There was terror on the traveller trail in the 1970s when a ruthless killer began picking off young Westerners visiting India, Thailand and Nepal.

New BBC thriller The Serpent, featuring Victoria star Jenna Coleman, is inspired by these true events.

Here’s all you need to know about The Serpent, including when it’s on TV and who will be joining Jenna on screen.

When is The Serpent on TV?

Although there’s no definite air date for the eight-episode series yet, some first-look images have been revealed from the shoot in Thailand.

The Serpent will air on BBC One later this year, and will be available to view on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.

Who stars in the series?

Leading the cast of The Serpent are Tahar Rahim and Jenna Coleman as murderer Charles Sobhraj and his partner Marie-Andree Leclerc (pictured above).

Jenna is best known for her roles in Victoria, Doctor Who, and The Cry, while Tahar has previously starred in A Prophet and The Looming Tower.

They’ll star alongside Billy Howle (MotherFatherSon, On Chesil Beach) and Ellie Bamber (The Trial of Christine Keeler, Les Miserables) as Herman and Angela Knippenberg, below, who become caught up in the web of crime.


The Serpent also features Tim McInnerny, Alice Englert, Mathilde Warnier, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Fabien Frankel, Chicha Amatayakul, Surasak Chaiyaat, Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis, Armand Rosbak, Ellie de Lange, Ilker Kaleli and screen newcomer Amesh Edireweera in key roles.

What is the true story behind The Serpent?

The Serpent follows the true crime story of a terrifying killer who haunted the infamous Hippie Trail of the 1970s.

Western travellers heading to India, Thailand and Nepal would usually follow the same route as they explored each country, but the trail was a dangerous place in 1975 and 1976 after a number of young people were killed while on their dream trip.

Chief suspect in the murders was Charles Sobhraj, but as he continued to evade the grasp of police, he became Interpol’s most wanted man and had arrest warrants out on three different continents.

BBC One’s new series will dramatise the eventual capture of Sobhraj, a remarkable story about how he was finally brought to justice.

When Herman Knippenberg became a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, he unwittingly walked into Sobhraj’s web of crime and became intent on bringing the killer to justice through an extraordinary series of events.

The Serpent will air on BBC One and Netflix later this year.