– by Joseph Jammer Medina


BBC One has just announced that they’re taking Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” books and turning them into a TV series. 

It is an honour 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,” says Polly Hill, of BBC Drama Commissioning. 

For those unaware (like me), Pullman published a trilogy of epic fantasy novels, and the entries were titled Northern LightsThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. The books follow the coming of age of a pair of children named Lyra and Will, and their adventures as they explore parallel universes. 

This won’t be the first attempt at adapting the works. Back in 2007, Chris Weitz directed The Golden Compass, based on Northern Lights, and it was meant to be the start of a film franchise. Those plans fizzled as the film failed to create much noise. At the time, Pullman commented that “a lot of things about it were good…. Nothing can bring out all that’s in the book. There are always compromises.”

In contrast to that, Pullman sounds far more optimistic about what his books will look like as a TV series rather than a film franchise. Here are the author’s comments on BBC’s plans:

“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 the way that long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game Of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.

And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable. For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials. I’m especially pleased at the involvement of Jane Tranter, whose experience, imagination, and drive are second to none. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”

“His Dark Materials” have been published in over 40 languages, and has managed sales of over 17.5 million copies. So there’s definitely an audience out there for this series, if done right. 

Do you count yourself among the folks excited about this? Let us know why! Or why not.


Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.