Series 1, written by Jack Thorne and spanning 8 episodes, was announced in 2015 and first aired on 3 November 2019 on BBC One and internationally on HBO from 4 November. Series 2 was commissioned before Series 1 had begun airing and, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, aired in the UK from 8 November 2020 and internationally from 16 November 2020. A third series has been commissioned by the BBC with filming beginning in 2021.
His Dark Materials is a drama series and is set in parallel worlds, following the story of Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon Pantalaimon, William Parry, and other characters of various species. It has been rated as TV-14 in the US.
Series 1 is based upon the events of Northern Lights and follows the story of Lyra Belacqua on her quest in search of her missing friend, Roger Parslow, where she encounters witches, Panserbjørne like Iorek Byrnison, gyptians, and aëronauts whilst finding out about Dust. It introduces Will Parry and the troubles his mother has been having since his father disappeared years before.
Series 2 is based upon the events of The Subtle Knife and follows Lyra and Will in Cittàgazze as they explore the deserted city and go in search of the subtle knife. It shows Mary Malone, Lee Scoresby, and John Parry as they help the children.
Series 3 will be based upon the events of The Amber Spyglass.
- Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal
- Dafne Keen as Lyra Silvertongue
- Simone Kirby as Mary Malone
- James McAvoy as Lord Asriel
- Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby
- Andrew Scott as John Parry
- Amir Wilson as William Parry
- Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter
- Ikay Agu as Balthamos
- Oliver Monaghan as Baruch
- Alex Hassell as Metatron
- Sophie Okonedo as the voice of Xaphania
- Morfydd Clark as Sister Clara
- Charlie Robinson as Nurse Charlotte
- Kate Rutter as Sister Betty
- Amit Shah as Dr Rendal
- Lia Williams as Dr Cooper
- Martha Bright as Bella
- Raffiella Chapman as Annie
- Mary Fernandez as Esme
- Frankie Hervey as Louise
- Eva Jazani as Bridget McGinn
- Ruby Llewelyn as Rose
- Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow
- Bella Ramsey as Angelica
- Mia Pearse as a Bolvangar child
- Amma Ris as Martha
- Ella Schrey-Yeats as Paola
- Alfie Todd as Ben
- Cristela Alonzo as the voice of Hester
- Kit Connor as the voice of Pantalaimon
- Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as the voice of Sergi
- Lindsay Duncan as the voice of Octavia
- Brian Fisher as the voice of the Golden Monkey
- Eloise Little as the voice of Salcilia
- Helen McCrory as the voice of Stelmaria
- Libby Rodliffe as the voice of Lyuba
- Phoebe Scholfield as the voice of Alicia
- David Suchet as the voice of Kaisa
- Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the voice of Sayan Kötör
- Geoff Bell as Jack Verhoeven
- James Cosmo as Coram van Texel
- Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa
- Mat Fraser as Raymond van Gerrit
- Daniel Frogson as Tony Costa
- Tyler Howitt as Billy Costa
- Simon Manyonda as Benjamin de Ruyter
- Lucian Msamati as John Faa
- Eva Musik as a gyptian
- Daniel Woolf as Gyptian (uncredited)
Jordan College staff
- Richard Cunningham as Chaplain
- Ian Gelder as Charles
- Patrick Godfrey as Wren
- Philip Goldacre as Sub-Rector
- Boo Golding as Seamstress
- Tiago Martins as Subfusc
- Clarke Peters as Dr Carne
- Joakim Skarli as Scholar
- Simon Strutt as the Porter
- Frank Bourke as Pavel Rasek
- Sean Gilder as Father Graves
- Will Keen as Hugh MacPhail
- David Langham as Father Garret
- Rich Lawton as River Police
- Ian Peck as Cardinal Sturrock
- Tim Wildman as Magisterium Secret Police (uncredited)
- Joi Johannsson as Iofur Raknison
- Peter Serafinowicz as the voice of Iofur Raknison
- Joe Tandberg as the voice of Iorek Byrnison
- Jade Anouka as Ruta Skadi
- Marama Corlett as Katja Sirkka
- Omid Djalili as Martin Lanselius
- Sasha Frost as Reina Miti
- Ruta Gedmintas as Serafina Pekkala
- Leanne Holder as a Lake Enara clan witch
- Remmie Milner as Lena Feldt
- Asheq Akhtar as Jotham Santelia
- Kirsty Besterman as Sam Cansino
- Sarah Brazier as a Londoner
- Vivien Bridson as Fisher Woman
- Georgina Campbell as Adèle Starminster
