The Essex Serpent
GenrePeriod drama
Based onThe Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry[1]
Developed byAnna Symon
Directed byClio Barnard
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
  • Andrea Cornwell
CinematographyDavid Raedeker
EditorLucia Zucchetti
Running time47-50 minutes
Production companySee-Saw Films
DistributorApple Inc.
Original networkApple TV+
Original releaseMay 13 (2022-05-13) –
June 10, 2022 (2022-06-10)

The Essex Serpent is a 2022 British gothic romance period drama miniseries 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.[2] It premiered on Apple TV+ on 13 May 2022.[3]


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 BarnardHania ElkingtonMay 27, 2022 (2022-05-27)
5"I Break Things"Clio BarnardElinor CookJune 3, 2022 (2022-06-03)
6"Surfacing"Clio BarnardAnna SymonJune 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.[4]


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".[4][5] In February 2021, Claire Danes signed on to play Cora to replace Knightley.[6] Tom Hiddleston joined the cast the following month.[7] In April, Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy and Jamael Westman would be added to the main cast.[8]


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


The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 76% approval rating with an average rating of 7.1/10, based on 41 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]

The miniseries was nominated for two Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards, for outstanding achievement in Design - Titles, and Production Management.[15]


  1. ^ Perry, Sarah (20 May 2022). "'When Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston were cast I was in shock': Sarah Perry on The Essex Serpent". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  2. ^ Allen, Nick. "The Essex Serpent movie review (2022) | Roger Ebert". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  3. ^ Oddo, Marco Vito (16 March 2022). "'The Essex Serpent': Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston Look for Love and a Legendary Monster in First Images". Collider.
  4. ^ a b White, Peter; Kanter, Jake (24 August 2020). "Keira Knightley To Star In & Exec Produce Adaptation Of Period Drama 'The Essex Serpent' For Apple TV+". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (12 October 2020). "Keira Knightley Quits Apple TV Plus Show 'The Essex Serpent' for Family Reasons". Variety. Retrieved 24 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Otterson, Joe (10 February 2021). "Claire Danes Cast in Lead Role of Apple Series 'Essex Serpent' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 24 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (16 March 2021). "Tom Hiddleston Joins Claire Danes In 'The Essex Serpent' Apple Series – First Look Photo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 16 March 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (7 April 2021). "Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Clémence Poésy, Jamael Westman Join 'The Essex Serpent' Apple Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  9. ^ a b Steves, Ashley (23 February 2021). "U.K. What's Filming: 'The Essex Serpent' + 'Slow Horses'". Backstage. Retrieved 24 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Daniels, Nia (16 February 2021). "Claire Danes begins filming The Essex Serpent in the UK". Kemps Film and TV Production Services Handbook. Retrieved 26 November 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ King, Mel (18 March 2021). "Film crews spotted filming new TV series in Essex park". EssexLive. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  12. ^ Poésy, Clémence [@c_poesy_] (25 June 2021). "Last day ... 4 months as Stella... What a journey with such a wonderful wonderful group of people ! 💙🐍 🌊 📽@see_saw_films". Retrieved 29 June 2021 – via Instagram.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "The Essex Serpent: Limited Series (2022): Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 26 June 2022.
  14. ^ "The Essex Serpent". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  15. ^ "RTS Craft & Design Awards 2022". Royal Television Society. 29 June 2022. Retrieved 14 November 2022.