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TV & Film

The BBC’s gripping new eight-part murder thriller is perfect for your next binge-watch

Everything you need to know about the new series

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BBC

The Serpent follows the story of real-life serial killers from the 1970s, who drugged and stole the identities of travellers in Thailand, Nepal and India.

Starring Tahar Rahim as Charles Sobhraj and Jenna Coleman as his girlfriend and accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc, the co-production from the BBC and Netflix is inspired by the real-life events of Sobhraj, who led detectives on a wild goose chase around Asia in the 70s as he carried out a spree of crimes.

The pair travelled across Thailand, Nepal and India in 1975 and 1976 on the ‘hippie trail’, where they became the chief suspects in a series of murders of young Western travellers.

Sobhraj eventually became known as The Serpent due to his skills at deception and evasion, and he even got the nickname ‘The Bikini Killer’ due to the attire of his victims.

While the story and subject matter of the drama is rather disturbing, many viewers have not been able to see past the dreadful ’70s wigs the stars are wearing.

One viewer wrote on Twitter: “Really enjoyed The Serpent apart from the lead character’s appalling wigs.”

A second added: “Do all the men go to the same wig shop, they look ridiculous!!!”

Speaking of her new role and filming in Bangkok, Jenna said: “The scenery is incredible, and Bangkok has such a frenzy and an energy that it really infiltrates into the series.

“There’s just so much life and culture. It’s the hottest place to shoot, though. Wearing a wig in the 1970s in Bangkok is very hot!”

She added that one of the most difficult things was nailing the French-Canadian accent of Marie-Andrée, she said: “Both her French-Canadian accent when speaking English, and then her French-Canadian accent when speaking French. To try and find that was really hard.

“Many of the actors I was filming with are French themselves, so to try and work authentically within that realm was a big challenge.”

The Serpent continues on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday January 10th – or you can binge the entire series on iPlayer

 

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TV & Film

ITV’s new drama about the ‘worst serial killer Wales has ever seen’ starts tonight

“Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force”

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ITV

The Pembrokeshire Murders starring Luke Evans starts on ITV tonight and it promises to be your next favourite series. 

Airing over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, The Pembrokeshire Murders follows Welsh actor Luke Evans as Senior Investigating Officer, Steve Wilkins as he reopens two unsolved double murders in Wales. 

The synopsis reads: “Two unsolved double murders from the 1980s cast a shadow over the work of the Dyfed Powys police force. In 2006, newly promoted Detective Superintendent Steve Wilkins decided to reopen both cases,

“Employing pioneering forensic methods, Wilkins and his handpicked team found microscopic DNA and fibres that potentially linked the murders to a string of burglaries committed in the 80s and 90s.

“The perpetrator of those robberies was nearing the end of his prison sentence, but if Steve Wilkins was right, he was also a serial killer… Could Steve and his team find enough forensic evidence to charge their suspect before he was released to potentially kill again?”

Keith Allen plays John Cooper, the Welsh serial killer who was given life in 2011 for the 1985 double murder of siblings Richard and Helen Thomas and the 1989 double murder of Peter and Gwenda Dixon. 

The true story gained significant media attention at the time when it was discovered that John had appeared on Bullseye in 1989, a factor which later became a crucial element in his identification. 

Speaking about the show, Luke Evans admitted he was hooked from the start: “The story hooked me immediately. I mean, also, I’m a sucker for a true story and this isn’t just a true story, it’s a shocking, true story about the worst serial killer that Wales has ever seen.

“I got to use my own Welsh accent for the first time in many, many, many years and it was a great experience all around.”

He continued: “These stories do feel like they can’t be true, they can’t be real. But this one has so many twists and turns and it almost feels many, many times during the story that the whole thing is going to go cold once again, because the forensic evidence is so minimal and the budgets were running out and people were losing faith.”

The Pembrokeshire Murders airs tonight (Monday 11th January) at 9pm on ITV.

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TV & Film

Gogglebox star ‘unrecognisable’ after shaving his head completely

‘Oh wow, you look fab’

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stephengwebb1971 / Instagram

One Gogglebox star has been branded ‘unrecognisable’ after completely shaving his head.

Stephen Webb, who features on Gogglebox with husband Daniel Lustig, recently shared his new dramatic look on Instagram.

The Brighton-based couple are both hairdressers and after viewers recently claimed Stephen ‘looked like Ken Barlow’ with his long hair, he’s decided to chop it all off. 

The 48-year-old grabbed a razor and shaved right down the middle of his head.

stephengwebb1971 / Instagram

Sharing the post to his Instagram followers, one has replied ‘OMG….why?’, while another said ‘love it bruv’.

A third said: “Looks good, makes you look younger and I don’t mean to offended you but you’ve got sexy straight vibes going”. A fourth commented ‘oh wow, you look fab’.

Stephen joined Gogglebox as part of the original lineup in the very first series in 2013, but his husband Daniel only joined in 2019.

The new series is set to begin in February on Channel 4. 

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TV & Film

BBC will broadcast primary and secondary school lessons on TV during lockdown

Great news for parents

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BBC

Lessons will be broadcasted by the BBC to help children keep up with their education in lockdown.

As part of the latest lockdown schools have been forced to close leaving many parents concerned about their education. The BBC has now confirmed they will show curriculum-based programmes on TV from Monday, January 11th. 

In the first lockdown last year, the BBC provided lessons via iPlayer, the red button and online but not on regular TV. 

This time around, there will be three hours of primary school programming every weekday on CBBC, plus two hours for secondary school pupils on BBC Two. 

The move comes after concerns were raised for those in low-income families, who may struggle to afford data packages so children can take part in online learning.

BBC Director-General Tim Davie explained education is ‘absolutely vital’, adding: “The BBC is here to play its part and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this to audiences so swiftly.”

Boris Johnson praised the BBC’s ‘fantastic’ plans, which will feature primary programmes from 9am every day, including BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily, as well as Our School, Celebrity Supply Teacher, Horrible Histories and Operation Ouch.

For secondary students, BBC Two will be showing content that supports the GCSE curriculum such as adaptations of Shakespeare plays alongside science, history and factual titles.

Episodes of Bitesize Daily for both primary and secondary will air every day as well as being available on demand on iPlayer, as well as on the red button. 

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the BBC ‘has helped the nation through some of the toughest moments of the last century’.

He added: “And for the next few weeks it will help our children learn whilst we stay home, protect the NHS and save lives,” he added. “This will be a lifeline to parents and I welcome the BBC playing its part.”

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