- Nigel Cooke as Seal Hunter
- Louise Cowen as a PhD student
- Nabil Elouahabi as Bright Eyed Man
- Robert Emms as Thomas
- Ray Fearon as Mr Hanway
- Julie Hale as Zoe (Mary's sister)
- Juke Hardy as Blacksmith
- Michael Kerry White as a Running Tourist
- Cameron King as Toby
- Jane How as Annabel Parry
- Gary Lewis as Thorold
- Lewis MacDougall as Tullio
- Pino Maiello as Oxford Fellow (uncredited)
- Katarina Martin as Marisa Coulter's guest
- Harry Melling as Sysselman
- Henry Miller as a porter
- Johanne Murdock as Alanna Perkins
- Robin Pearce as Oliver Payne
- Brian Protheroe as Graham Parry
- Pasi Remsu as Samoyed Hunter
- Nina Sosanya as Elaine Parry
- Terence Stamp as Giacomo Paradisi
- Cath Whitefield as WPC Jenkins
- Jamie Wilkes as Pale-Faced Man
- Angus Wright as Dr Haley
- Main article: The Golden Compass (film)
After the success of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, the His Dark Materials books, which were published between 1995 and 2000, were optioned. This led to the development of the 2007 film, The Golden Compass. However, the film removed some of the key areas of the book, like references to religion and the Holy Church, which Chris Weitz (director of the film) blamed for the shortcomings. Moreover, the Catholic Church called for a boycott; Sam Elliott (who played Lee Scoresby) blamed the Church for forcing the cancellations of the sequels, while some believed poor reviews may have been the reason.
Philip Pullman, in a 2012 interview for Mother Jones, was interested in giving His Dark Materials another shot, this time as a television series. The BBC, in November 2015, publicly announced plans to adapt the book series into a television series in association with Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema (with HBO joining later). Pullman was named the series' executive producer along with Deborah Forte.
Pre-production was originally planned for autumn 2016, with the project announced in 2015, but casting was only in the process of finalisation in early 2018. The show was originally said to cover 5 series but it was later confirmed that each series would cover one book.
The first series was filmed mainly in the UK (Cardiff and Oxford) and the Arctic (although the cast never filmed there). On 14 December 2018, it was announced via Twitter that filming for the first series had wrapped.
Series 2 began filming in June 2019 at various locations across the UK although filming officially began during the week of the 29th July with filming going on for five months until just before Christmas. However, only seven out of the eight episodes were filmed before lockdown was imposed in the UK and the eighth episode (a standalone episode about Lord Asriel) which was filmed in March 2020 was not completed before work on TV productions was halted due to the pandemic. Despite the loss of this episode and it being announced that James McAvoy would not be returning in the series, a small scene (which would have featured at the end of the 'lost' episode) was filmed after lockdown and added in.
On 22 December 2020 (two days after the Series 2 finale), the BBC announced that they had commissioned a third and final series to adapt The Amber Spyglass. Filming will begin in 2021.
The first teaser of the first series was released by the BBC on 24 February 2019 with subsequent trailers following on 17th May, 19th July (part of the San Diego Comic Con panel), 25th August, 3rd October, and the final one on 21st October. Short clips from each episode was uploaded onto the BBC Programmes website prior to its broadcast.
For Series 2, the first trailer was released on 23rd July (part of the San Diego Comic Con At Home) and a second and third on 28th August (one by the BBC and the other by HBO). A fourth 'official' trailer was released exclusively by HBO on 15th October (the same day as Serpentine was released) and a fifth, final trailer was released by the BBC on 24th October.
On 18 July, 2019, the show hosted a panel at San Diego Comic Con where an Autumn 2019 release date for Series 1 was announced and an extended trailer revealed. A preview of the show in London was premiered by the BFI on 15 October 2019 and another in Cardiff the following day.
