Stephen Merchant has been spotted filming a scene for his highly anticipated new BBC One series in Bristol.
Footage sent in by a Bristol Live reader shows the Bristol-born actor and director having a fleeting discussion with two smartly-dressed actors as they pass him on a yacht.
Cameras and boom microphones can be seen pointed at both Merchant and the on-board actors, as the scene unfolded next to Grain Barge on Hotwell Road yesterday evening (May 6).
The scene will feature in The Offenders, Merchant’s new series which follows seven strangers from different walks of life forced together to complete a Community Payback sentence in Bristol.
Filming for the comedy-drama – which stars Academy Award winner Christopher Walken – has taken place at various locations across the city, including Clifton Village and College Green, where a huge mock protest was staged.
Merchant plays Greg, who is described as a “lonely lawyer coping with divorce, workplace bullying and scary men with knives”.
The person who shared the footage, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “I’ve noticed that there have been a few productions happening around Bristol lately.
“As I stumbled across this one yesterday I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it was Bristol legend Stephen Merchant.
“They’ve been filming on the harbour for a few days now going back and forth on a yacht. It was only a matter of minutes before a crowd started to gather.”
The yacht which is seen in the one-minute clip has been moored next to The Arnolfini for the past week.
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The Offenders’ star-studded cast also includes Killing Eve’s Darren Boyd, Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson and Eastenders’ Clare Perkins alongside Walken and Merchant.
The six-parter – which will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK – began filming shortly before the coronavirus pandemic began before resuming in autumn.
Speaking to the BBC about the series, Merchant said: “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.”
As the production is taking place during the current pandemic, additional controls are being implemented by the production team, with “comprehensive protocols” to ensure the series is produced in a “safe and responsible manner”.
An exact release date for The Offenders is not yet known.