His Dark Materials - start date revealed for adaptation of Phillip Pullman stories on BBC1

His Dark Materials - Lyra

Epic fantasy novels coming to BBC1 in November

The BBC has revealed that a new series based on Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy will premiere on Sunday 3rd November.

The eight-part adaptation tells the story of Lyra, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined.

James McAvoy in His Dark Materials

James McAvoy as Lord Asriel with his daemon (an animal version of his inner self), a snow leopard called Stelmaria

The orphaned child (Logan’s Dafne Keen) lives a sheltered life in Oxford where she’s been placed at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel (X-Men’s James McAvoy).

She is under the watchful protection of The Master of Jordan College (The Wire’s Clarke Peters), however, when the glamorous Mrs Coulter (Luther star Ruth Wilson) enters her life, Lyra finds herself embarking on a dangerous journey of discovery.

During her quest she meets the charismatic adventurer Lee Scoresby (Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda), who becomes one of her closet allies.

Lyra’s adventure sees her encounter dangerous villains and even giant polar bears as she tries to discover more about a strange phenomenon called Dust. Can she ever find her friend Roger?

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Polar bear His Dark Materials

Lyra's adventure will see her encounter all kinds of creatures (Image credit: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

Talking about the adaptation of His Dark Materials stories previously, Phillip 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.”

Other key cast include Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa and James Cosmo as Farder Coram.

His Dark Materials will be on BBC1 and available on BBCiPlayer from Sunday 3rd November.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

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