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BBC film second series of most expensive drama before the first airs

BBC film second series of most expensive drama before the first airs

The BBC’s most-expensive drama revealed: Trailer gives first glimpse of His Dark Materials – as corporation orders second series before the first even airs in case 14-year-old star starts looking too old

  • BBC’s adaption of His Dark Materials is set to be its most expensive drama ever 
  • First installment set to air in autumn but filming for second part already begun 
  • Bosses worry Dafne Keen, 14, will look too old if they wait to film for another year 

By Isabella Nikolic For Mailonline

Published: 10:58 EDT, 21 July 2019 | Updated: 02:55 EDT, 22 July 2019

The BBC is believed to be funding its most expensive drama ever in an effort to match rivals such as Netflix and Amazon.

An adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials isn’t set to air until this autumn, yet the BBC has already begun filming its second installment – at a cost of millions. 

The trilogy will star Dafne Keen, 14, as heroine Lyra Belacqua who will be joined by James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

An adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials isn’t set to air until this autumn, yet the BBC has already begun filming its second installment – at a cost of millions

The trilogy will star Dafne Keen, 14, as heroine Lyra Belacqua who will be joined by James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda

Fearing Dafne would look too old if they waited to for feedback on the first installment before recording the second, the BBC took a risk and started filming straight away. 

While the bold move may seem dangerous, early viewings have indicated that fans will be satisfied. 

The BBC decided to start filming the second installment straight away for fears of Dafne looking too old if they waited

The first trailer was shown to attendees of Comic Con in San Diego and received a cacophony of applause. 

Piers Wenger, the BBC’s head of drama, said that the decision was a ‘leap of faith’. 

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph he said: ‘It’s a leap of faith but a leap of faith that we all felt very sure about. 

‘I think you have to go with your instincts and ours were that we had to back this.

‘It feels really important for the BBC to be behind producing a quintessentially British author’s work.’ 

Although the adaptation is understood to have a lower budget than that of Netflix’s $7million-per-episode The Crown, it will exceed any other previous BBC drama. 

The cost is being shared by the US network HBO, which will distribute the adaptation internationally.

While a previous 2007 adaptation of Pullman’s work, The Golden Compass, turned out to be a box office flop, it is believed that the BBC’s version will have a higher success rate because of its darker tone.  

Piers Wenger, the BBC’s head of drama, said that the decision was a ‘leap of faith’. Pictured is James McAvoy playing Lord Asriel

While a previous 2007 adaptation of Pullman’s work, The Golden Compass, turned out to be a box office flop, it is believed that the BBC’s version will have a higher success rate because of its darker tone. Pictured is Ruth Wilson playing Marisa Coulter

The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, watered down some of the complex elements in Pullman’s novel and in particular his negative representation of organised religion. 

The BBC adaptation has been adapted by Jack Thorne, who wrote the stage play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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