BBC One has released first-look images of its new crime thriller The Serpent, which is set to debut later this year.
The six-part drama, which is inspired by real events, tells the story of how French serial killer Charles Sobhraj was eventually captured by international authorities in the 1970s and features a star-studded cast.
French actor Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower) stars as Sobhraj, alongside Jenna Coleman (Victoria, The Cry) as his partner Marie-Andrée Leclerc. Billy Howle (On Chesil Beach) plays Herman Knippenberg – a junior diplomat based at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok – who seeks to bring Sobhraj to justice, while Ellie Bamber (The Trial of Christine Keeler) plays the role of his wife, Angela.
The drama follows Sobhraj, the chief suspect in a series of unsolved murders of young Western travellers across Asia, as he repeatedly slips the grasp of the authorities worldwide to become Interpol’s most wanted man.
Knippenberg unwittingly walks into the suspect’s intricate web of crime and sets off “an extraordinary chain of events that saw Knippenberg seek to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes”.
Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay – the writers behind BBC One’s Ripper Street – penned the crime drama, which is a joint production between BBC One and Netflix.
The series is directed by Tom Shankland (Les Misérables miniseries) and Hans Herbots (Sky One’s Riviera), and was filmed on location in Thailand.
The cast also features Tim McInnerny, Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit and Fabien Frankel in key roles across the series.
The Serpent will air on BBC One later this year
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Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber have also joined the eight-part drama, starring Tahar Rahim as one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century.
Jenna Coleman (Victoria, Doctor Who), Billy Howle (MotherFatherSon, Dunkirk) and Ellie Bamber (Les Misérables, Nocturnal Animals) have been cast in lead roles in the upcoming Netflix/BBC crime drama The Serpent.
Filming has begun on the Mammoth Screen-produced series, which will see Tahar Rahim play Charles Sobhraj, one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century.
Coleman will play Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, with Howle and Bamber cast as Herman and Angela Knippenberg.
Charles Sobhraj (Rahim) was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travelers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s “Hippie Trail” in 1975 and 1976. Psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise, having slipped repeatedly from the grasp of authorities worldwide, by 1976 serial killer Sobhraj was Interpol’s most wanted man and had arrest warrants on three different continents.
When Herman Knippenberg (Howle), a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will see Knippenberg seek to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes.
Also among the cast are Alice Englert (Top of the Lake), Mathilde Warnier (The Widow), Gregoire Isvarine (The Inside Game), Sahajak Boonthanakit (Only God Forgives), Fabien Frankel (Last Christmas), Chicha Amatayakul (Girl From Nowhere), Surasak Chaiyaat (Love Destiny), Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis (National Treasure), Armand Rosbak (De Slet van 6 vwo), Ellie de Lange (Keizersvrouwen), Ilker Kaleli (Poyraz Karayel) and screen newcomer Amesh Edireweera in key roles across the series.
The Serpent is an eight-part limited series. Commissioned by BBC One, it is produced by Mammoth Screen and is a co-production between BBC One and Netflix. It is written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay, directed by Tom Shankland and Hans Herbots and executive produced by Richard Warlow, Tom Shankland, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Lucy Richer for the BBC and will be handled by Carolyn Newman for Netflix. Mammoth Screen is part of ITV Studios.
The series is filming on location in Thailand and will premiere on BBC One in the U.K. and on Netflix outside of the U.K. and Ireland.