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His Dark Materials season 2 - cast, plot, and trailer as start date confirmed

His Dark Materials season 2
(Image credit: BBC/© Bad Wolf/HBO)

His Dark Materials season 2 is full of magic, mystery and mayhem - and there's not long to wait now

His Dark Materials season 2 will begin on BBC1 on Sunday and it promises to be one of the TV highlights of the year.

The first series, based on Phillip Pullman’s best-selling trilogy of fantasy novels, captivated audiences last year. Now, prepare to be enthralled all over again as the second run is on its way...

Here’s everything we know about His Dark Materials season 2…

His Dark Materials season 2 - when does it air?

The seven-part second series of His Dark Materials will begin on BBC1 on Sunday 8th November. It will air in the US just over a week later on Monday 16 November

His Dark Materials 2 - what is it about?

Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter in His Dark Materials

Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter in His Dark Materials (Image credit: BBC/Bad Wolf/HBO)

The new run, based on The Subtle Knife, the second book in the trilogy, is set to pick up from the last series as intrepid explorer Lord Asriel, played by James McAvoy, has opened up a bridge into a strange new world. And his equally courageous daughter Lyra, played by Dafne Keen (opens in new tab) follows him through.

Andrew Scott in His Dark Materials season 2

Sherlock's Andrew Scott in the new series

Meanwhile in an alternate world, young Will Parry (Amir Wilson), has also stumbled across this fresh universe and, in an abandoned city there, he and Lyra meet up. As Lyra and Will learn more about their respective fates, they realise they need to track down Will’s father John (Andrew Scott), who has been missing for many years. But as storm clouds gather and a terrible war beckons, Lyra’s ruthless mother Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) is on a single-minded quest to locate her and bring her home…

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Who’s new?

While Sherlock’s Andrew Scott will play a central role as enigmatic traveller John Parry, his Fleabag co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will voice his magical dæmon, an osprey called Sayan Kötör.

“What’s beautiful to me about the books is the relationship with the dæmons,” says Andrew. “It’s all about companionship, friendship, and loyalty. That’s what I feel about Phoebe in my real life so it’s wonderful that this is happening.”

Veteran actor Terence Stamp also joins the cast as Giacomo Paradisi, the one-time bearer of the powerful subtle knife.

Meanwhile Peaky Blinders’ Simone Kirby is scientist Dr Mary Malone, an expert in dark matter who crosses paths with Lyra. Cleaning Up’s Jade Anouka is fearless witch Ruta Skadi.

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Is there a trailer?

Yes and it looks pretty intense! It begins with Lyra and Will meeting and realising that neither of them are from the alternate world. Meanwhile aeronaut Lee Scoresby (Lin Manuel Miranda) is desperate to keep Lyra safe but appears injured. And John Parry is shown wielding a knife that could "cut between worlds".

But as Mrs Coulter says that people will be looking for Lyra, "not all of them good", mysterious Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare), who has been on Lyra and Will 's trail says, "She has been found”… With glimpses of witches, threats of troubled times and more danger creeping in as sinister ruling organisation the Magisterium try to tighten their control, it looks set to be a thrilling ride!

What else do we know?

Cittàgazze in His Dark Materials season 2

Cittàgazze in His Dark Materials season 2

The Cittàgazze set was constructed in studios in Cardiff. Star Dafne explains: “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!”


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.