Philip Pullman, the award winning author who wrote the critically acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, understands first hand just how poorly big screen adaptations of novels can be cobbled together and received. The first novel of his trilogy, Northern Lights, was adapted into The Golden Compass in 2007, which was poorly received by fans and critics alike. Despite such a setback, Pullman is still optimistic for new adaptions of his work, and he won’t have to wait much longer for the next.
BBC One has just announced their intent to create an eight-part series based on His Dark Materials. It’ll be the first series commissioned by the new Bad Wolf production company, which was created by ex-BBC executives Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner. You may recognize the pair from their executive producer credits on Doctor Who, Torchwood and Da Vinci’s Demons.
When asked about the production in a report by Variety, Pullman said, “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. And the sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable.”
A lot of books, especially long running series, have started looking towards television for adaptions and seeing a lot of success. Game of Thrones, The 100, Pretty Little Liars, True Blood, and many other popular TV series of recent memory have been based on popular novels. The new TV series could certainly succeed where The Golden Compass, which currently sits at 42% on Rotten Tomatoes, failed.
The trilogy follows Lyra, an orphan set on finding a kidnapped friend who later winds up on a fantastical journey to discover and understand a mysterious phenomenon known as Dust. Her journey across the three novels sees her run into a colorful cast of characters and jump between various parallel universes that host all sorts of magical, theological and scientific properties.
As if Tranter’s previous successes weren’t enough to alieve fans’ worries, she’s also a massive fan of the books. In the aforementioned report she said, “It is an honor and a joy to be part of the team responsible for bringing Philip Pullman’s trilogy of novels ‘His Dark Materials’ to the BBC. Ever since they were first published these books have been a huge influence on so much of my thinking and imagination, and it is enormously inspiring to be now working on them for television adaptation. The broad horizons of television suggests itself as the best of vehicles to capture the expansiveness of the story and worlds of Lyra and Will, and I am looking forward to seeing how ‘Northern Lights,’ ‘The Subtle Knife’ and ‘The Amber Spyglass’ will occupy their place in an audience’s imagination across many episodes and seasons.”
There currently isn’t any time table to approximate when His Dark Materials will premiere on BBC One, but, if Tranter’s comments are anything to judge by, it certainly intends to stick around for quite some time.