First look at Tom Hiddleston’s new Victorian drama ‘The Essex Serpent’

Filming is underway on Apple’s adaptation of The Essex Serpent.

Based on Sarah Perry’s 2016 novel, the upcoming mini-series’s cast is led by Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston.

The Essex Serpent follows newly widowed Cora (Danes) who, having being released from an abusive marriage, relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area.

Homeland star Claire Danes took over the role of Cora from Keira Knightley after she departed the project earlier this year.

Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager) is playing Will Ransome, the trusted leader of a small rural community.

Perry’s novel has been adapted by screenwriter Anna Symon, who previously wrote Mrs Wilson for the BBC, as well as episodes of Indian Summers.

The Essex Serpent began filming in Essex, England last month.

The series will premiere exclusively on Apple TV+ later this year.

The official synopsis for the book reads: “London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was an unhappy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space, she leaves the metropolis for coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year-old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

“Once there, they hear rumors that after nearly three hundred years, the mythical Essex Serpent, a fearsome creature that once roamed the marshes, has returned. When a young man is mysteriously killed on New Year’s Eve, the community’s dread transforms to terror. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, certain that what locals think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species.

“Eager to investigate, she is introduced to parish vicar William Ransome, who is equally suspicious of the rumors but for different reasons: a man of faith, he is convinced the alarming reports are caused by moral panic, a flight from the correct and righteous path. As Cora and William attempt to discover the truth about the Essex Serpent’s existence, these seeming opposites find themselves inexorably drawn together in an intense relationship that will change both of them in ways entirely unexpected. And as they search for answers, Cora’s London past follows her to the coast, with striking consequences.”

Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent is available on Amazon.