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First look at Jenna Coleman and Ellie Bamber in new BBC crime drama The Serpent

Jenna Coleman and Ellie Bamber star in BBC crime drama The Serpent (PA Wire/PA)
Jenna Coleman and Ellie Bamber star in BBC crime drama The Serpent (PA Wire/PA)

Jenna Coleman looks unrecognisable in first-look pictures from new crime drama The Serpent.

The former Doctor Who star appears opposite Ellie Bamber, Tahar Rahim and Billy Howle in the BBC One thriller about Charles Sobhraj, one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century.

In the first pictures from the eight-part drama, in which Coleman plays Sobhraj’s partner Marie-Andree Leclerc, she is seen with long, dark brown hair, colourful 1970s attire and tinted sunglasses.

The Serpent
Jenna Coleman and Tahar Rahim in The Serpent (BBC)

Alongside her is French actor Rahim as Sobhraj, the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s “Hippie Trail” in 1975 and 1976.

Howle and Bamber are seen in character as Herman and Angela Knippenberg respectively.

Described as a “psychopath, con man, thief and master of disguise”, who repeatedly slipped the grasp of authorities worldwide, Sobhraj was Interpol’s most wanted man by 1976 and had arrest warrants issued on three different continents.

The drama will see Outlaw King and MotherFatherSon actor Howle as Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walk into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, and set off a chain of events that will see him try to bring Sobhraj to justice.

The Serpent
Ellie Bamber and Billy Howle in The Serpent (BBC)

Nocturnal Animals star Bamber previously said that discovering the Knippenbergs’ story “has been every bit as inspiring as it is fascinating”.

Coleman said that the programme “intoxicated me into the dark seductive world of Charles Sobhraj”, adding: “I’m so looking forward to delving into hippie trail depths and bringing to life this unfathomable real life story.”

The series, produced by Mammoth Screen, was filmed on location in Thailand and will premiere on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland.

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