How to watch The Serpent online: stream every episode in UK or from anywhere

Watch The Serpent online
(Image credit: Mammoth Screen)

From the writers of Ripper Street comes this pulse-raising new series, charting the murderous movements of Charles Sobhraj along the ‘Hippie Trail’ during the 1970s, and his eventual arrest in India. Starring acclaimed French actor Tahar Rahim (A Prophet) as serial killer Sobhraj, and Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman as his devoted accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc, it’s one gripping true-crime drama. We detail below how you can watch The Serpent online, and enjoy all eight episodes free in the UK and stream them from anywhere in the world.

Cunning, clever, and deceptive, Sobhraj was nicknamed The Serpent due to his ability to evade police capture. He was a con artist, thief, and master of disguise, who murdered at least a dozen Western travellers along the Asian ‘Hippie Trail’ in the mid-70s.

Watch The Serpent online for FREE

Air date: 2021

Total seasons: 1 (8 episodes)

Creators: Richard Warlow, Toby Finlay

Cast: Tahar Rahim, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Ellie Bamber

Streaming options: BBC (UK), Netflix (ROW)

Watch anywhere: try a 100% risk-free VPN trial

However, it wasn’t until an encounter with Herman Knippenberg, a Dutch diplomat in Bangkok (played here by Billy Howle), that his nefarious crimes caught up with him. He was jailed for 20 years in 1977 – though not for the last time – and became something of a cause célèbre around the world.

Director Tom Shankland (The Missing) captures the era’s hazy hedonism and bohemian scene, while keeping the tension high as he switches between the ongoing criminal investigation and Rahim’s cold-blooded crimes. It’s another example of the BBC’s investment in high-quality drama after Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology and A Suitable Boy earlier this year: a compelling, dark, and addictive treat.

So, discover the unbelievable true-story about this infamous 70s criminal, as we explain how to watch The Serpent online from anywhere – and completely FREE on the BBC for those located in the UK.

watch the serpent online free uk

How to watch The Serpent online FREE in the UK


The 8-part series premiered on BBC One at 9pm on January 1 2021. The eight episodes of this dark drama aired at the same time every week, with the full series available to watch in full online straight away.

With <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">BBC iPlayer you can live-stream The Serpent. It’s a completely FREE service – however, you should be a possession of a valid UK TV license, as these now cover digital content consumption, too.

Not in the UK right now? <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Just use a VPN to alter your IP address so you can stream your favourite TV shows and films online just like you would at home - only from anywhere.

How to watch The Serpent online across the rest of the world

April 2

Finally, three months after it first aired in the UK, The Serpent got its international release on April 2, dropping across most territories on <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Netflix. Those in the US, Australia, Canada, and other territories can now watch The Serpent online with its full 8-episode series readily available to binge with a Netflix subscription. 

Netflix subscriptions start from $8.99/AU$10.99/ CA$9.99 a month, and is home to other BBC dramas such as <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Line of Duty and Bodyguard.

How to watch The Serpent online from outside your country

If you're away over the holidays, or are now enjoying a winter vacation, then geo-blocking restrictions will stop you from watching The Serpent online via BBC iPlayer.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. By downloading a VPN – short for Virtual Private Network – you can alter your IP address to that of your country back home, and therefore stream TV content that would otherwise be inaccessible.

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Once installed, just pick the location of your home country, and click connect. You’ll then be free to enjoy The Serpent online, no matter where you are over the holidays.

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Daniel Pateman

Daniel Pateman is a freelance writer, producing articles across the cultural spectrum for magazines like Aesthetica, Photomonitor, The Brooklyn Rail and This is Tomorrow. He also provides text-writing services to individual curators and artists worldwide, and has had work published internationally. His favourite film genre is horror (bring on Scream 5!) and he never tires of listening to Absolute 80s on the radio.