BBC commissions adaptation of His Dark Materials

BBC commissions adaptation of His Dark Materials

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By Sarah Carson,
Tuesday, 3rd November 2015
Northern Lights
Northern Lights

Philip Pullman's epic fantasy trilogy will be adapted for BBC One

Philip Pullman's award-winning fantasy trilogy - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - will be brought to BBC One as part of a New Line Cinema/Bad Wolf joint production. 

The books, published between 1995-2000, follow the life of the orphan child Lyra and her adventures travelling through parallel worlds. They have been praised for their imagination, epic scope and masterful inclusion of broad, often adult themes including religion, conscience, puberty, innocence and knowledge.

Polly Hill, the BBC's head of drama commissioning, said, "It is an honour to be bringing Philip Pullman’s extraordinary novels to BBC One. His Dark Materials is a stunning trilogy and a drama event for young and old - a real family treat, that shows our commitment to original and ambitious storytelling."

Bad Wolf's Jane Tranter called it "an honour and a joy" to adapt the novels, with Pullman serving as one of the series's executive producers. “Ever since they were first published these books have been a huge influence on so much of my thinking and imagination and it is enormously inspiring to be now working on them for television adaptation” Tranter said.

The first book was adapted for the big screen in 2007 with The Golden Compass, which starred Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards and Daniel Craig, but the other two did not have the same treatment.

“It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel - and now comes this version for television," said Pullman himself.

"In recent years we’ve seen the way that long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game Of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel. "And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable. For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials. I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, whose experience, imagination, and drive are second to none. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”


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Philip Pullman's epic fantasy trilogy will be adapted for BBC One