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Kit Connor hopes Heartstopper fans tune in for His Dark Materials role

Plus, the team behind the Philip Pullman adaptation explain why Connor is their secret weapon and "a star in the making".

Published: Sunday, 29th May 2022 at 8:00 am
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Kit Connor has melted hearts around the world with his turn in Netflix romance Heartstopper – but it’s not the only high-profile show he’s been working on for the last few years.

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You see, since 2019 Connor has played a major role in the BBC’s Philip Pullman adaptation His Dark Materials – but you might not have noticed him, as he’s never on screen. Instead, he provides a vocal role as Lyra’s (Dafne Keen) dæmon companion Pan, appearing in every episode but with less recognition than the live-action stars.

Still, with the third and final season of His Dark Materials now just a few months away, Connor says that he hopes some of his new fans check the series out, and not just for his performance.

“I have definitely started [season 3],” Connor told RadioTimes.com at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, where he also united with His Dark Materials co-star Ruth Wilson. “I'm not quite finished. But we've done a good chunk of it and it looks amazing.

“I think [Heartstopper fans] should absolutely tune into His Dark Materials, yeah.

“I think that they should not even [to hear me], but just because it's a great show.”

But perhaps he’s being too modest. Behind-the-scenes, the crew of His Dark Materials say that Connor is a significant part of what makes the show work, noting that the relationship between Lyra and Pan (and his performance in the role) is central to the story.

“Though you never get to see Kit Connor in His Dark Materials, as the captivating voice of Pan, he and Dafne Keen’s Lyra form one of TV's classic screen duos,” director Euros Lyn, who worked on both His Dark Materials and Heartstopper, told RadioTimes.com.

“Kit now stars in Heartstopper, his performance capturing the audience's hearts as half of another stellar screen couple, Nick and Charlie. In every role he plays, Kit finds emotional depth in his acting, he sings, he dances, and is genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve worked with... A star in the making.”

"Over three seasons of making His Dark Materials there has been a hidden process that is central to bringing the CGI characters to life, the CDR (Creature Dialogue Recording) sessions,” VFX Supervisor Russell Dodgson, who worked closely with Connor during recording sessions, told us.

“The team and I had the pleasure of working with some truly great talents, from David Suchet to Phoebe Waller-Bridge and the forever missed Helen McCrory.

Dafne Keen Lyra His Dark Materials
Lyra and Pan in His Dark Materials

“Of all the creature cast, none have been on more of a journey than the amazing Kit Connor. Over the last 4 years we have spent hours with Kit working with him to find the amazing tone and maturity that he has imbued Pan with.

“Our artists love animating to Kit's voice, he has breathed so much light and shade into the character and gives us endless opportunities to find the emotional truth to Lyra’s daemon.

“Seeing the character grow up along with Kit has been a real pleasure. We couldn't have made Pan without him.”

His Dark Materials
Dafne Keen as Lyra with Pan (left) in His Dark Materials (BBC)

So as Heartstopper fans wait it out to see seasons 2 AND 3 return to Netflix, they could probably do worse than check out Kit Connor’s other big TV role.

Sure, there are fewer quirky dialogue scenes and a lot more snarling armoured bears – but they’re definitely both shows with a lot of heart.

Heartstopper is streaming now on Netflix, and His Dark Materials returns to BBC One and HBO this autumn for its third and final season. For more, check out our dedicated Fantasy page or our full TV Guide.

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