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Dafne Keen teases His Dark Materials return and 'incredible' Cittàgazze

Dafne Keen His Dark Materials
(Image credit: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

Dafne Keen on the scary times ahead for Lyra in the second series of BBC1’s epic fantasy His Dark Materials

Dafne Keen helped captivate viewers in BBC1’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy when it aired last year.

Now, a second series of the fantasy sees more magic and adventure as intrepid teenager Lyra, played by Dafne Keen, finds herself in the strange city of Cittàgazze after passing through a portal created by her father Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) after he shockingly killed her best friend Roger. But danger soon follows Lyra and fellow troubled teen Will (Amir Wilson), who she meets in the city.

Here, Dafne Keen tells us what to expect in the new run of His Dark Materials…

How is Lyra different His Dark Materials season two (opens in new tab)?

Dafne Keen: “I was excited to explore Lyra’s vulnerable side, because in series one, she never shows it, she hides her pain. But in series two, we see this more quiet, introverted Lyra. She is in this dark place where she's going, ‘My father has betrayed me and I'm completely alone.’ But Lyra is an inspiration. She’s magnetic. I hope some of her has rubbed off on me!’

What is your take on her relationship with Will?

DK: “I love how Lyra is in this really horrible place but you see Will is also in a horrible place and it's about how they’re both like a puzzle, they complete each other. It’s moving to see how another person can save you from horror. That was really amazing to play that with Amir.”

Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson in His Dark Materials

Dafne Keen and Amir Wilson as Lyra and Will in His Dark Materials (Image credit: BBC/Bad Wolf)

Did you enjoy working on the Cittàgazze set that was constructed at the studios where you film His Dark Materials in Cardiff?

DK: “When we finished series one, I was told that Cittàgazze was going to be where we kept the trailers and then I came back for series two and there was this entire town built in a parking lot! It was so big, I got lost a few times, it was incredible. There was even a bread shop with real bread. It was so realistic. And it was somehow sunny there, which was very surprising!”

MORE: His Dark Materials season 2 - cast, plot, start date and everything you need to know   (opens in new tab)

Are you recognised much for playing Lyra?

DK: “Because I live in Spain, people don't expect me to be there, so I don't have people recognising me! But I get lots of people saying, ‘You look exactly like the His Dark Materials girl.’ And I'm like, ‘I know, right?!’ But I was given a His Dark Materials coat and now it's cold in Spain so I wore it the other day and they said, ‘You lied to us!’”

Lyra is accompanied by her daemon Pan, a pine marten who is a reflection of herself. If you had a real-life daemon, what would it be?

DK: “I’d be one of those small monkeys who are very cheeky and they steal from people's fridges and are very noisy. That’s quite uncool, but it's very me!”

His Dark Materials returns on Sunday 8 November on BBC1 at 8.10pm

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.


Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.


Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.


In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.