HOLLYWOOD icons set to star in a new series filmed in a variety of Essex beauty spots attended a special screening ahead of its release next month.

The Essex Serpent, an eagerly anticipated Victorian drama boasting huge names such as Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston, will drop on Apple TV on May 13.

The story, based on Essex-born Sarah Perry’s best-selling novel, follows widow Cora Seaborne, who moves to the county to investigate reports of a mythical serpent.

Over the last year the programme’s A-listers and production crews have been spotted shooting scenes in several locations throughout the county.

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The calm backwaters of Alresford Creek will provide the backdrop for the fictional parish of Aldwinter, while marshes near the River Blackwater also feature.

Viewers can also expect to see shots of Maldon’s quaint town centre, Abberton Reservoir and the picturesque nature reserve at Cudmore Grove on Mersea Island.

Ahead of the show’s release, the cast attended a screening at the Ham Yard Hotel, in London, fuelling Essex residents’ urge to see their home county on the small screen.

Councillor Mark Durham, chairman of Visit Essex, said: “We’re delighted Apple TV chose Essex for the backdrop of this much anticipated mini-series.

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“The Essex coast and estuaries offer a truly stunning landscape, which we’re sure viewers will fall in love with.

“From the charming landscape of the River Blackwater and Colne estuaries to the historic market town of Maldon, Essex has so much to offer.”