BBC One has revealed the cast and first look at new drama series The Serpent, starring Tahar Rahim.
Award-winning French actor Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower, A Prophet, The Eddy) will lead the cast as Charles Sobhraj in the thriller, which is based on the astonishing true story of how one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century was caught and brought to trial.
Jenna Coleman will play Marie-Andrée Leclerc, Sobhraj’s partner and frequent accomplice, with Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber cast as Herman and Angela Knippenberg.
A synopsis of the series 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’s cast will also feature Alice Englert (Top of the Lake), Mathilde Warnier (The Widow), Gregoire Isvarine (The Inside Game), Sahajak Boonthanakit (Only God Forgives), Fabien Frankel (Last Christmas), Chicha Amatayakul (Girl From Nowhere), Surasak Chaiyaat (Love Destiny), Ruby Ashbourne-Serkis (National Treasure), Armand Rosbak (De Slet van 6 vwo), Ellie de Lange (Keizersvrouwen), Ilker Kaleli (Poyraz Karayel) and screen newcomer Amesh Edireweera in key roles across the series.
Preethi Mavahalli, executive producer for programme makers Mammoth Screen, said: “I’m delighted that Richard and Toby’s exceptional scripts for The Serpent have attracted a cast of such extraordinary calibre.
"As we begin filming all the elements are in place to respectfully bring Herman Knippenberg’s brave and determined story to the screen.”
The Serpent will run for 8 episodes and will air on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix worldwide.
After filming on location in Thailand, a UK air date has yet to be announced.