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Netflix, BBC greenlight The Serpent.

8 part drama is the true story of one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century.

BBC and Netflix will co-produce an 8 part drama The Serpent, starring French actor Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower, The Last Panthers).

He will star as Charles Sobhraj in the true story of how one of the most elusive criminals of the 20th century was caught and brought to trial.

Tahar Rahim says: “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. I couldn’t be happier than to make it under the direction of Tom Shankland and writers Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay.”

The series will premiere on Netflix outside of the UK.

Brian Pearson, Vice President, Content Acquisition, Netflix adds: “We’re excited to grow our partnership with the BBC alongside Mammoth Screen and bring this gripping story led by the brilliant Tahar Rahim to our members around the world.”

Produced by Mammoth Screen (Poldark, World On Fire) the limited series is written by Richard Warlow (Ripper Street) and Toby Finlay (Ripper Street) and directed by Tom Shankland (Les Miserables).

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.

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