The Serpent: Jenna Colman discusses learning French
All eight episodes of The Serpent are available to stream and download on the BBC iPlayer now. Alternatively, you can catch each episode every Sunday evening on BBC One. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know about the gripping new series.
Where is The Serpent set?
The Serpent is a harrowing dramatisation of the life and crimes of French serial killer, thief and fraudster Charles Sobhraj (played by Tahir Rahim).
The series follows the cat and mouse chase between Dutch junior diplomat turned unofficial detective, Herman Knippenberg (Billy Howle) and Sobhraj, who is investigating the case of a missing young Dutch couple in Bangkok.
The series begins with Sobhraj in Paris, giving an interview to a US reporter about his time in prison in India between 1976 and 1997 for the murder of Frenchman, Jean-Luc Solomon.
The remainder of the series is set in Asia, mainly in Bangkok, Thailand and some scenes are set in Nepal, India and Malaysia, known as the Hippie Trail.
The Hippie Trail was the overland route between Europe and Asia, mainly through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, ending in Thailand.
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It was along this route where the majority of Sobhraj’s victims would be found.
Sobhraj was known as The Serpent, Bikini Killer and the Splitting Killer and is believed to have killed more than a dozen people across southeast Asia.
He preyed mainly on Western tourists and in 1976, is believed to have killed approximately 10 people by poisoning, strangulation, drowning, stabbing or in some cases, being burned alive.
His known victims were Teresa Knowlton, Vitali Hakim, Stephanie Parry, Cornelia Hemker and Henricus Bitanja, Laurent Carriere, Connie Bronzick, Allen Jacobs and Jean-Luc Solomon.
Where was The Serpent filmed?
The Serpent was filmed mainly on location in Bangkok, Thailand in late 2019 and early 2020.
Filming also took place in the beach resort town of Hua Hin.
Speaking to Express.co.uk and other press, Billy Howle who plays Herman Knippenberg in the series said he felt “fortunate” to be “shooting in such a great part of the world.”
Director Tom Shankland also discussed what it was like to film the series so close to where the real events took place, saying: “There were many discussions about where we might film it but right from the beginning, for me, for Damien, for Preethi for the whole gang, it had to be Thailand.
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“So we were very, very, very excited when that got to be the reality. We went over a number of times, the Thai crew that we were working with were fantastic.
“We were shooting some of our main locations were right where the real events happened.
“We had some of the other fellow travellers in the story, the real people whose stories we were endeavouring to represent came to set.
“It was such as a privilege. We were so privileged that they were able to, in some sense guide us because it was their story.”
He added: “It wasn’t always plain sailing, I would say that the shooting in the rainy season, it’s always an interesting experience.
“I quite enjoyed the fact that we had to rub up against some quite tricky conditions because I don’t know I guess I felt the atmosphere on set was always really good.
“I like to think there everyone sort of drew something from the energy of Bangkok and Thailand, the great people to work helping us in the crew there and the great set of people filming.
“There was just lots of craziness. But it was extremely inspiring to me.”
As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, filming was postponed in March 2020 and resumed in Tring, Hertfordshire, England in August 2020.
The Serpent is streaming on the BBC iPlayer now and airs every Sunday on BBC One
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