Kirsten Howard

Feb 24, 2019

The Beeb's long-awaited adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is finally, really, actually happening…

The BBC’s eight-part adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy has been in the works for such a long while, but it finally looks as though we’re close to seeing it materialise. It’s been a long time coming! Indeed, since the project was first announced all the way back in 2015, Pullman himself has been writing a new Book Of Dust trilogy, with the first novel arriving a couple of years ago.

Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, The Danish Girl) was chosen to helm all 8 episodes. The director has had his pick of projects, coming off the back of so many critically-acclaimed big screen successes, but sources suggest that he was extremely keen to take this particular job instead.

His Dark Materials trailer

Here’s a first teaser from the Beeb…

We are a bit too excited about this already.

His Dark Materials TV series air date

We’ll get you an air date as soon as we can.

His Dark Materials TV series plot

Here’s the official BBC synopsis: 

“His Dark Materials is one of the supreme works of imaginative fiction for both children and adults published in the 20th century. Northern Lights introduces Lyra, an orphan, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Lyra’s search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and turns into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. In The Subtle Knife she is joined on her journey by Will, a boy who possesses a knife that can cut windows between worlds. As Lyra learns the truth about her parents and her prophesied destiny, the two young people are caught up in a war against celestial powers that ranges across many worlds and leads to a thrilling conclusion in The Amber Spyglass.”

His Dark Materials TV series cast

Logan‘s Dafne Keen will be playing the lead role of Lyra, and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will also star as adventurer Lee Scoresby in the forthcoming show. 

His Dark Materials TV series trailer, cast, plot, episodes and more

James McAvoy (Split, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Atomic Blonde) is starring as Lord Asriel. This was the role played by Daniel Craig in 2007’s The Golden Compass. Clarke Peters (The Wire, Nativity, Three Billboards) is also aboard the Beeb’s adaptation as the master who raises Lyra.

His Dark Materials TV series trailer, cast, plot, episodes and more

Black Mirror’s Georgina Campbell and Anne-Marie Duff are in the cast, too, with Game Of Thrones’ James Cosmo as Gyptian Farder Coram. Will Keen (The Crown) is Father MacPhail and Ariyon Bakare is Lord Boreal. Additionally, Lucien Msamati is John Faa, Mat Fraser is Raymond Van Geritt, Geoff Bell is Jack Verhoeven, and Simon Manyonda is Benjamin de Ruyter. Ruta Gedmintas has been announced as Serafina Pekkala.

His Dark Materials TV series writer

Adapting the His Dark Materials trilogy for its forthcoming television series is Jack Thorne, the writer of The FadesSkinsThis Is England and more.

Here’s what Mr Thorne had to say on the matter: 

“It is such an honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity to delve into Philip Pullman’s world. What I always loved about Bad Wolf’s intentions with this project was the notion of sounding every note. The His Dark Materials trilogy are vast and glorious books full of beautiful characters and I’m going to work as hard as I can to try and do justice to them.”

As a planned 2017 premiere date slipped away from the Beeb, as writer Jack Thorne (The Fades, Skins) turned up at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival last April to confirm that the series was still in the realms of pre-production.

“It’s at an exciting point where we’re just throwing things at the page and trying to work out what works and what doesn’t,” Thorne told “I mean, the most important thing is being loyal to the books, and trying to tell those books as well as we possibly can.”

Thorne went on to detail the extent of his approach to bringing the books to life on the small screen. “The advantage of television is we can slow down. In the film and on stage they had so much plot to get through, so much plot to churn through, whereas we’ve got the luxury of having time to get to know [lead character] Lyra, and spend time in her world.”

It seems that the writer was determined to get his His Dark Materials series as close to perfect as possible, given that he’s a huge fan of the source material.

“The thing is that as a writer you want to do the things you love, and it happens that other people love the stuff that I love too. You realise that you’ve got a responsibility not to let them down, but you’re really excited about being given the opportunity to play in that amazing, amazing world. I mean, Phillip is…every single page, you learn something new. He’s a beautiful and incredible writer.” 

His Dark Materials TV series episodes

The first series will comprise eight episodes, with the expectation to continue into further series. In fact, a report from Walesonline stating that “The deal will see forty episodes shot across five series” suggests that a multi-series deal has been done to tell the entirety of Pullman’s story.

Pullman’s trilogy has previously been adapted for film, radio and theatre, but this will be the first TV version of its world.