Jenna Coleman to star in deadly new crime drama

She will appear opposite Billy Howle in The Serpent.

Jenna Coleman will star opposite Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber in crime drama The Serpent.

Filming has begun on the eight-part BBC One thriller, which will feature Tahar Rahim as Charles Sobrhaj, one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century.

Victoria actress Coleman will play Marie-Andree Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, while Howle and Bamber have been cast as Herman and Angela Knippenberg respectively.

Billy Howle
Billy Howle (Matt Crossick/PA)

Sobhraj was the 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.

Described as a “psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise”, who repeatedly slipped the grasp of authorities worldwide, he was Interpol’s most wanted man by 1976 and had arrest warrants issued on three different continents.

The drama will see Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walk into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, and set off a chain of events that will see him try to bring Sobhraj to justice.

Ellie Bamber
Ellie Bamber (Ian West/PA)

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, Richard and the wonderful cast and production team for the BBC and Netflix.”

Howle added: “When I heard about the story behind The Serpent, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

“What an interesting role, in a fascinating story, with a brilliant team behind it – shooting in such a great part of the world, as well. I feel really fortunate to be a part of this project.”

The series, produced by Mammoth Film, is filming on location in Thailand and will premiere on BBC One in the UK, and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.

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