The Essex Serpent adaptation, based on the book by Sarah Perry, has been in the works since it entered pre-production in 2020. Those who love historical fiction and mythical creatures will want to give this book and limited series a shot. Even if historical settings aren’t your thing, this cast might just be enough to change your mind. Also, it’s inspired by true events.
The book was published in 2016 and went on to win the Book of the Year Award for both Waterstones and the British Book Awards. With high accolades it’s not surprising that Apple TV decided to take this adaptation on.
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This page was updated: 7/27/23
About The Book:
Newly widowed Cora, who, having been released from an abusive marriage, relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex. She is intrigued by a local superstition that a mythical creature known as the Essex Serpent has returned to the area. Moving between Essex and London, myth and modernity, Cora Seaborne’s spirited search for the Essex Serpent encourages all around her to test their allegiance to faith or reason in an age of rapid scientific advancement.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐/5 (This isn’t a genre I normally read but I still enjoyed it!)
bookshop.org // Amazon // Audiobook
Current Production Status:
Full series released on Apple TV. (6 episodes)
The Essex Serpent Adaptation Timeline:
The book was first published in the UK in 2016. Following literary acclaim including winning multiple British-based Book of the Year awards it was picked up for a US release in 2017.
In August 2020 it was announced that Apple had given The Essex Serpent adaptation a straight to series order. Kiera Knightley was set to star, but she left in October due to “family reasons” which pushed back filming.
Early 2021 Claire Danes was announced as the new lead with Tom Hiddleston also joining the next month.
Filming started in February of 2021 and concluded in the final week of June.
March 2022 the release date of May 13th was announced, with two episodes dropping the first week and then weekly releases for the final 4 episodes.
As of July 2023 the series is available to stream on Apple TV+.
The show currently has a 78% tomatometer and 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. 6.5/10 on IMDb.
Who Owns The Rights:
See-Saw Films owned the rights to the book and led production with Apple TV joining on to co-produce and handle distribution.
Who Is Attached:
Tom Hiddleston and Claire Danes were cast in the lead roles.
Clémence Poésy, Frank Dillane, Hayley Squires, Lily-Rose Aslandogdu, Gerard Kearns, and Michael Jibson all have supporting roles.
(Kiera Knightley dropped out in October 2020)
The series was filmed in multiple Essex locations including Brightlingsea, Maldon, North Fambridge, and Alresford. Scenes were also shot across London including Gordon Square in Bloomsbury.
May 13th, 2022.
Previous mentions on AiLL:
2022 Books To Screen Adaptations
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The Essex Serpent Adaptation: Everything We Know So Far
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