Bringing Pullman’s World To Life
BBC One drama His Dark Materials, Jack Thorne’s highly anticipated adaptation of Philip Pullman’s acclaimed series of novels, will have its global premiere on Sunday 3 November on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, after part-filming in Bristol…
The eight-part drama, which is said to be the BBC’s most expensive series to date, was produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema in Wales but visited Bristol a number of times throughout its shooting schedule to film key scenes with the help of Bristol Film Office. In August 2018 the team filmed a chase sequence in a moving vehicle with a tracking vehicle following the action as it travelled through Trenchard Street, Colston Street, Host Street and Pipe Lane into Colston Yard whilst drone cameras also filmed from above. The production team later returned to Bristol to film at Blaise Orangery with support from Blaise Park Rangers.
Bristol Film Office’s Natalie Moore says: “It’s been a pleasure to support Bad Wolf during the Bristol elements of their shoot for His Dark Materials. This was a fast-paced shoot full of action, running and stunts which really made the most of the different looks Bristol has to offer, like the tall streets and alleyways around Colston Yard and the stunning setting of Blaise Orangery. We’d like to thank all the individual locations involved for their help and cooperation. Given the massive fanbase the trilogy already has, this is definitely one of the biggest and most eagerly awaited BBC dramas of 2019 and we are delighted that Bristol crew and locations have played a part in its production.”
His Dark Materials tells the story of Lyra, the young protagonist who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Placed there at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel, she lives a sheltered life amongst the scholars and college staff while under the watchful protection of The Master and Librarian Scholar Charles. When the glamorous and mesmeric Mrs Coulter enters Lyra’s life she embarks upon a dangerous journey of discovery from Oxford to London. Here she meets Father Macphail, Lord Boreal and journalist Adele Starminster at a glittering society party where she first hears about the sinister General Oblation Board.
Lyra is subsequently thrown into the nomadic world of the boat dwelling Gyptians – Ma Costa, Farder Coram, John Faa, Raymond Van Geritt, Jack Verhoeven and Benjamin de Ruyter who take her North in her quest. Once in the North she meets charismatic aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby who joins them on their epic journey and who becomes one of Lyra’s closest allies.
The stellar cast for His Dark Materials includes Dafne Keen as Lyra, Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters as The Master of Jordan College, James Cosmo as Farder Coram and Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, with Will Keen as Father McPhail and Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal.
Produced in Wales by Bad Wolf, the series is based on Philip Pullman’s acclaimed novels which have been adapted for screen by the BAFTA, Tony and Olivier Award winning screen and playwright, Jack Thorne (National Treasure, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). Season one is directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Dawn Shadforth (Trust), Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders), Euros Lyn (Torchwood) and Jamie Childs (Doctor Who).
Bad Wolf founder Jane Tranter is Executive Producer alongside Dan McCulloch (Victoria, Endeavour) and Laurie Borg (Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror) is Producer. Philip Pullman is also Executive Producer. The design team is led by Joel Collins (Black Mirror, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) with costumes designed by Caroline McCall (Downton Abbey, Hyde Park on Hudson) and Season One hair and make-up design led by Pamela Haddock (The Terror, Sherlock). Framestore’s Russell Dodgson is VFX supervisor and Executive Producer.
Bad Wolf is a UK/US production company founded by Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner and co-sited in South Wales and Los Angeles. The company is responsible for co-producing award-winning ‘The Night Of’ for HBO and ‘A Discovery Of Witches’ for Sky One. His Dark Materials is New Line Cinema’s first move into British television.