Series 1 of His Dark Materials is the first series in the TV series. It was commissioned on 3 November 2015 by the BBC[1] and was first aired, exactly four years later, on 3 November 2019 on BBC One. The series contained 8 episodes of 55-59 minutes in length until 22 December. The series aired from 4 November to 23 November on HBO in the US and internationally.[2] The next series, Series 2, was commissioned over a year before Series 1 began airing.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The first series is based almost entirely on the plot of Northern Lights however includes scenes from La Belle Sauvage in the first episode and other characters and plot lines taken from later books in the original trilogy.

The series starts by showing Lyra Belacqua arriving at Jordan College in Oxford by gyropter with Lord Asriel giving her to Dr Carne. At this time, a gyptian, Billy Costa, and her best friend, Roger Parslow, go missing - kidnapped by the Gobblers. After Marisa Coulter arrives at Jordan to speak to Lyra, Marisa asks Lyra to be her assistant. Lyra goes to London with her alongside a gift, an alethiometer, the Master gave her and the wish to find her friend.

At Marisa's flat, Lyra finds that she is really the head of the General Oblation Board, the Gobblers, and so decides to flee during a party. Lyra finds herself kidnapped later on and is rescued by Tony Costa and other gyptians who take her with them. During her time on Ma Costa's boat, Lyra learns that Marisa is her mother and, as told by Mrs Coulter at her flat, that Asriel is her father.

Lyra convinces the gyptians to head to the North and find the place where the children are being kept. They travel to Trollesund where Lyra finds and recruits, after being told by Martin Lanselius, a panserbjørn, Iorek Byrnison, and an aëronaut, Lee Scoresby, who promise to try and free these children. On the way towards the Station, Bolvangar, where they find the children are being kept, Lyra goes and finds a ghost in a nearby village, the severed child Billy, son of Ma Costa, who she takes back to the gyptians.

They discover that the people at Bolvangar cut children's dæmons away. Later, Lyra is captured by some hunters and taken the Bolvangar itself where she finds Roger. When Lyra is called to go to a separate room and be cut from Pantalaimon, she struggles but is thrown into the cage. When Marisa sees her, having come to check on the experiments, she immediately frees her. Lyra then gives Marisa a box, the one containing a spy-fly she caught earlier and passes it off as the alethiometer. After Marisa opens it, Lyra escapes and operates the fire alarm which is her signal to the other children to flee.

When the gyptians and the witch, Serafina Pekkala, alongside Lee and Iorek arrive, the children are liberated and the Station destroyed. Lyra, Roger, Lee and Iorek then travel further north to search for Asriel whom Lyra wants to give the alethiometer to. After Lee's balloon is attacked by cliff-ghasts, Lyra is thrown out and lands on Svalbard where she is found by a bear and thrown into prison. Lyra convinces the guard to let her see Iofur Raknison, the king, whom she convinces that she is Iorek's dæmon and that he should fight Iorek to let her become his dæmon. When Iorek arrives, the two fight and Iorek kills Iofur, making him king of the bears.

Lyra travels on until she finds the prison her father is being kept on. At night, Asriel takes Roger to a nearby mountain and, just before Lyra arrives having chased the two, cuts Roger from his dæmon, killing him, and opening a window into another world. Asriel invites Marisa to join him but she refuses, telling him she must search for Lyra. After Asriel goes through, Lyra follows him, searching for a particle called Dust.

Meanwhile, in Will's world, a boy, William Parry, leaves Elaine Parry, his mother, at Mr Hanway's house, the house of his boxing teacher as his house has been searched by agents who are looking for John Parry, his missing father. After going back to the house and killing Thomas, an agent, accidentally, Will flees as the police search for him. When Will sees a cat, he follows it, and it leads him to a window into another world. Will goes through the window himself to avoid the police.

Filming[edit | edit source]

Filming ran in Oxford and Cardiff during the summer months of 2018 and various shots were taken of the Arctic despite the cast never filming there. The scenes with Will were shot one to two months before filming for Series 2 began in Spring 2019. On 14 December 2018, it was announced that filming had wrapped.[3]

Trailers[edit | edit source]

The first trailer by the BBC was released on 24 February 2019 and the second by the BBC and HBO on 17 May. For the San Diego Comic Con in which His Dark Materials hosted a panel, a third trailer was released by both channels on 18 July 2019. On 25 August, a BBC-only trailer was released and, on 3 October (when The Secret Commonwealth was released) a HBO-only trailer was revealed. The final trailer by BBC Trailers was released on 21 October.

Release[edit | edit source]

The release date for both the UK and the US was revealed on 12 September.[2] The show first aired on 3 November at 8pm GMT on BBC One in the UK and on 4 November at 9pm ET on HBO in the US. The DVD, blu-ray and Steelbook releases were on 27 January 2020 for Region 2 (they also included five, non-exclusive videos about the making of the programme). The DVD and blu-ray for Region 1 were released on 4 August 2020 and include the Making His Dark Materials programme, interviews with the cast and crew, and four of the five Region 2 bonuses.[4] The first soundtrack for the series, The Musical Anthology of His Dark Materials, was released on CD on 24 January 2020 and the His Dark Materials Original Television Soundtrack was released on CD on 27 March 2020. Both have been released for streaming on music services.

Episodes[edit | edit source]

# Image Name Original airdate Summary
1 Lyra's Jordan.jpg Lyra's Jordan 3 November 2019 Lyra is an orphan at Jordan College however she is taken away by Marisa Coulter and intent on finding her missing best friend, Roger Parslow
2 The Idea of North.jpg The Idea of North 10 November 2019 Under Marisa's care, Lyra enters a new life in London however she soon finds out that Marisa is the head of the General Oblation Board, the organisation stealing children, and so decides to flee
3 The Spies.jpg The Spies 17 November 2019 After being kidnapped and found by the gyptians, Lyra makes friends with the Costa family and convinces the gyptians to go North to Trollesund and find the missing children
4 Armour TV.jpg Armour 24 November 2019 In Trollesund, after consulting Martin Lanselius, Lyra finds and recruits Iorek Byrnison, after finding his armour which was taken from him, and also Lee Scoresby
5 The Lost Boy.jpg The Lost Boy 1 December 2019 Lyra goes in search for a ghost the alethiometer tells her about and finds the severed Billy Costa who she brings to his mother where he dies. Lyra is then kidnapped.
6 The Daemon-Cages.jpg The Daemon-Cages 8 December 2019 In Bolvangar, Lyra is found by Marisa just before she goes through intercision. After tricking the woman, Lyra sets the children free when the gyptians come to help destroy the Station.
7 The Fight to the Death.jpg The Fight to the Death 15 December 2019 After falling out of a balloon and landing on Svalbard, Lyra is taken to the palace. She tricks Iofur Raknison into fighting Iorek where Iorek wins, becoming king of the bears. Lyra continues to find her father: Lord Asriel.
8 Betrayal.jpg Betrayal 22 December 2019 After finding Asriel, Lyra goes to sleep but is awoken by Thorold as the Magisterium are approaching. Lyra discovers that her friend Roger has been taken and goes to find him but is too late as he has been killed. Lyra and Will both go through a window to another world.

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trailers[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

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