Eleanor Tomlinson on Stephen Merchant's new comedy drama The Outlaws

Virgin Radio

28 Oct 2021, 09:28

Eleanor Tomlinson joined the Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose to talk all about the launch of a new comedy drama called ‘The Outlaws’.

Graham told Eleanor he "laughed out loud" at the show, which he described as "properly funny" to the Poldark star's relief.

The Outlaws focuses on seven people from different walks of life who are carrying out community service sentences. They have been tasked with cleaning up and renovating a derelict building in Bristol.

Eleanor explained: “I play Lady Gabriella Penrose-Howe. They all have a different backstory as to why they're there.”

She explained the appeal of the show: “Everybody nowadays is so worried about being politically correct, that it sort of makes fun of that in many ways. It's hilarious, because it's outrageous! I think it's a kind of comedy that you don't see an awful lot of anymore.”

Eleanor added: “There's also this really dark storyline that runs through it. Each character is so well shaped by Stephen Merchant, the writer, and Elgin James. I'm incredibly excited about it.”

Lady Gabriella is something of an Instagram star, which was somewhat awkward for self-confessed technophobe Eleanor who laughed: “I'm the most untechnical person on the planet, I think. So for a character who's obsessed with Instagram on their phone, I really was absolutely clueless. I was having to ask different members of the crew how to how to make it work, how to make it seem natural.”

Also starring in the show is Hollywood superstar Christopher Walken, and Eleanor confessed she was unsurprisingly starstruck in his presence: “My jaw was just on the floor!” she laughed. “Whenever I was in his presence, I would just kind of stare at him and completely lose the ability to speak. I wasn't very cool, unfortunately.”

The first series started this week, but it turns out that they have already got a second series in the bag: “There's six episodes, and we did two series back to back. So it was an incredibly long shoot, we've been working on it for over a year.”

Graham asked if she had just let the cat out of the bag, saying: “Oh, my goodness, I interviewed Stephen on Friday night. I didn't know that. Is that a secret?”

“No, it's not a secret!” she insisted. “We're not sure when the second will be released. I think it’s incredibly amazing. I think it's really a testament to his writing that they would commission a series two off the back.”

Filming throughout a pandemic is no mean feat, especially when things were shut down, and Eleanor wondered how on earth Stephen “didn’t just pull his hair out.” The team ended up staying in Bristol for the best part of a year to film both series.

She joked that Stephen didn’t always make everything easy, as she shared a lot of scenes with him. “He would come up to me and he'd say, ‘Well, I want to change all of these lines’ and I'd be like ‘I spent a week learning them! You're doing this to me now?” she laughed.

“It was lovely. It was just really great to have the free rein to be able to really make the character my own and to just have that fun to be able to play with it, and with him.”

The Outlaws is on BBC One on Monday at 9pm.