn’t belong to the Outlaws, it belongs to Bristol.

“It’s amazing to film the series in Bristol, especially for me personally, having being born here, and having family here. It’s like a full circle moment for me, I’m grateful to be there. I love when we’re filming in places and areas that I grew up in. It’s really nice, and it always feels good to be back.”

The Outlaws series 3 begins 30th May on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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