Fantasy novel adaptations are all the rage right now, and the latest series in the works is His Dark Materials. Originally by Phillip Pullman, this popular YA trilogy follows Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry as they explore a series of parallel universes. It was also the source material for the 2007 film, The Golden Compass.

Now, BBC and HBO have joined forces to produce a brand new television series. Jack Thorne - writer of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child - serves as head writer, and he’s joined by star-studded cast. If you’re wondering what familiar faces are involved, what the plot is and most importantly how you can watch, then keep on reading.

When does His Dark Materials start?

His Dark Materials will premiere in the UK on 3 November 2019 on BBC One and 4 November 2019 on HBO in the US. HBO will also be in charge of international distribution, but so far no official dates have been confirmed for other markets. There will be eight episodes in the first season.

His Dark Materials release date, rumours & trailers

How to watch His Dark Materials

UK viewers will be able to watch His Dark Materials on BBC One, or on BBC iPlayer. If you're in the US, you'll need a HBO or HBO Now subscription to watch His Dark Materials. 

If you’re not based in the UK or the US - or are out of your respective country when the show airs - then never fear. You’ll still be able to tune in with the help of one of our suggested VPNs for streaming. VPNs basically block your IP address, so you can appear as if you're browsing from another country and therefore unlock international sites. For the best price and performance, we recommend NordVPN.

If you'd like further details on how to use a VPN, then take a look at our guides for streaming content on BBC iPlayer abroad, and for watching HBO outside of the US.

His Dark Materials trailers

So far we have two trailers for the show. The first was revealed at Comic Con in the summer:

The second trailer was released on 4 October 2019. Watch it below:

What do we know about the plot of His Dark Materials?

The new series will be heavily based on the original Pullman trilogy - Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the US), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass - but modernise the plot slightly from the original Victorian era.

Other than that, the show will stay true to the plot of the books. It will replicate all the fantasy elements such as daemons and dust, and we’ll still see the discussions on philosophy, religion and morality. Basically, if you’re looking for something to fill your post Game of Thrones void, this’ll be it.

His dark materials release date, rumours & trailers

The first series will follow the heroine Lyra who resides 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 to the far North, and even further.

The debut season of His Dark Materials will cover the entire plot of the first book in the trilogy, so we expect that if it gets picked up, it may only last for three seasons if they do a season per book. However, they could also spread the plot out among multiple seasons - only time will tell. 

Who will star in His Dark Materials?

Dafne Keen has been cast in the lead role of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl who resides in the colleges of Oxford who gets dragged into a mysterious series of events in her quest to find her missing friend. Keen is best known for acting opposite Hugh Jackman in the X-Men standalone film, Logan.

Ruth Wilson will take on the role of the chilling antagonist Mrs Coulter. Meanwhile Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will be playing Lee Scoresby, an explorer and balloonist. James McAvoy will also star as Lord Asriel, military leader at Jordan College.

Other talent signed up for the show include Clarke Peters (The Wire), Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror) and Andrew Scott (Fleabag).