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The BBC has acquired Sambre – Anatomy of a Crime, a French crime thriller based on true events, for BBC iPlayer and TV channels, from Federation Studios.

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind docuseries The Staircase and the drama Laetitia, recounts the extraordinary legal case of a serial rapist who attacked women across three decades in the same location.

The cast of the six-part series includes Alix Poisson (The returned, Six Women), Clémence Poesy (The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, Tenet), Olivier Gourmet (Oussekine, La Promesse), Noémie Lvovsky (Camille Rewinds, Farewell, My Queen), Jonathan Turnbull (Soldiers), Pauline Parigot (Soldiers, HPI) and more.


In Northern France in the late 1980s, women are being sexually assaulted along the same road by the Sambre river – with attacks taking place early mornings and in a similar style. The police fail to get to grips with the extent of these assaults or make a connection between the cases.

The justice system is overwhelmed by the accumulating cases. It will take 30 years to catch a man, who never stopped attacking women and is responsible for at least 54 cases of rape or sexual assault. Sambre – Anatomy of a Crime is a thriller following the progression of the investigation, its repercussions from the 80s through to 2018 and the beginning of the #metoo era.


Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition says: “Sambre – Anatomy of a Crime is an absorbing series about France’s most notorious sexual predator, and of how he was allowed to slip through the cracks of the judicial system for over 30 years.   Each episode is told from the perspective of a different character involved in the case – a victim, the judge, the mayor, the scientist, the police officer and finally, the perpetrator, and is a gripping examination of the flaws of a society and its institutions”.

Sambre (6x60) is directed by Jean-Xavier De Lestrade (The Staircase, Murder on a Sunday morning), written and created by Alice Géraud and Marc Herpoux, and based on the investigation by Alice Géraud. Produced by What’s Up Films and Federation Studios in coproduction with Versus Production, originally commissioned by France Televisions.


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