The Serpent’s Jenna Coleman says she was fascinated by role as the Bikini-Killer’s girlfriend

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The star of new BBC thriller Jenna Coleman has spoken of her fascination with the role she played in upcoming series – The Serpent – because her character failed to leave her murderous other half.

The Victoria actress, 34, revealed she constantly questioned ‘why?’ her character  Marie-Andree Leclerc, stayed with her partner Charles Sobhraj throughout his killing campaign in Nepal and Thailand in the seventies.

Sobhraj was branded the Bikini Killer after two of his victims were found wearing just a bikini, while he was also known as The Serpent for his ability to slither away from facing justice for his crimes for years.

In Character The star of new BBC thriller Jenna Coleman has spoke of her fascination with the role she played in upcoming series The Serpent because she failed to leave her murderous other half (pictured with Charles Sobhraj played by Tahar Rahim)

In Character The star of new BBC thriller Jenna Coleman has spoke of her fascination with the role she played in upcoming series The Serpent because she failed to leave her murderous other half (pictured with Charles Sobhraj played by Tahar Rahim)

Discussing her attraction to the role, Jenna told the Sun: ”There are a thousand ‘Whys? Why did you stay? Why didn’t you go away? There are all those questions. There was a ­thousand possibilities — and that always draws you in.

‘For me, it was about squashing the truth. She was not accepting the reality of what was actually going on. She was almost living her own movie star life in her mind, which made it complicated in a great way.’

French Canadian Leclerc began her relationship with Sobhraj aged 30 after he poisoned her male friend to ‘get him out of the way’, however Leclerc was ‘thrilled’ to meet charismatic Sobjraj, played by Tahar Rahim, 39.

'Why?' The Victoria actress, 34, revealed she constantly questioned 'why?' her character Marie-Andree Leclerc, stayed with her partner Charles Sobhraj throughout his killing campaign

‘Why?’ The Victoria actress, 34, revealed she constantly questioned ‘why?’ her character Marie-Andree Leclerc, stayed with her partner Charles Sobhraj throughout his killing campaign

Leclerc soon learned how immoral and corrupt her new partner was, however she still stuck by him and even turned up the music as he and an accomplice bludgeoned two victims to near-death.

Jenna said: ‘It’s almost like she created her own narrative and she’s living in her own ­delusion. Is she a victim or not? How much of her was brainwashed by him? How much was a choice to be there and a choice to live in the delusion?’

Notorious con-artist Sobhrag attracted tourists and tricked them into handing over their money for his scams, and if they refused to help he poisoned them.

Pictured: Charles Sobhrag 'The Serpent' and Marie-Andree Leclerc pictured together in 1986

Pictured: Charles Sobhrag ‘The Serpent’ and Marie-Andree Leclerc pictured together in 1986

One of his first known victims was American tourist, Teresa Knowlton, who was murdered aged 21 after being drowned wearing a bikini by Sobhrag and his henchman Ajay Chowdhury.

However rather than running from the situation, Leclerc pretended to be the murdered victim so she was able to cash the thousands of pounds in travellers cheques they had stolen from her.

In the thriller, Billy Howle, 31, plays the role of Herman Knippenberg while Ellie Bamber, 23, plays his girlfriend Angela as the couple take on the harrowing case.

Criminal: Sobhraj was branded the Bikini Killer after two of his victims were found wearing just a bikini, while he was also known as The Serpent for his ability to slither away from facing justice for his crimes for years (pictured in 2011)

Criminal: Sobhraj was branded the Bikini Killer after two of his victims were found wearing just a bikini, while he was also known as The Serpent for his ability to slither away from facing justice for his crimes for years (pictured in 2011)

Sobhraj was first caught in 1976 when he tried to drug an entire group of French students in New Dehli and one of them caught on to his plan and handed him over to the authorities.

He spent a total of 21 years in jail in India where he was jailed for culpable homicide for poisoning a French tourist and killing an Israeli man. He was released in 1997.  

During his time in prison, authorities in Thailand attempted to extradite Sobhraj and he threw a huge party for inmates and guards alike. He drugged them all with sleeping pills and managed to walk out of the prison.

He was later caught and jailed for another 10 years for the event until 1997. 

Discussing her attraction to the role, Jenna told the Sun : ''There are a thousand 'Whys? Why did you stay? Why didn't you go away? There are all those questions. There was a ­thousand possibilities — and that always draws you in'

Discussing her attraction to the role, Jenna told the Sun : ”There are a thousand ‘Whys? Why did you stay? Why didn’t you go away? There are all those questions. There was a ­thousand possibilities — and that always draws you in’

The law caught up with him again in Nepal in 2004 when he was jailed for the killing of US tourist Connie Joe Bronzich in 1975.

In 2014, he was handed a second life sentence for the killing of Canadian backpacker Laurent Carriere, whose passport he had used to escape Nepal after killing the pair.

Sobhraj has now been linked to 20 murders during his killing spree. 

While in jail in Kathmandu, Sobhraj married Biswas, who is 44 years his junior and the daughter of his lawyer.

Plot: French Canadian Leclerc began her relationship with Sobhraj aged 30 after he poisoned her male friend to 'get him out of the way', however Leclerc was 'thrilled' to meet charismatic Sobjraj, played by Tahar (Sobhraj pictured in 2011)

Plot: French Canadian Leclerc began her relationship with Sobhraj aged 30 after he poisoned her male friend to ‘get him out of the way’, however Leclerc was ‘thrilled’ to meet charismatic Sobjraj, played by Tahar (Sobhraj pictured in 2011)

Leclerc professed her innocence right up until her death aged 38, following an ovarian cancer diagnosis while imprisoned in India.

She was allowed to return to Canada upon the condition she would come back to India when her health improved.

Jenna has previously starred as Doctor Who’s right hand woman Clara Oswald and most recently played Queen Victoria in the ITV drama of the same name.

The Serpent airs on New Year’s Day at 9pm on BBC1. 



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