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BBC Commissions New Drama Series From ‘Wolf Hall’ Writer, ‘Victoria’ Producer

French Charles Sobhraj 60 Alleged Killer
Shrestha/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

The BBC has commissioned two new eight-part drama series for its flagship channel BBC One, the pubcaster announced Friday.

“The Three,” based on a trilogy of novels by Sarah Lotz and described as an international conspiracy thriller with a supernatural edge, has been adapted by Peter Straughan. Straughan won a BAFTA and was Oscar-nominated for his screenplay for the 2011 adaptation of John Le Carre’s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” and was Emmy-nominated for 2015’s “Wolf Hall.”

Executive produced by Kate Sinclair and George Faber of The Forge, “The Three” sees a crash investigator with the NTSB in Washington under pressure to find out what caused four plane crashes in four different countries all on the same day. At the center of the mystery are three children who each miraculously survived one of the crashes while rumors circulate of a fourth child survivor.

Straughan said the story “looks at how fear and paranoia can affect society on a global level, while interrogating the effects of trauma on ordinary lives.”

“The Serpent,” which will be produced by Mammoth Screen, the company behind hit dramas “Poldark” and “Victoria,” is based on the true story of how elusive criminal Charles Sobhraj (pictured) was eventually arrested and brought to trial. The chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 Western travelers across India, Thailand and Nepal in the mid-1970s, Sobhraj repeatedly evaded global authorities until a Dutch diplomat unwittingly crossed paths with him and set off a chain of events that would result in his arrest in 1976.

The original drama from “Ripper Street” writer Richard Warlow will be directed by Tom Shankland (“The Missing”), who first brought the idea to Warlow’s attention. Preethi Mavahalli and Damien Timmer will executive produce for Mammoth Screen alongside Warlow and Shankland.

“It’s my ambition to deliver original, bold and unexpected drama to BBC One, that is set apart from what is on offer elsewhere and which allows us to explore new worlds,” Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said in a statement. “These two new series do just that, each offering a big emotional story in an international setting with iconic characters at their heart.”

Both shows were commissioned by Wenger and Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, and will be executive produced by Elizabeth Kilgarriff for the BBC.