The Golden Compass failed on the big screen, but Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is getting a second chance as a BBC series.
The BBC announced this morning that a TV series based on His Dark Materials, the Philip Pullman fantasy epic, is in development.
Pullman himself compares the new series to HBO’s Game of Thrones in a statement, saying, “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 characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.”
Thus, “I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials. I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter (Executive Producer for Bad Wolf), 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.”
Adds Controller BBC Drama Commissioning Polly Hill, “It is an honor 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.”
His Dark Materials follows the young girl Lyra, who lives in a alternate-reality version of Oxford that exists parallel to our own. In Lyra’s world there are dæmons, physical beings representing a human’s soul, that take the shape of an animal. Being a child, Lyra’s dæmon Pantalaimon has not yet settled into his permanent shape.
Lyra is introduced as an orphan at the outset of the story, but in Northern Lights, the first novel in the saga (known in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), a mysterious, smooth-talking woman whisks her away on a terrifying adventure. But Marisa Coulter does not necessarily have Lyra’s best interests at heart, and Lyra must fight her way through the arctic, befriending polar bears and traveling through magical worlds, in order to save her missing friend.
We can’t imagine a more perfect place for His Dark Materials than the BBC, and hope this new series will do Pullman’s trilogy justice.
Filming will take place in Wales, with the series set to air on BBC One. A premiere date has not yet been announced.