The BBC Adapting Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials for Television

There’s a new adaptation of His Dark Materials on the horizon! The BBC announced today that it has commissioned a new television series adapting Philip Pullman’s trilogy. Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema will adapt the novels for BBC One.

In a press release, Pullman 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.

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 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 especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, 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.

The last time we saw Pullman’s series on the big screen, it was the aborted movie trilogy (interestingly, also from New Line Cinema), which made it to only one adaptation: The Golden Compass in 2007. Despite a solid cast—Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, Ian McKellen as Iorek Byrnison—the movie flopped. Pullman’s Game of Thrones comparison is apt: Recent television adaptations have proven that it may be the superior medium over which to unfold an epic story. Especially if said story involves alethiometers, subtle knives that can cut through parallel universes, angels, armored polar bears, and Dust.

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