BBC To Adapt His Dark Materials

The Golden Compass

The BBC has ordered a new adaptation of Phillip Pullman's classic children's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. The adaptation will be produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema in Wales, and will debut on BBC One.

"It is an honor to be bringing Philip Pullman's extraordinary novels to BBC One,” said Polly Hill, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning. “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.”

Beginning with the novel Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in North America), His Dark Materials takes place in an alternate universe where magic, theology, and science are intertwined. The main protagonist is Lyra, and orphan whose search for a missing friend begin a quest that uncovers a multiversal conspiracy. Her story continues through the second novel, The Subtle Knife, and concludes in The Amber Spyglass.

“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,” Pullman said. "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.”

Since The Golden Compass was first released in 1995, His Dark Materials has been published in more than 40 languages and has sold nearly 17.5 million copies. In 2006, New Line released a film adaptation of The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Dakota Blue Richards. The sequels never entered production, due to the film's disappointing box office return.