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Everything you need to know about BBC's His Dark Materials

The first season is adapted from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights

Emmy Griffiths

After months of waiting, BBC One's much anticipated series His Dark Materials is finally here and, with an all-star cast, stunning filming locations and impressive CGI, we think that this might have been an adaptation worth waiting for. Find out everything you need to know about the series, from the cast to the plot, right here... 

What is the plot of His Dark Materials? 

Adapted from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, the first season of His Dark Materials takes place in a world much like our own, but where every human being has a 'daemon', which is essentially their soul incarnate in the form of an animal. The world is also controlled by the Magisterium, an all powerful and strict religious order. The story follows Lyra, an orphan who has grown up living at Jordan College in Oxford, who goes on a quest north to find her best friend Roger after he mysteriously goes missing. Along the way, she meets witches, armoured bears and aeronauts, learning terrible truths and discovering the meaning behind the mysterious Dust. 

Who is in the cast of His Dark Materials? 

Logan actress Dafne Keen plays the brave, loveable Lyra, while Rocketman actor Kit Connor voices her cautious daemon, Pantalaimon. Meanwhile, James McAvoy plays Lyra's adventurous uncle, Lord Asriel, Ruth Wilson plays the terrifyingly sinister Mrs Coulter, who employs Lyra as her assistant, and Mary Poppins Returns star Lin Manuel Miranda plays the aeronaut, Lee Scoresby. And even that is not mentioning a whole host of other famous names, including Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, Helen McCrory as the voice of Asriel's daemon, Stelmaria, and Wonder Woman actor James Cosmo as Farder Coram. Heads up for season two as well, as Fleabag's 'Hot Priest' Andrew Scott will be playing John Parry. 

When is His Dark Materials on? 

Luckily for fans in the UK, the show will be released on BBC One on Sunday 3 November at 8pm. Meanwhile, fans in the US will receive the show on Monday night on HBO. Of course, the show will also be on BBC iPlayer for those who need to catch up - or just want to watch it twice! 

 

What are the early reviews saying about His Dark Materials?

According to early reviews, it sounds like His Dark Materials is going to be a hit with fans. With 88 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, the series has had an overwhelmingly positive response. TV Guide said: "In short, this is the adaptation fans have been waiting two decades to see," while Forbes described it as "the new fantasy epic audiences have been looking for". However, not everyone was entirely convinced, with a review from Variety reading: "It’s hard to shake the feeling that, even with such a detailed text to draw from, there’s a strange flatness to the show itself." 

Where is His Dark Materials filmed? 

His Dark Materials has been predominantly filmed in Wales, with most of the CGI scenes taking place within the former 250,000 sq ft factory, Wolf Studios Wales. However, they did get out of Wales occasionally! New College, Oxford, was the filming location for Jordan College, where some scenes with the Gyptians was filmed on the River Severn between Cardiff and Oxford. Of course, since much of the series is set in the North, several shots also took place in the Artic, chilly! 

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Will there be a His Dark Materials season 2? 

Absolutely yes. In fact, the second instalment of the story, based on The Subtle Knife, has already been filmed! Producer Jane Tranter was keen to film the first two seasons of the show together so that the main actress in the series, Dafne Keen, would be the same age. Speaking to Deadline, she explained: "We mainly wanted to make sure that we didn’t wait too long because otherwise by the time we came to film again, [Dafne] could be 18 months older and at that age, you grow up very fast and season two picks up days after season one ends. We had that to consider. The BBC and HBO got that because it takes a year to post-produce."

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