The Outlaws star Rhianne Barreto has said that Hollywood legend Christopher Walken's absence was felt in season 3.


The world-famous actor surprised fans by joining the BBC drama in 2021, where he played the enigmatic loner Frank, con man and estranged father of Margaret (Dolly Wells), who winds up doing community service in Bristol.

The character plays a major role across seasons 1 and 2, which were filmed back-to-back, but has a greatly reduced presence in the third outing, with first-look photos suggesting his character will be found working in a café (see above).

At a Q&A to mark the launch of The Outlaws season 3, creator Stephen Merchant said that Walken's smaller role can be explained largely by the Screen Actors Guild strike, as well as the actor's busy slate of other projects.

"Although the [SAG strike] didn't impact us, it did impact American actors," said Merchant. "They weren't allowed to come over during that. Of course, that hit right when we were filming. That did make life tricky for us.

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"He is back, but it was hard to fit him in with all the other things he was doing and the strike."

Speaking exclusively to, actor Rhianne Barreto (who plays troublemaker Rani Rekowski) reflected on filming The Outlaws season 3 without Walken on set.

"I wish he was around more, and his absence was totally felt," she began. "Especially as season 1 and 2 was filmed all together, so we never got to have the special feeling of doing a series, it being received [well], and then coming back.

"There's a specificity to that experience that we weren't afforded... so I would have loved to have spoken to him about it and kind of shared in the critical and public acclaim of those last two seasons."

Rani takes off her coat hood, with blood splattered across her hands and face
Rhianne Barreto in The Outlaws season 3. BBC / Big Talk / Alistair Heap

Barreto added: "But yeah, he's just amazing. I think my character, especially in the first season, is a bit in awe of everyone. And so it was easy to act with him... because it was just easy to access awe, which is how Rani felt with him and how I felt with Chris Walken."

The Outlaws season 3 sees Rani, last seen ditching love interest Ben (Gamba Cole) in Weston-super-Mare, suddenly returns to Bristol – with a dead body in her car.

In addition to Merchant, Walken and Cole, The Outlaws cast also includes Clare Perkins, Darren Boyd, Eleanor Tomlinson and Jessica Gunning, with Barreto saying she feels "really, really lucky" to be part of the esteemed ensemble.

The Outlaws returns Thursday 30th May on BBC One and iPlayer.


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