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'The Essex Serpent’ — all you need to know about the Victorian costume drama on Apple TV Plus

Claire Danes as Cora Seaborne in The Essex Serpent.
Claire Danes as Cora Seaborne in The Essex Serpent. (Image credit: Apple TV+)

The Essex Serpent is set to become the next period drama to get totally obsessed about! Based on Sarah Perry’s bestseller, The Essex Serpent goes back to the East of England in the 19th century and promises windswept Essex landscapes, plus plenty of Victorian superstitions. There's a top-notch cast, too, including Loki star Tom Hiddleston and Homeland’s Claire Danes.

So here’s everything you need to know about The Essex Serpent before it arrives on Apple TV Plus...

The Essex Serpent on Apple TV+ release date

No release date for The Essex Serpent has been confirmed by Apple TV+, but we expect the six-part drama to air some time in late 2021 or early 2022. 

The Essex Serpent on Apple TV+ — the plot

The Essex Serpent is set in 1893, and the six-parter follows newly-widowed Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes, see our main picture), who is finally freed from an abusive marriage when her husband dies. Keen to start afresh, Cora moves from London to the small Essex village of Aldwinter and becomes intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the 'Essex Serpent' has returned to the area.  Cora explores the rumours of this mythical sea dragon — a kind of dinosaur that survived extinction. But she soon clashes with the local vicar, Will Ransome (Tom Hiddleston), who’s determined to lay superstition to rest in his rural parish, dealing with the frightening rumours as they begin to spread throughout the community...

Is there a trailer for The Essex Serpent?

As filming only wrapped on The Essex Serpent in June, there’s no trailer as yet, but we’ll be sure to update as soon as one lands.

The Essex Serpent cast — Claire Danes as Cora Seaborne

Cora Seaborne is played by Hollywood actor Claire Danes after she took over from Keira Knightly, who had to drop out due to issues securing childcare during the pandemic. Claire is no stranger to top TV series either, having secured numerous awards as Carrie Mathison in eight series of Homeland. Her film credits also include Little Women, Romeo + Juliet, Les Miserables, The Hours and A Kid Like Jake.

The Essex Serpent cast — Tom Hiddleston as Will Ransome

Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent.

Tom Hiddleston in The Essex Serpent. (Image credit: Apple TV+)

Tom plays trusted community leader Will Ransome, who battles with Cora over her superstitious beliefs. The British star rose to international fame as Loki in the Thor and Avengers film franchises. He’s currently starring in the Disney+ series Loki, and also won many fans as Jonathan Pine in 2016 thriller The Night Manager.

Tom Hiddleston in "Loki" on Disney Plus.

Tom Hiddleston in Loki on Disney Plus. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Elizabeth Debicki and Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager.

Elizabeth Debicki and Tom Hiddleston in The Night Manager. (Image credit: BBC )

The Essex Serpent — who else is starring

Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston will be joined by The Tunnel, Birdsong and Harry Potter star Clemence Poesy as Will’s wife Stella Ransome. Other stars include Frank Dillane as Luke Garrett, Hayley Squires as Martha, and Jamael Westman as Dr George Spencer.

The Essex Serpent — locations and other news

Filming for The Essex Serpent began in February 2021 in London and a number of Essex locations including Alresford, Brightlingsea and North Fambridge. The Essex Serpent is directed by Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant, The Arbor), with Anna Symon (Deep Water, Mrs Wilson) adapting the novel into script form. 

The production has also been to Essex itself, with some outside scenes filmed at Promenade Park in in Maldon. Film crews were on site making the area look like it was straight out of the 1800s. Large white marquees also were erected in the park.

The Essex Serpent — all about author Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent is the second novel by 41-year-old Essex-born author Sarah Perry and was published in 2016 to rave reviews. It went on to be nominated for the 2016 Costa Book Awards and was named Waterstones Book Of The Year 2016. Perry has also written After Me Comes the Flood (2014) and gothic novel Melmoth (2018.)

How To watch The Essex Serpent on Apple TV+

To watch The Essex Serpent when it arrives on Apple TV+ you'll need to subscribe to Apple TV+ which costs $4.99 a month in the US after a 7 day free trial and is available on most major streaming services, including Apple products, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, and on the web.  You can get one year free if you buy an eligible Apple device.

Apple TV+ is currently £4.99 a month in the UK after a free 7-day trial. You can get one year free if you buy an eligible Apple device. The app is already pre-loaded if you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac. You can also download the app onto your television. To see if your television is supported by the service go to the apps section on your television and find the Apple TV app.