His Dark Materials: When does it start? Who is in the cast? Everything we know about the BBC series

Philip Pullman’s fantastical adventure is getting a new adaptation at the BBC, starring James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

His Dark Materials is one of the most imaginative tales of the 20th Century, picking up a slew of awards for its author Philip Pullman and winning fans all over the world.

HIs trilogy takes its brave characters on an epic adventure alongside their animal shadows, exploring a magical alternate universe and its forces of good and evil.

[Read more: Lin-Manuel Miranda says His Dark Materials was an easy yes]

Whether you’re a devotee of the books or are discovering the Dark Materials world for the first time, you won’t want to miss the upcoming BBC One adaptation.

When is His Dark Materials on TV?

The BBC and HBO have confirmed the series will get its world premiere on Sunday 3 November at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

What is His Dark Materials?

Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of books might be aimed at children, but it has become a firm favourite with young and old readers alike.

It’s three volumes are The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, and it seems the BBC series will cover all three.

Orphan Lyra is being brought up at Jordan College, Oxford, where she has been left by her uncle, Lord Asriel, in the care of the scholars and professors.

She is living in a parallel universe to ours where magic, theology and science are all intertwined. Everyone has an ever-present daemon - a spirit guide - who takes an animal form but who has the speech and intelligence of a human.

But her sheltered existence is shattered by meeting the glamorous Mrs Coulter, who shows her the wider world of London and introduces her to a glittering society party, where she first hears about the sinister General Oblation Board.

She’s then taken in by the boat-dwelling Gyptians, who take her North on her quest to discover more about a plot involving stolen children, and a mysterious phenomenon called Dust.

[Read more: Philip Pullman insists His Dark Materials 'is not an attack on the church']

Lyra’s allies include the aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby, a young boy called Will and an armoured bear called Iorek Byrnison as together they fight a war against celestial powers and Lyra discovers who her parents really are.

The books have been adapted by screenwriter Jack Thorne, famous for his work on This is England ’86, ’88 and ’90, The Fades, National Treasure, and The Last Panthers, as well as Nick Hornby film adaptation A Long Way Down, and JK Rowling stage adaptation Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

James McAvoy, who stars as Lord Asriel, said: "It's about freedom. It's about a group of people, in different ways, trying to go about either freeing humanity, in all its forms - and it takes many forms in this story - or trying to oppress humanity.

"It's also about science and religion, about how both science and spirituality are the same thing and how there's no separation there in some ways.

"It's about societal institutions that are used to control, nullify and castrate the human experience and make us easier and duller, and all that. It's got a very strong viewpoint on organized religion, which should shine through."

Who will star in it?

Taking the lead role as Lyra is Dafne Keen, James McAvoy (Filth) plays Lord Asriel, and Ruth Wilson (Luther) is Mrs Coulter.

It's a dream job for McAvoy, who explained he had been introduced to the books by fellow actors Mark Bonnar and Indira Varma: "They said it would change my life and it did.

"I've read it three times, I think. I've listened to the audiobook twice. I've listened to the BBC radio adaptation, a play version of it, which was abridged, twice. I’ve read The Book of Dust twice. So I'm a massive fan."

Wilson added: "The books have a vast fanbase and Mrs Coulter has a huge following, both obsessed with her and despising her. To get that tone right and to give the fans what they want is quite a daunting challenge."

Hamilton creator and Mary Poppins Returns star Lin-Manuel Miranda features as Lee Scoresby, Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) voices Lord Asriel’s daemon, and David Suchet (Poirot) will voice another of the daemons.

Anne-Marie Duff (Shameless) plays one of the Gyptians, Ma Costa, as does James Cosmo (Braveheart) as Farder Coram.

Hasn't there already been an adaptation?

Yes, the trilogy is such a hit that it’s been adapted a number of different times – for radio, on the stage, and in a movie.

Probably the best known version is the 2007 film The Golden Compass, which starred Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Dakota Blue Richards.

Philip Pullman said: "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. As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn’t be more pleased with this news."

His Dark Materials will begin on BBC One on Sunday, November 3rd at 8pm.

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