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His Dark Materials: Helen McCrory and David Suchet to voice Daemons

Staff Editor

Reading time: 8 mins

His Dark Materials is looming closer on the BBC One horizon, but while we’ve had multiple trailers giving us a glimpse of the impressive cast in action, one mystery that hasn’t been resolved is how the BBC will be tackling the animal-like Daemons that play a central role in Phillip Pullman’s original novels.

Each human is accompanied by their daemon; the physical manifestation of a person’s soul, a reflection of their inner self and their lifelong companion through the world. Daemons take on the appearance of an animal, but with the voice and the intelligence of a human. In childhood, a daemon can change its animal form at will, but at a certain stage of adolescence a daemon settles into its final form – forever reflecting the character of their person.

Puppets were used on set to help the actors form a relationship with their daemon before being created in CGI by Framestore. Now, we have confirmation of who will be voicing them. Alongside the previously announced human cast (led by Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy And Lin-Manuel Miranda), Helen McCrory (Harry Potter) will voice Stelmaria, Lord Asriel’s Snow Leopard, while David Suchet (Poirot) is Kaisa, gyrfalcon daemon to the witch Serafina Pekkala (played by Ruta Gedmintas).

Aeronaut Lee Scoresby’s daemon is an arctic hare called Hester, voiced by American comedian Cristela Alonzo and Lyra Belacqua’s unsettled daemon, Pantalaimon, is voiced by Kit Connor (Rocketman). Although Mrs Coulter’s mysterious Golden Monkey doesn’t speak or have a name, his animal noises and vocal characteristics will be created by Brian Fisher (Detective Pikachu), who is also lead puppeteer and CFX coordinator on the series.

Finally, in the frozen wilderness of the North exist a race of armoured bears (or panserbjørne). Both skilled metal workers and fierce warriors, they have their own culture and laws. Notable to the series is Iorek Byrnison, a bear who Lyra meets on her quest. He will be voiced by Joe Tandberg (The Innocents).

You can see an image of a Daemon in action above – or read on below for the trailer.

Watch: New trailer for BBC One’s His Dark Materials

27th August 2019

“Who is Lyra Belacqua?” That’s the sound of intrigue rising as the BBC unveils its latest trailer for His Dark Materials.

Based on the classic trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman, the series introduces us to the young orphan (Dafne Keen), who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Placed there at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), she lives a sheltered life among the scholars and college staff while under the watchful protection of Dr. Carne and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder). But when her friend Roger goes missing, and the glamorous and mesmeric Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) enters Lyra’s life, she finds herself embarking upon a dangerous journey of discovery from Oxford to London and beyond, as she and many others try to work out what’s causing the disappearance of children – and what, exactly, the General Oblation Board is up to.

Along the way, we’ll encounter Lin-Manuel Miranda as aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby, plus an armoured bear, a host of animals and the mysterious alethiometer.

There’s still no air date as of yet, but you can watch the latest trailer below:

Comic-Con: Extended trailer arrives for His Dark Materials

19th July 2019

“Sometimes, children can just… disappear.” Comic-Con 2019 is officially underway and it’s off to an epic start with the first extended trailer for His Dark Materials.

Starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters as Dr. Carne and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, the series is based on the classic trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman. They follow Lyra, 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 Dr. Carne and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder).

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 (Will Keen), Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and journalist Adele Starminster (Georgina Campbell) 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 (Anne-Marie Duff), Farder Coram (James Cosmo), John Faa (Lucien Msamati), Raymond Van Geritt (Mat Fraser), Jack Verhoeven (Geoff Bell) and Benjamin de Ruyter (Simon Manyonda), 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.

His Dark Materials is no stranger to the screen, although the movie The Golden Compass (based on the first novel) received mixed reviews when released in 2007. The BBC One and HBO series, though, is shaping up to be darker and more sinister, with the new trailer not only giving us a look at Lyra’s alethiometer and Lin-Manuel Miranda in action, but also much more of Wilson’s Mrs. Coulter and her golden monkey, plus, of course, Iorek the armoured bear.

The series premieres on BBC One later this year. Here’s the new video:

Watch: BBC One unveils new trailer for His Dark Materials

17th May 2019

“You once asked me what evil was…” That’s the sound of His Dark Materials finally arriving on BBC One – and, more specifically, us getting our first proper glimpse at the show in the new official trailer.

Starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, Ruth Wilson as Marisa Coulter, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters as Dr. Carne and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, the series is based on the classic trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman. They follow Lyra, 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 Dr. Carne and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder).

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 (Will Keen), Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and journalist Adele Starminster (Georgina Campbell) 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 (Anne-Marie Duff), Farder Coram (James Cosmo), John Faa (Lucien Msamati), Raymond Van Geritt (Mat Fraser), Jack Verhoeven (Geoff Bell) and Benjamin de Ruyter (Simon Manyonda), 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 drama premieres on BBC One later this year. Here’s the video:

Watch: The first trailer for BBC One’s His Dark Materials

24th February 2019

With 2019 well underway, it’s only a matter of months until His Dark Materials finally premieres on BBC One, and now, we’ve got our first look at the series’ impressive cast in action with a new teaser trailer.

The co-production with HBO is keeping its Daemons close to its chest, but anyone who’s read Philip Pullman’s trio of books will know what to expect: a fantasy epic that explores family, sin, faith, corruption, magic, identity and giant bears. Directed by Tom Hooper and adapted by Jack Thorne, the series stars Logan’s Dafne Keen as Lyra, the young protagonist of the story, who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. Placed there at the request of her Uncle, Lord Asriel (James McAvoy), she lives a sheltered life amongst the scholars and college staff while under the watchful protection of The Master (Clarke Peters) and Librarian Scholar Charles (Ian Gelder).

When the glamorous and mesmeric Mrs Coulter (Ruth Wilson) enters Lyra’s life she embarks upon a dangerous journey of discovery from Oxford to London. Here, she meets Father MacPhail (Will Keen), Lord Boreal (Ariyon Bakare) and journalist Adele Starminster (Georgina Campbell) 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 (Anne-Marie Duff), Farder Coram (James Cosmo), John Faa (Lucien Msamati), Raymond Van Geritt (Mat Fraser), Jack Verhoeven (Geoff Bell) and Benjamin de Ruyter (Simon Manyonda), who take her North in her quest. Once in the North, she meets charismatic aeronaut and adventurer Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda), who joins them on their epic journey and who becomes one of Lyra’s closest allies.

The drama has already been renewed for a second season, and this brief glimpse of the cast – and locations including Bolvangar – is enough to make it clear why the Beeb has such confidence in what promises to become a big budget saga.

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