How accurate is the cast of The Serpent compared to the real life people?

Knippenberg is exactly the same


If you binged The Serpent like the rest of the UK, you will have rightly been horrified by the actions of Charles Sobhraj and his accomplices – to the point that it seems almost inconceivable that someone would be able to do this to so many people and actually get away with it in real life. However, whilst the storyline of the series is accurate to what happened, it’s interesting to see whether the real people that came into contact with Charles Sobrhaj were portrayed accurately.

So, from Charles himself to Herman Knippenberg and his wife Angela, let’s compare the real people with The Serpent cast that portrayed them onscreen.

Charles Sobrhaj

charles sobhraj, the serpent

The first of The Serpent cast is Tahar Rahim, who portrayed Charles Sobhraj – and as you can see from above, there’s clearly an obvious likeness between the two. Although in other photos (such as below) Rahim’s portrayal looks rather different, the creepy demeanour definitely shines through.

charles sobhraj, the serpent

A younger Charles looks a lot more unkempt compared to the images that we see of him as an older man and, to be honest, looks nothing like Tahar Rahim’s portrayal at this point.

charles sobhraj, the serpent

In his later years, shown above in an interview whilst in prison, Charles seemed to wear a hat more often than not – and Tahar’s representation of him seems to look closer once again.

Marie-Andrée Leclerc

the serpent, marie, monique

Marie-Andrée Leclerc was a direct accomplice and girlfriend of Charles’ and, by the looks of the two photos above, Jenna Coleman was an excellent casting choice.

the serpent, Marie-Andrée Leclerc

Although the two are very similar-looking in their younger years, again when the Marie aged by a few years she ended up looking completely different to the actress that portrayed her. In fact, she barely even looks like herself.

Ajay Chowdhury

ajay chowdhury

Ajay was pure evil in The Serpent, taking complete delight in tormenting victims and witnesses with his false niceties before leading them to their inevitable death. Unfortunately, Ajay escaped after helping Charles with all those murders and never saw any justice served for his crimes, so this is literally the only picture of him that can be found.

Herman Knippenberg

herman knippenberg

Herman Knippenberg was portrayed by Billy Howle, and what can I say? You cannot tell me that they did not COMPLETELY smash the casting with this one – they’re practically the same person!

herman knippenberg

Not so sure about an older Knippenberg, though.

Angela Knippenberg

angela knippenberg, the serpent

Angela Knippenberg recently spoke out about her portrayal in the show, claiming that her involvement in ensuring Charles received justice was downplayed, as well as the fact that the actress looks nothing like her – and it’s certainly understandable.

Herman, Angela and Remi

Yup, it’s fair to say Ellie Bamber’s portrayal of Angela wasn’t accurate in appearance either.

Nadine and Remi Gires

remi, nadine, the serpent

Another excellent casting, Mathilde and Gregoire look particularly alike to the original Nadine and Remi. After Charles was caught, the couple returned to Thailand but later divorced.

Dominique Renelleau

dominique the serpent

Dominique was one of the prominent victims that managed to escape, sending letters back and forth with Nadine to update her that he had flown out of Thailand. Fabien Frankel, who played Dominique, shares a pretty close resemblance as you can see.

Paul Siemons

paul siemons, the serpent

And finally in The Serpent cast is Paul Siemons, played by Tim McInnerny (or “that guy from Notting Hill). Similar people, same energy but not an exact match.

Paul retired in 1979 and died in 2004. For more information on where the real-life people are now, click here.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Where are they now? The real life people from The Serpent murder case

• The Serpent: True story of BBC crime series about serial killer who targeted backpackers

• Is Kanit House from The Serpent real and can travellers still stay there?