Updated on 17 December: It’s been a wee while since we had a meaty true crime series to sink our teeth into, hasn’t it? Thankfully, the BBC is serving up a star-studded serial killer drama alongside all its usual festive fare over the Christmas and New Year break.
And, judging by the first proper trailer for The Serpent (which dropped today, and can be found below), it’s everything we’ve been hoping for and more.
Here’s what you need to know about the must-watch show,
What is The Serpent about?
The eight-part series is based on the remarkable true story of how international serial killer Charles Sobhraj (nicknamed “The Serpent” and “The Bikini Killer”) was captured and put on trial in 1976.
“As the chief suspect in unsolved murders of young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s ‘Hippie Trail’ in 1975 and 1976, Sobhraj had repeatedly slipped from the grasp of authorities worldwide to become Interpol’s most wanted man, with arrest warrants on three different continents,” reads the BBC’s synopsis.
“But when Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walked into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he set off an extraordinary chain of events that saw Knippenberg seek to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes.”
Is there a trailer for The Serpent?
The BBC has released a trailer for The Serpent, and it looks really bloody good.
Check it out:
Who stars in the cast of The Serpent?
Tahar Rahim, whom you may recognise from Netflix’s The Eddy, will portray murderer Charles Sobhraj. Doctor Who and Victoria actor Jenna Coleman, meanwhile, will play the role of Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, Marie-Andrée Leclerc.
Herman Knippenberg will be portrayed by Billy Howle, and Ellie Bamber will play Angela Knippenberg.
If that isn’t enough starpower for you, The Serpent also boasts the acting talents of Tim McInnerny, Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit.
What are people saying about The Serpent?
As reported on 2 December: Speaking about her role in the drama, Coleman says: “The Serpent intoxicated me into the dark seductive world of Charles Sobhra.
“I’m so looking forward to delving into hippie trail depths and bringing to life this unfathomable real life story.”
Howle adds: “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, and shooting in such a great part of the world, as well. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this project.”
And Bamber says: “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.
When is The Serpent on TV?
Consider The Serpent your perfect antidote to all that festive TV, as it’s due to begin on New Year’s Day at 9pm on BBC One.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.