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The Essex Serpent: Release date, cast and plot for Apple TV+ show

Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes star in the adaptation of Sarah Perry's novel of the same name.

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent
Apple TV+
Published: Thursday, 28th April 2022 at 5:00 pm

When Hollywood royalty meets a bestselling book, you're near guaranteed a hit on your hands – and presumably, that's exactly what Apple TV+ is hoping for with their new drama, The Essex Serpent, starring Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston.

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Set in Victorian England, the series is directed by Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant), and is adapted from Sarah Perry's bestselling novel by Anna Symon (Deep Water).

The official synopsis for the period drama reads: "The Essex Serpent follows London widow Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) who moves to Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent.

"She forms an unlikely bond with the village vicar (Tom Hiddleston), but when tragedy strikes, locals accuse her of attracting the creature."

Meanwhile The Essex Serpent trailer teases a potential extramarital affair between vicar Will (Hiddlestone) and Cora (Danes), as the married Will declares: "I can't think clearly when I'm around you."

Read on for everything you need to know about The Essex Serpent.

When is The Essex Serpent released?

The Essex Serpent will premiere on Apple TV+ on Friday 13th May.

The first episode of The Essex Serpent will air at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival 2022, as well as a panel discussion with the author of the original book Sarah Perry, director Clio Barnard and cast members. Tickets are on sale now here.

The Essex Serpent plot

Newly-widowed Cora (Claire Danes) arrives at the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, ready for a fresh start after her husband's death released her from an abusive marriage.

She soon becomes intrigued by a local superstition about a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent that has allegedly returned to the area.

Meanwhile, trusted community leader and vicar Will Ransom (Tom Hiddleston) has to deal with the mysterious rumours as they begin to spread.

Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent
Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent Apple TV+

The Essex Serpent cast

The series is teeming with star talent, led by Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston. Though movie stars in their own right, neither is new to the world of television, with Danes having racked up awards for eight seasons of Homeland, while Hiddleston gave an acclaimed performance in BBC's The Night Manager.

Other cast members of The Essex Serpent included Cleménce Poésy (Tenet) – who'll play Stella Ransom, wife of Will and close friend of Cora – Frank Dillane (Fear the Walking Dead), Hayley Squires (Adult Material) and Jamael Westman (Anne Boleyn).

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Hayley Squires
Hayley Squires (Getty)

The Essex Serpent trailer

You can watch the trailer for The Essex Serpent here.

The Essex Serpent arrives on Apple TV+ on Friday 13th May. Find out how to sign up for Apple TV+ here, check out our Drama hub for more news, interviews and features or find something to watch with our TV Guide.

The latest issue of Radio Times is on sale now – subscribe now to get each issue delivered to your door. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

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