FIRST LOOK: Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson trades the corset for a high-vis vest as she joins co-stars Christopher Walken and Stephen Merchant on the set of The Offenders
A quiet Bristol park served as the unlikely setting for a star-studded new drama on Tuesday as filming commenced on the set of forthcoming BBC series The Offenders.
Eleanor Tomlinson, best known for her role as Demelza in raunchy period romp Poldark, led the way – but the petticoats and corsets were traded for a high-visibility vest as she prepared to carry out community service as Gabby, one of the show’s central characters.
Clutching a takeaway coffee and a hot water bottle, the actress, 28, appeared to be in high spirits as she relaxed on set with American star Christopher Walken – who takes on his first British TV role after decades of Hollywood success.
The celebrated actor, 78, will play morally questionable Frank, an ageing rogue who desperately attempts to make amends with his family.
Making his way across the exterior set, Walken ensured he stayed safe by concealing his mouth and nose behind a protective face covering.
Stephen Merchant, who serves as writer and director on the new show, was also seen taking precautionary measures by wearing a plastic visor.
The Extras star takes an added role his new show as Greg, a lonely lawyer who is struggling to deal with a messy divorce, workplace bullying and “scary men with knives”.
Discussing his forthcoming series, Merchant – who comes from Bristol, where the show is based – admitted production was initially hampered by the spread of coronavirus in 2020.
He told The Sun: ‘Like so many other productions, we’d just begun filming when COVID-19 struck and we had to shut-down.
‘I’m delighted that we’re now finally able to resume filming with this incredible cast and finish this long-standing passion project.
‘This is the first series I’ve made in my hometown of Bristol and I’m so excited to showcase the city and utilise the amazing local talent.’
Filming ground to a halt after just 12 days due to health concerns, but work has since continued in earnest as Britain’s third national lockdown starts to ease.
It’s understood that the BBC has already commissioned a second series of the show – – before the first has even finished post-production.
The broadcaster’s demand means both series’ one and two are being filmed back-to-back in Merchant’s native Somerset, with award winning production company Big Talk charged with putting it together. The show is being pr
Reflecting on the BBC’s unorthodox decision to commission a second series before gauging the popularity of the first, Big Talk boss Kenton Allen told Deadline: ‘We said, “We’ll write Season 2 if you commission Season 2”.
‘We were able to rewrite Season 1 to reflect what we know is going to happen to the characters in Season 2. We were able to deepen it and layer it.’
The new show will also star Darren Boyd, Gamba Cole, Rhianne Barreto and Clare Perkins.