The BBC has made its choice for the forthcoming television adaptation of Philip Pullman’s much-loved His Dark Materials young adult book series, tapping British TV writer Jack Thorne, as reported by Deadline. A prolific screenplay writer in his homeland, the 37-year-old Thorne has already enjoyed great success in the medium, coming off three separate BAFTA award nominations in TV categories this year alone.
“It is such an honor and a privilege to be given this opportunity to delve into Philip Pullman’s world,” Thorne said. “The His Dark Materials trilogy are vast and glorious books full of beautiful characters and I’m going to work as hard as I can to try and do justice to them.”
For his part, Pullman seemed equally enthusiastic to land the red hot British writer, saying, “Jack is a writer of formidable energy and range, and I’ve greatly enjoyed talking to him and learning about his plans for bringing His Dark Materials to the screen. I’m certain he’ll do a superb job, and I look forward to seeing the whole project develop as he shapes the story.”
Pullman, who has publicly expressed disappointment of the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass, is hoping that the serial format will be a better fit for his fantasy/sci-fi novels.
“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,” said Pullman in a statement about the trilogy in November. His Dark Materials has sold close to 17.5 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 40 languages, according to Variety.
Mentioning series like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and The Wire, Pullman said long-form storytelling has the ability to allow for more character depth and suspense than film. “For all those reasons I’m delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials,” he continued. “As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news.”
His Dark Materials, which is composed of the novels Northern Lights (published in the U.S. as The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, depicts Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry as they explore parallel universes complete with flying witches, spirit creatures known as dæmons, and other strange phenomenon.
Bad Wolf, BBC vets’ Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner’s production company will collaborate on the project with New Line Cinema. Pullman will executive produce the eight-part series. Production and casting for the series adaptation of the trilogy will begin next year, according to the Guardian.
Updated 4-6-2016 by Ryan Waniata: Added information about the hiring of acclaimed British TV writer Jack Thorne for the adaptation of the series.