The Essex Serpent
GenrePeriod drama
Based onThe Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry
Written byAnna Symon
Directed byClio Barnard
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes3
Executive producers
  • Andrea Cornwell
Running time60 minutes[1]
Production companySee-Saw Films
DistributorApple Inc.
Original networkApple TV+
Original releaseMay 13, 2022 (2022-05-13) –
present (present)

The Essex Serpent is a 2022 gothic romance period drama television series based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Perry. The series is written by Anna Symon, and directed by Clio Barnard, and stars Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston in lead roles. It premiered on Apple TV+ on 13 May 2022.[2]


The Essex Serpent follows London widow Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes) who moves to Essex to investigate reports of a mythical serpent. She forms a surprising bond of science and skepticism with the local pastor (Tom Hiddleston), but when tragedy strikes, locals accuse her of attracting the creature.

Cast and characters


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"The Blackwater"Clio BarnardAnna Symon, Clio Barnard, Juliette TowhidiMay 13, 2022 (2022-05-13)
2"Matters of the Heart"Clio BarnardAnna SymonMay 13, 2022 (2022-05-13)
3"Falling"Clio BarnardJess BrittainMay 20, 2022 (2022-05-20)
4"Everything Is Blue"Clio BarnardTBAMay 27, 2022 (2022-05-27)
5TBATBATBAJune 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)
6TBATBATBAJune 10, 2022 (2022-06-10)



In August 2020, it was reported that Apple gave a straight-to-series order for The Essex Serpent to See-Saw Films.[3]


When The Essex Serpent was announced in August 2020, Keira Knightley was set to play the leading role of Cora as well as executive produce, however in October 2020, she chose to leave the project due to "family reasons".[3][4] In February 2021, Claire Danes signed on to play Cora to replace Knightley.[5] Tom Hiddleston joined the cast the following month.[6] In April, Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy and Jamael Westman would be added to the main cast.[7]


Filming was previously set to begin in late November 2020 before Knightley exited the series.[8] Filming for The Essex Serpent began in February 2021, in a number of Essex locations,[9] including Alresford,[8][10] Brightlingsea, North Fambridge and Maldon,[11] as well as across London, including Gordon Square in Bloomsbury. Filming for first season concluded on the week of June 27, 2021.[12]


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 79% approval rating with an average rating of 7.1/10, based on 34 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "Distinguished by biting performances and coiling ambience, The Essex Serpent is a highly accomplished Gothic romance."[13] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, has a score of 69 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]


  1. ^ Otterson, Joe (March 16, 2021). "Tom Hiddleston Joins Claire Danes in Apple Drama Series 'Essex Serpent'". Variety. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  2. ^ Oddo, Marco Vito (March 16, 2022). "'The Essex Serpent': Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston Look for Love and a Legendary Monster in First Images". Collider.
  3. ^ a b White, Peter; Kanter, Jake (August 24, 2020). "Keira Knightley To Star In & Exec Produce Adaptation Of Period Drama 'The Essex Serpent' For Apple TV+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (October 12, 2020). "Keira Knightley Quits Apple TV Plus Show 'The Essex Serpent' for Family Reasons". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (February 10, 2021). "Claire Danes Cast in Lead Role of Apple Series 'Essex Serpent' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 24, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 16, 2021). "Tom Hiddleston Joins Claire Danes In 'The Essex Serpent' Apple Series – First Look Photo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 16, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Petski, Denise (April 7, 2021). "Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy, Jamael Westman Join 'The Essex Serpent' Apple Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Steves, Ashley (February 23, 2021). "U.K. What's Filming: 'The Essex Serpent' + 'Slow Horses'". Backstage. Retrieved February 24, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Gildart, Hannah (January 28, 2022). "The Essex Serpent: Essex filming locations for the 2022 TV adaptation". Great British Life. Retrieved January 28, 2022.
  10. ^ Daniels, Nia (February 16, 2021). "Claire Danes begins filming The Essex Serpent in the UK". Kemps Film and TV Production Services Handbook. Retrieved November 26, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ King, Mel (March 18, 2021). "Film crews spotted filming new TV series in Essex park". EssexLive. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  12. ^ Poésy, Clémence [@c_poesy_] (June 25, 2021). "Last day ... 4 months as Stella... What a journey with such a wonderful wonderful group of people ! 💙🐍 🌊 📽@see_saw_films". Retrieved June 29, 2021 – via Instagram.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "The Essex Serpent: Limited Series (2022): Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  14. ^ "The Essex Serpent". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved May 23, 2022.