Author Philip Pullman said he was “delighted” that production was underway, adding that producers Bad Wolf had assembled a “wonderful cast”.
Stars including The Wire’s Clarke Peters, Black Mirror’s Georgina Campbell and Anne-Marie Duff also join the cast as the Master of Jordan College, journalist Adele Starminster and Ma Costa respectively.
The Crown’s Will Keen (Dafne’s father) will play Father MacPhail, a mysterious man whom Lyra meets at a London society party. Joining him there is Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal.
Daemon Pantalaimon will be played by young actor Archie Barnes, alongside Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow, Daniel Frogson as Tony Costa and Tyler Howitt.
However, while the extensive cast list does cover off many of the major characters, eagle-eyed fans of the books may notice that witch Serafina Pekkala, introduced in Northern Lights and a key figure in the trilogy, does not feature on the BBC’s cast list.
Screenwriter Thorne, who has adapted the books for screen, said the actors involved were “the cast of dreams”, and thanked director Tom Hooper and production designer Joel Collins.
“His Dark Materials are the most beautiful set of books, taking us into a world of constant imagination. Reading them I was a massive fan, in adapting them I’ve increasingly felt in awe of them,” he said.
He added, “It’s the constant invention, the way the story never sits still, and that the characters constantly surprise you. It’s been a joy being part of a creative team for this; from Tom’s incredible analytic mind and amazing eye, to Joel’s beautiful world building, to everyone else involved. And then there’s the cast, which has proved to be the cast of dreams, we are so lucky to have been able to entice them in.”
Filming has begun on the series in Cardiff at Wolf Studios Wales, although an air date has yet to be confirmed.