Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning talks return to hit show in a very different role

Jessica Gunning as Diane in The Outlaws
Jessica Gunning as Diane in The Outlaws (BBC / Big Talk)

Jessica Gunning is returning to our screens in the third season of the hit BBC comedy-drama, The Outlaws – but this time around, the star took on a new role as a writer on the show.

The Baby Reindeer actress, who plays Community Payback Officer Diane, spoke to HELLO! and other press along with the rest of the cast ahead of series three.

"It's such a great ensemble show and we all know the characters so well now and I was lucky enough to be invited into the writers' room this time around, so I got to see behind the scenes of it," said the star, who co-wrote episode five of the new season alongside her co-star, creator Stephen Merchant.

"It was so great to see the care and consideration that gets taken into mapping out the whole journey and how well all the writers know the characters," continued the 38-year-old. "Watching Stephen at work and how incredibly detailed and intricate it is to weave all those things, especially when you're doing a crime/thriller/comedy. It was amazing to watch."

Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws
Jessica Gunning as Diane in The Outlaws (BBC)

On bringing Jessica onto the writing team, Stephen said: "Jess had written a film script that I'd read and very much enjoyed, so I'd seen she was a writer and could write.

"She was just so enthusiastic about the show and has a great instinct for a story. It was great to have her involved," he added.

You may also like

For those unfamiliar with the series, it's set in Bristol and follows a group of lawbreakers from different walks of life who are forced together to complete a community payback sentence.

The show follows a group of lawbreakers on community payback service (Big Talk/Alistair Heap/BBC)

In series three, Diane is now a fully qualified PCSO and training up eager proteìgeì, Stan (Harry Trevaldwyn).

Elsewhere in the series, the Outlaws have happily moved on with their lives, with crime boss The Dean now behind bars and awaiting trial following the events of series two. But when one of the gang turns up with a deadly secret, they're all put in mortal danger.

Stan (HARRY TREVALDWYN), Diane (JESS GUNNING) in The Outlaws
Diane is training up eager proteìgeì, Stan (Alistair Heap/Big Talk/BBC)

"As a murder manhunt closes in on the gang, can they prove their innocence before The Dean's case collapses, and he comes looking for revenge?" asks the synopsis.

Starring alongside Jessica and Stephen are returning cast members Rhianne Barreto (No Escape, Hanna) as Rani, Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, Hanna) as Ben, Darren Boyd (Killing Eve, Trying) as John, Clare Perkins (Silo, The Wheel of Time) as Myrna, and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, One Day) as Lady Gabby.

Rhianne Barreto a Rani in The Outlaws
Rhianne Barreto as Rani in series 3 (Big Talk/Alistair Heap/BBC)

Charles Babalola (Black Mirror, Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation) also returns as Malaki, alongside Tom Hanson (Brassic) as Spencer and Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Dune: Part Two) as Frank.

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