Is The Serpent based on a true story? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

In the spring of 1975, Sobhraj met Canadian medical secretary Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman). Leclerc soon became his main accompl...

In the spring of 1975, Sobhraj met Canadian medical secretary Marie-Andrée Leclerc (Jenna Coleman).

Leclerc soon became his main accomplice in many of his scams but had denied being aware of any killings.

In July 1976 in New Delhi, Sobhraj and Leclerc alongside Barbara Smith and Mary Ellen Eather tricked a group of French students into accepting them as tour guides.

Sobhraj then drugged the group, which took effect faster than anticipated and when some of the students realised what was happening to their peers, they overpowered Sobhraj and called the police.

Two years later, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison in India alongside Leclerc.

In 2003, he returned to Nepal where he was spotted on the street by a journalist and arrested two days later in the casino of the Yak and Yeti hotel.

His motives for returning to Nepal remain unknown today.

Sobhraj was tried for the murder of American backpacker Connie Jo Boronzich, 29, and Canadian tourist Laurent Carrière, 26. They had been killed between in late December 1975 in Nepal.

He received a life sentence for the two killings in August 2004, and he has been incarcerated in Kathmandu prison ever since.

Leclerc died on April 20, 1984. She was 38-years-old.

Director Shankland first heard about Sobhraj when he was 19-year-old and visiting Nepal and admitted the story had always been an “obsession in some way”.

He said: “I think on the journey, one thinks, ‘Wow, is this a great movie,’ but truthfully, there is so many people who are so interesting, that are part and parcel of this whole amazing tale.

Shankland continued: “The first exciting thing to kind of dawned on everyone is that it felt like the canvas of a big sprawling, the beautiful TV show would give us a chance to meet, Charles, meet many of the other extraordinary people on this journey over eight hours and try to do justice to some very remarkable people and extraordinary events on the way.

“So I’m thinking about difficult things that happened between then and getting it onto the screen.”

The Serpent premieres on New Year’s Day at 9pm on BBC One and is available as a boxset on iPlayer after broadcast

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Newsrust: Is The Serpent based on a true story? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV
Is The Serpent based on a true story? | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV
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