Jenna Coleman joins BBC One crime thriller The Serpent

Doctor Who and Victoria star will play a serial killer's accomplice

Jenna Coleman

Jenna Coleman will play the accomplice of one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century in a new BBC thriller series.

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The Serpent will dramatise the true-life story of Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahar Rahim), 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.

Doctor Who and Victoria actress Coleman will play Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice.

Also cast in The Serpent are Billy Howle (MotherFatherSon) as Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok who unwittingly walks into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, with Ellie Bamber (Les Miserables) playing Angela Knippenberg.

Billy Howle in MotherFatherSon
Billy Howle in MotherFatherSon
BBC

On joining the series, Jenna 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 [Shankland, director], Richard [Warlow, co-writer and executive producer] and the wonderful cast and production team for the BBC and Netflix.”

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Filming has now begun on The Serpent, an eight-part limited series for BBC One and Netflix from producers Mammoth Screen. Written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay, it will shoot on location in Thailand.