The first series was split into episodes of 8 each roughly an hour long. The first episode, Lyra's Jordan, aired on 3 November 2019 in the UK on BBC One and 4 November internationally; however Dafne Keen's mother revealed in August 2019 on Instagram (since deleted) that the release would be on 3 November. The series aired (in the UK) exactly four years after the production for the show was planned.
The show aired normally at 8pm GMT in the UK and 9pm ET in the US. The earlier UK slot, rather than the typical 9pm slot for Sunday night dramas, allowed younger children the chance to watch it live. The only exception to this was the seventh episode (The Fight to the Death) which began an hour later in the UK due to the live event 'BBC Sports Personality of the Year', this was later pushed back again to 9:10 because the event ran over.
An early preview of the sixth episode, The Daemon-Cages, took place at Mayfair Theatre with the Royal Television Society, three days prior to its broadcast on the BBC. All episodes from Series 1 were released onto BBC iPlayer following their broadcast (originally until 21 June 2020 however, upon this date, their availability was extended indefinitely). All episodes are available in UHD.
Following the full series broadcast, a rewatch of the first episode was staged on 26 April 2020 where various members of the cast and crew posted details about the series. Just after the rewatch, the programme Making His Dark Materials was released onto BBC iPlayer and showed the making of the series.
On 9 July 2020 (the 25th anniversary of the original publication of Northern Lights), mirroring the previous year, it was announced that the show would host another panel at Comic Con on 23 July, although this time remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first full trailer for the second series was released at this time. At the panel, it was revealed that one of the standalone episodes in the second series had not been completed and would not air leaving the series with only 7 episodes. On 28th August, in a BBC trailer, it was announced that the show would air in November.
On 12 October, it was confirmed that the series would be aired by HBO on 16 November. On 24 October, a small trailer and featurette was released by the BBC which announced that the UK release date would be 8 November, over a week before the US. A preview of the first episode took place at BFI Southbank on 2 November.
The episodes were shown weekly from 8:10pm GMT (10 minutes later than Series 1 as the episodes were also 10 minutes shorter) in the UK and from 9:00pm ET in the US. However, episodes were released on iPlayer shortly before 8pm in the UK and before their broadcast on TV. The final episode, Æsahættr was broadcast at 7:10pm, one hour earlier, due to the live event 'BBC Sports Personality of the Year'.
|Region 2||Region 1||Region B||Region B (steelbook)||Region A|
|1||27 January 2020||4 August 2020||27 January 2020||27 January 2020||4 August 2020|
|2||28 December 2020||29 June 2021||28 December 2020||-||29 June 2021|
|1 & 2||28 December 2020||-||28 December 2020||-||-|
Region 2 DVD, Blu-ray, and steelbook editions of the first series were posted on Amazon UK in late 2019 and were then published on 27 January, 2020. All three copies included all eight episodes, four art cards, and several non-exclusive bonus features about the making of the series: Introducing His Dark Materials, The Daemons: His Dark Materials, Building His Dark Materials, Dressing His Dark Materials, and Adapting His Dark Materials (which were made available on the BBC website prior to the DVD release). There were three discs in total.
Region 2 DVD and Blu-ray copies of the second series were posted on Amazon UK shortly before the second series was due to start and were published on 28 December 2020. Unlike Series 1, a steelbook was not produced for Series 2. Both copies included all seven episodes, four art cards, and a number of non-exclusive bonus materials: Making His Dark Materials, The Subtle Knife, Lyra, The Powerful Mrs Coulter. These spanned three discs.
At the same time as the Series 2 DVD/Blu-ray were announced, a Series 1 & 2 boxset was also announced in both DVD and Blu-ray for release on the same date. These included all the bonus features on the Series 1/2 DVDs.
A Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray were announced on 14 May 2020 for a release date on 4 August 2020 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Split over two discs, there were: the eight episodes, interviews with the cast and four of the Region 2 bonus features as well as the exclusive Making His Dark Materials programme. A Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray for Series 2 were released on 29 June 2021.
Merchandise and book tie-ins
On 27 November 2020, a dedicated His Dark Materials merchandise shop was set up for the TV series selling a variety of t-shirts and posters.. This was later updated to include hoodies, sweatshirts, and hats. A wider variety of products (including mugs, and notebooks) will be added later.
