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Jenna Coleman and Billy Howle lead the cast for new BBC One drama The Serpent

They'll star alongside Ellie Bamber and Tahar Rahim in the new crime drama which will be shown on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.


The series, currently filming on location in Thailand has been written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay and is based on the astonishing true story of how one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century was caught and brought to trial.


Tahar Rahim play Charles Sobrhaj who was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers 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.

Coleman plays Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, whilst Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber play Herman and Angela Knippenberg.


When Herman Knippenberg, 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.

Speaking about joining the cast, Coleman said "The Serpent intoxicated me into the dark seductive world of Charles Sobhraj. I’m so looking forward to delving into hippie trail depths and bringing to life this unfathomable real life story alongside Tahar, Billy, Ellie, Tom, Richard and the wonderful cast and production team for the BBC and Netflix.”


Billy Howle said “When I heard about the story behind The Serpent, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. What an interesting role, in a fascinating story, with a brilliant team behind it - shooting in such a great part of the world, as well. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this project.”

Whilst Ellie Bamber added “I’m so honoured to join forces with Billy, Jenna, Tahar and The Serpent’s incredibly accomplished cast and production team. Discovering the Knippenbergs’ story has been every bit as inspiring as it is fascinating.”

Executive producer for Mammoth Screen, Preethi Mavahalli said “I’m delighted that Richard and Toby’s exceptional scripts for The Serpent have attracted a cast of such extraordinary calibre. As we begin filming all the elements are in place to respectfully bring Herman Knippenberg’s brave and determined story to the screen.”

Other cast members include Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Fabien Frankel, Chicha Amatayakul, Surasak Chaiyaat, Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis, Armand Rosbak, Ellie de Lange, Ilker Kaleli and screen newcomer Amesh Edireweera.

The Serpent will air on BBC One

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