Keen-eyed viewers will have spotted one of Banksy’s trademark rats on the set of the BBC Three TV drama The Outlaws, before veteran actor Christopher Walken actually painted over it as part of the storyline.
The show was filmed and set in the anonymous artist’s home city of Bristol. As part of an agreement, Bansky left his mark on a wall of the set. It was then painted over by Walken’s character for a scene in the final episode, which was released on BBC iPlayer this Wednesday (November 11).
“We can confirm that the artwork at the end of The Outlaws was an original Banksy, and that Christopher Walken painted over that artwork during the filming of this scene, ultimately destroying it,” a spokesperson for the show said.
The Outlaws was written and directed by Stephen Merchant, who also stars in the show. Alongside Merchant, Walken, Eleanor Tomlinson and Clare Perkins are just some of those making up the group of minor criminals refurbishing a run-down building for their community service.
The final episode sees Walken’s character uncover the Banksy rat and two spray cans behind some wooden boards, and ask his supervisor if he should paint over it.
The dopey probation officer, played by Jessica Gunning, is looking the other way and doesn’t realise it’s a Banksy work, and tells him all graffiti must be painted over, so he does.
Banksy works often go for massive sums. His iconic Love In The Bin sold for £16 million at an auction last month. He also made headlines in September, when a piece he painted on the side of a shop in Lowestoft, Suffolk, added £200, 000 to the building’s worth.
Watch the trailer for The Outlaws below.