New Line Cinema Makes Foray Into U.K. TV With BBC Drama Based on Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'

'The Golden Compass' still
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

It will produce the show for flagship channel BBC One with Bad Wolf.

The BBC has ordered a drama series based on Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy of novels His Dark Materials for flagship network BBC One, marking New Line Cinema’s first foray into U.K. TV production.

Commissioned by Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC One, and Polly Hill, controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, the show will be produced by New Line and Bad Wolf. His Dark Materials is also the first commission from Bad Wolf, a U.K./U.S. production firm founded by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner with a presence in both Wales and Los Angeles.

In 2006, New Line released a film of the first book, The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards, who played protagonist Lyra.

Said Hill: "It is an honor to be bringing Philip Pullman’s extraordinary novels to BBC One. His Dark Materials is a stunning trilogy and a drama event for young and old -- a real family treat, that shows our commitment to original and ambitious storytelling."

The novels feature orphan Lyra, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. "Lyra's search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and turns into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust," according to a plot summary. In the second novel, she is joined on her journey by Will, a boy who possesses a knife that can cut windows between worlds. "As Lyra learns the truth about her parents and her prophesied destiny, the two young people are caught up in a war against celestial powers that ranges across many worlds and leads to a thrilling conclusion" in the final book, according to the summary.

Said Pullman: "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 how long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel."

Nicholas Hytner’s stage production of His Dark Materials was produced in two parts at London's National Theatre in 2003 and 2004.

The series based on His Dark Materials will be executive produced by Pullman, Tranter and Gardner for Bad Wolf, Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood for New Line, Bethan Jones for BBC One and Deborah Forte for Scholastic.

Nov. 3, 11 a.m. updated: The first version of this story quoted a press release as saying the show was "New Line Cinema’s first move into TV production." It is actually the company's first foray into U.K. TV.