The Serpent becomes BBC iPlayer’s most watched new title since Normal People

Company News February 18, 2021

Crime thriller The Serpent has become iPlayer’s most popular new BBC programme since Normal People, with 31 million streams across the series so far. The eight-part drama – starring Tahar Rahim, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle and Ellie Bamber – launched on New Year’s Day and concluded its BBC One run last night.

The Serpent’s first episode is also BBC iPlayer’s most streamed episode of anything – across all genres – since Normal People last spring, with over 5.5 million streams on iPlayer alone so far.

Including linear viewing, episode one has received a 30-day consolidated figure of 9 million viewers across all-screens (the highest figure for a new BBC title since The Salisbury Poisonings), with episode two consolidating at 7.4 million viewers.

Damien Timmer and Preethi Mavahalli, executive producers for Mammoth Screen say: “It’s been a privilege to tell the story of Herman and the Action Committee’s* dogged pursuit of justice, and to have a chance to reclaim the stories of the young travellers whose lives were so cruelly cut short. We’re absolutely thrilled to see the British public come to the series in such vast numbers.”

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama says: “These exceptional figures for The Serpent are a testament to the power of telling the lesser-known, human side of a real-life story, and an exceptional creative team. It’s great to see The Serpent become such a hit, driven in no small part by phenomenal word-of-mouth from the British public watching the boxset on BBC iPlayer.”

Inspired by real events, The Serpent tells the remarkable story of how the conman and murderer Charles Sobhraj was brought to justice. More information about the series can be found here.

Commissioned by BBC One, The Serpent (8×60′) is made by Mammoth Screen, part of ITV Studios, and is a co-production between BBC One and Netflix. The series was conceived and developed by Tom Shankland and Richard Warlow, and written by Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay. It was directed by Tom Shankland and Hans Herbots, produced by Stephen Smallwood, and executive produced by Richard Warlow, Tom Shankland, Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer for Mammoth Screen, and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The Serpent is available exclusively in the UK on BBC iPlayer. It will later be available outside of the UK and Ireland on Netflix.

*the release was amended to reference the wider ‘Action Committee’ team who worked with Herman Knippenberg to bring Charles Sobhraj to justice.