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His Dark Materials TV series coming from the BBC

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is coming to the BBC

Some exciting news to brighten a gloomy Tuesday: BBC and New Line are collaborating to bring Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy to TV.

Variety reports that BBC has commissioned an eight-part series that will be produced by New Line and Bad Wolf, the production company run by Jane Tranter and Doctor Who veteran Julie Gardner, and that production will take place in Wales.

Eight episodes doesn’t seem like very many to encompass the whole of the trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass), but we’re very excited by the prospect of a BBC adaptation, especially given how brilliant Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was. We’re also very excited by the prospect of having our memories of the disappointing film The Golden Compass washed away.

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.”

“It’s been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media,” said Pullman. “It’s been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel — and now comes this version for television. In recent years we’ve seen how 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.”

There’s no news yet on writers or casting, but we’ll be keeping a very close eye on this!

You can buy His Dark Materials trilogy for £10.50 at Amazon.co.uk. Keep up with the latest genre news with the new issue of SciFiNow.