The BBC today announced the official premiere airdate for the much-anticipated fantasy series, which stars Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda among others and has been adapted from Pullman’s novel series by acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne.
The first series is based on Pullman’s 1995 novel Northern Lights, and will air weekly in eight episodes through to the end of December. A second series, based on sequel The Subtle Knife, is currently filming in South Wales.
Along with the date announcement, the BBC has also released a new synopsis for His Dark Materials, which introduces the strange parallel world of the series and the challenges faced by young protagonist Lyra (Keen).
The eight-part adaptation tells the story of Lyra (Dafne Keen), the young protagonist who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Placed there at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), she lives a sheltered life amongst the scholars and college staff while under the watchful protection of The Master (Clarke Peters) and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder).
When the glamorous and mesmeric Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) enters Lyra’s life she embarks upon a dangerous journey of discovery from Oxford to London. Here she meets Father Macphail (Will Keen), Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and journalist Adele Starminster (Georgina Campbell) at a glittering society party where she first hears about the sinister General Oblation Board.
Lyra is subsequently thrown into the nomadic world of the boat dwelling Gyptians – Ma Costa (Anne-Marie Duff), Farder Coram (James Cosmo), John Faa (Lucian Msamati), Raymond Van Geritt (Mat Fraser), Jack Verhoeven (Geoff Bell) and Benjamin de Ruyter (Simon Manyonda) who take her North in her quest.
Once in the North she meets charismatic aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who joins them on their epic journey and who becomes one of Lyra’s closest allies.
Pullman’s work was previously adapted for screen in 2007 film The Golden Compass, which starred Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman and was poorly received by critics and fans. The new series is not connected to the film, and has an entirely new cast and creative team.
His Dark Materials begins on BBC1 on Sunday 3rd November