Star announced for ‘Ripper Street’ creator’s 1970s true crime drama ‘The Serpent’

More details have emerged on the BBC’s brand new crime drama from the writer of Ripper Street.

Set in the 1970s, The Serpent is based on the phenomenal true story of how one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century was caught and brought to trial.

The official synopsis reads: “Charles Sobhraj was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal through 1975 and 1976.

“Psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise, having slipped repeatedly from the grasp of authorities worldwide, by 1976 serial killer Sobhraj was Interpol’s most wanted man and had arrest warrants on three different continents.

“When Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walks into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will see these two diametrically opposed men engaged in a chase across the porous borders of the Hippie Trail, as Knippenberg seeks to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes.”

The Serpent was announced in 2017 and comes from the makers of Poldark and Endeavour.

It was revealed this week that award-winning French actor Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower, A Prophet) will star as Charles in the eight-part series.

Rahim commented: “I am thrilled to play Charles Sobhraj in The Serpent, a role I have dreamed of portraying since I read a book about him when I was seventeen years old.”

Executive producer Preethi Mavahalli added: “It is an absolute honour to have Tahar Rahim, one of France’s finest actors, join us in bringing this extraordinary story of the notorious French serial killer Charles Sobhraj to screen.”

The Serpent is expected to premiere in 2020 on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix internationally.

Directed by Tom Shankland (Les Miserables, The Missing) and written by Ripper Street creator Richard Warlow, the series begins filming later this year.

Ripper Street is available on DVD on Amazon.