'My Daemon' app
The first soundtrack for the series, The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials, was released on 3 November 2019 with the second, His Dark Materials Original Television Soundtrack, was released on 20 December 2019.
A second volume of The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials was released for Series 2 on 8 November 2020 and the His Dark Materials Series 2 Original Television Soundtrack was released digitally on 20 December 2020.
|#||Episode name||Directed by||Written by||Original airdate (UK)||Original airdate (US)|
|1||Lyra's Jordan||Tom Hooper||Jack Thorne||3 November 2019||4 November 2019|
|2||The Idea of North||Tom Hooper||Jack Thorne||10 November 2019||11 November 2019|
|3||The Spies||Dawn Shadforth||Jack Thorne||17 November 2019||18 November 2019|
|4||Armour||Otto Bathurst||Jack Thorne||24 November 2019||25 November 2019|
|5||The Lost Boy||Otto Bathurst||Jack Thorne||1 December 2019||2 December 2019|
|6||The Daemon-Cages||Euros Lyn||Jack Thorne||8 December 2019||9 December 2019|
|7||The Fight to the Death||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne||15 December 2019||16 December 2019|
|8||Betrayal||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne||22 December 2019||23 December 2019|
|#||Episode name||Directed by||Written by||Original airdate (UK)||Original airdate (US)|
|1||The City of Magpies||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne||8 November 2020||16 November 2020|
|2||The Cave||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne & Francesca Gardiner||15 November 2020||23 November 2020|
|3||Theft||Leanne Welham||Jack Thorne & Sarah Quintrell||22 November 2020||30 November 2020|
|4||Tower of the Angels||Leanne Welham||Jack Thorne & Namsi Khan||29 November 2020||7 December 2020|
|5||The Scholar||Leanne Welham||Francesca Gardiner||6 December 2020||14 December 2020|
|6||Malice||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne & Lydia Adetunji||13 December 2020||21 December 2020|
|7||Æsahættr||Jamie Childs||Jack Thorne||20 December 2020||28 December 2020|
- Main article: His Dark Materials (TV series)/gallery
- His Dark Materials Series 1 and Series 2 on Bad Wolf's site
- His Dark Materials on BBC Programmes
- His Dark Materials on HBO
- His Dark Materials HBO official site
- His Dark Materials on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
- HBO His Dark Materials on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
- His Dark Materials shop
Notes and references
- BBC commissions adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
- Series 3 announcement
- His Dark Materials website HBO
- Marisa Coulter's dæmon does not speak but Fisher provides his vocalisations. As lead puppeteer and CFX coordinator on the series, he also worked extensively with Ruth Wilson during filming to create the monkey's movements via puppet — Variety
- Mother Jones
- Digital Spy - His Dark Materials TV series on the BBC: Casting, characters, start date - everything you need to know
- Twitter - Dan McCullock
- Twitter - https://twitter.com/darkmaterials/status/1073639534372511744
- His Dork Materials on Twitter
- The Knowledge Online
- Jack Thorne Q&A on Twitter
- His Dark Materials Twitter
- BBC His Dark Materials
- The Guardian
- The Fight to the Death on BBC Programems
- Comic Con At Home
- BFI Southbank
- Æsahættr on BBC Programmes
- Blu-ray on Amazon
- DVD on Amazon
- Series 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
- Series 2 DVD on Amazon
- Series 1 & 2 boxset Blu-ray on Amazon
- Series 1 & 2 boxset DVD on Amazon
- Screen Connections
- Northern Lights on Amazon
- The Subtle Knife on Amazon
- The Amber Spyglass on Amazon
- The Golden Compass on Amazon
- His Dark Materials shop
- His Dark Materials on Twitter
- BBC Studios
- Apple App Store
- Film Music Reporter
- Film Music Reporter
- Silva Screen Records
- Film Music Reporter
|His Dark Materials TV episodes|
|Series 1||Lyra's Jordan • The Idea of North • The Spies • Armour • The Lost Boy • The Daemon-Cages • The Fight to the Death • Betrayal|
|Series 2||The City of Magpies • The Cave • Theft • Tower of the Angels • The Scholar • Malice • Æsahættr|
|Other||Making His Dark Materials|