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The Serpent on BBC1 - release date, cast, plot and everything you need to know

The Serpent
(Image credit: BBC/© Mammoth Screen/iStock)

The Serpent on BBC1 will bring 2021 in with a bang...

The Serpent on BBC1 promises to be one of the highlights of the Christmas TV schedule this year, bringing to life a remarkable serial killer story, inspired by real-life events.

Heading to our screens at New Year, The Serpent will see TV favourite Jenna Coleman leading the cast alongside renowned French actor Tahar Rahim.

Here is everything you need to know about the new series...

The Serpent on BBC1 release date - when will it air?

The eight-part series will premiere on BBC1 on New Year's Day at 9pm. Each of the eight episodes will be an hour long.

The Serpent

Former Emmerdale star, Jenna Coleman, will be playing Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Picture: BBC/Mammoth Screen) (Image credit: BBC/¬© Mammoth Screen)

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What’s the plot of The Serpent?

The Serpent tells the astonishing true story of Charles Sobhraj, a serial killer (nicknamed The Serpent) who targeted Western travellers during the 70s and became one of Interpol’s most wanted men.

Psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise, Charles Sobhraj was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers on the 'hippie trail' across India, Thailand and Nepal between 1975 and 1976.

The Serpent

Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber play Herman and Angela Knippenberg (Picture: BBC/Mammoth Screen) (Image credit: BBC/© Mammoth Screen)

One of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century, Charles Sobhraj repeatedly slipped from the grasp of authorities worldwide and by 1976 he had arrest warrants on three different continents.

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.

Who’s in the cast of The Serpent?

Award-winning French actor Tahar Rahim plays murderer Charles Sobhraj.

Emmerdale, Doctor Who and Victoria actress Jenna Coleman appears as his partner (and accomplice) Marie-Andrée Leclerc.

The Serpent

Real life crime drama The Serpent is coming to our screens on New year's Day (Picture: BBC/Mammoth Screen) (Image credit: BBC/Mammoth Screen)

Billy Howle plays Herman Knippenberg who fights to bring Sobhraj to justice, while Ellie Bamber plays his wife, Angela.

The Serpent also features Tim McInnerny, Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, and Gregoire Isvarine.

Also starring are Sahajak Boonthanakit, Fabien Frankel and Chicha Amatayakul.

Surasak Chaiyaat, Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis, Armand Rosbak, Ellie de Lange, Ilker Kaleli and screen newcomer Amesh Edireweera also play key roles.

Is there a trailer?

While there is no official trailer for The Serpent at the moment, the drama is featured in the BBC reel for new shows appearing in 2020.

What else do we know?

The Serpent, written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay and directed by Tom Shankland and Hans Herbots was filmed on location in Thailand.

The Serpent will start on New Year's Day on BBC1 at 9pm - see our TV Guide for more Christmas dramas not to be missed.