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Christopher Walken in the BBC’s The Outlaws
Christopher Walken in the BBC’s The OutlawsCourtesy of BBC, Big Talk, and Four Eyes

Christopher Walken has deliberately destroyed an original Banksy

The Pulp Fiction star obliterated a rat motif by the graffiti artist with a layer of magnolia

Christopher Walken has destroyed an original Banksy artwork on the production of a new BBC comedy-drama series. The Outlaws, co-starring and written by The Office co-writer Stephen Merchant, is set in Bristol and follows the story of a group of outcasts compelled to work on the renovation of a community centre as part of their community service.

In the final episode of the six-part show, the group are cleaning up a graffiti-covered wall when Walken’s character discovers Bansky’s stencilled rat motif and, after being ordered to paint over it by his community service officer, the Pulp Fiction star uses a roller to obliterate the valuable artwork with a layer of magnolia paint. 

A spokesperson for the show has verified the authenticity of the graffiti. A recent statement confirmed the rumours: “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.” 

They also revealed that the Bristolian artist was complicit in the scheme. “The creative team came up with the dream scenario and got in touch with the artist’s representatives in the faint hope that he might help them.” Once on set, the crew realised Banksy had visited and left a memento. “Then they discovered shortly afterwards that he’d been to the location where they were filming and left something behind. They couldn’t believe their luck as he’d painted a giant rat using his hallmark stencilling technique as well as his distinctive signature.'

Apparently, the elusive artist gifted the work to the show on one condition. The show’s spokesperson added: “His only stipulation was that they really did paint over it – and it would be his hero Christopher holding the roller.”

The Outlaws is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer. Meanwhile, take a look at the gallery above to revisit some of the artworks featured in Banksy’s A Great British Spraycation.