Stephen Merchant says Banksy 'hopped fence' to paint rat on set for BBC show The Outlaws

The artwork before it was destroyed by Walken Credit: Big Talk/Four Eyes'/PA Wire

Comedian Stephen Merchant has spoken about the moment a Hollywood actor painted over a real like Banksy.

Christopher Walken stars in Stephen Merchant’s new BBC One show The Outlaws, which follows the lives of seven strangers on community service.

It was filmed and is set in Bristol, and the final episode shows the characters painting over a graffitied wall.

In one of the scenes, Walken paints over the iconic rat with a spray can Banksy artwork - and it was an authentic Banksy piece.

Christopher Walken’s character Frank paints over the piece of art done by Banksy for The Outlaws. Credit: BBC

Posting on Twitter to explain what happened, Merchant said: "People are asking me did Christopher Walken paint over a real Banksy for your TV show - yes he did.

"Here's what happened. I made contact with Banksy and I asked him if he would graffiti something on our set which we could then paint over so that it would only exist in the TV show itself.

"He said yes, I sent him our address, and the next thing I know the sneaky little ba****d has come over the back fence and stenciled a rat without anybody noticing on to our set.

  • WARNING: Contains strong language

"No one saw him do it, didn't know when he was coming, just found it one morning 'oh my god there it is' so I covered it up, we kept it hidden from the cast and the crew until the actual day of filming when I went to Chris Walken's trailer and I said 'Chris, how do you feel this morning painting over a real life Banksy?' And he was up for it."

He added the cast and crew kept it a secret until now and thanked Banksy and viewers of the programme.