Philip Pullman is ‘delighted’ that the His Dark Materials trilogy is set to be turned into a drama series on BBC One.
The popular fantasy series, aimed at both children and adults, has already been turned into a play at the National Theatre and a film called The Golden Compass.
Philip said: “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.”
Philip Pullman with the actors who starred in His Dark Materials at the Playhouse Theatre in Oxford (Steve Parsons/PA)
He added: “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 delighted with the BBC announcement this morning. And now the work begins!
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) November 3, 2015
The three books – Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass – tell the story of Lyra, an orphan who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined.
As she searches for a kidnapped friend, she uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and their daemons – the external version of a person’s ‘inner-self’, which takes the form of an animal.
Lyra is drawn into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon known as Dust. She is joined on her journey by a boy, Will, whose knife can cut windows between worlds. As the girl learns more about her parents and her destiny, she and Will are caught up in a war against the celestial powers.
Director Chris Weitz, Dakota Blue Richards, and Nicole Kidman at the premiere for The Golden Compass (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)
In 2007, New Line Cinema released the film version of the first novel in the trilogy, which went by the book’s American title – The Golden Compass. The film starred Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Sir Ian McKellen, Jim Carter, and Dakota Blue Richards. The film was expected to be the first in a franchise, but no sequel has yet been made.
Nicholas Hytner’s stage production of His Dark Materials was produced in two parts at the National Theatre in London in 2003-4.
The series will be made in Wales and produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema, who were behind the 2007 film and are making their first foray into television production.
Philip Pullman won the Whitbread Prize in 2002 with his book, The Amber Spyglass (Max Nash/AP)
The novelist will serve as an executive producer on the new show.
His Dark Materials has been published in more than 40 languages and has sold around 17.5 million copies globally.
Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction in the UK in 1995. In 2001, The Amber Spyglass became the first and only children’s book to win the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award.