'The Serpent' is the BBC's most popular new show since 'Normal People'

The Serpent has become BBC iPlayer’s most successful new show since the release of Normal People in April last year.

According to the BBC’s viewing figures, The Serpent has been streamed 31 million times across the series since its debut on the BBC’s streaming service. The first episode is also the most-streamed episode of anything on iPlayer across all genres since the adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel Normal People, with over 5.5 million streams on iPlayer so far.

When you include linear viewing, this means the first episode of The Serpent received a consolidated 30-day viewing figure of 9 million viewers across all screens. This is the highest figure for a new BBC title since The Salisbury Poisonings launched on the platform in June 2020. Episode 2 received an equally impressive total of 7.4 million consolidated viewers.

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, said: 'These exceptional figures for The Serpent are a testament to the power of telling the lesser-known, human side of a real-life story, and an exceptional creative team. It’s great to see The Serpent become such a hit, driven in no small part by phenomenal word-of-mouth from the British public watching the boxset on BBC iPlayer.’

The Serpent dramatises the real-life story of how conman and murderer Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahar Rahim) was brought to justice. Sobhraj was the chief suspect in unsolved murders of young Western travellers across the so-called “Hippie Trail” through India, Thailand and Nepal in 1975 and 1976. He subsequently became Interpol’s most-wanted man and was finally caught in 1976.

The Serpent launched on New Year’s Day on BBC One and concluded its eight-episode run on Sunday, February 14. The full series is available exclusively in the UK and Ireland on BBC iPlayer and will launch outside the UK and Ireland on Netflix at a later date. 

Martin Shore
Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin is a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produces a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows. 

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.