The excellent Ellie Bamber and Ruby Ashbourne Serkis star in BBC One’s ‘The Serpent’ starting at 9pm on New Years Day!


‘The Serpent will document the crimes of Charles Sobhraj, a man who was the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up at least 12 Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal through 1975 and 1976.

He became known as The Serpent due to his skills at deception and evasion, but also was labelled The Bikini Killer on account of the clothes worn by some of his victims.

The BBC tells us: “Posing as a gem dealer, Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andrée Leclerc travelled across Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976, carrying out a spree of crimes on the Asian ‘Hippie Trail’ and becoming the chief suspects in a series of murders of young Western travellers.”

A con man, thief, and a master of disguise, Sobhraj regularly slipped through the net of police. By 1976 he had arrest warrants on three different continents.

However, Sobhraj’s web of crime was pulled apart by Herman Knippenberg, a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok. Without giving too much away about The Serpent plot, Knippenberg unwittingly sparked a chase that finally saw the mass murderer behind bars.’