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Script Comp

HBO sews up Dark Materials deal

US-based cablenet HBO has beaten off a number of competitors to take worldwide rights outside of the UK to the BBC’s forthcoming adaption of Philip Pullman’s novel trilogy His Dark Materials.

Two eight-episode seasons are in the works, being produced by UK- and LA-based Bad Wolf alongside New Line Cinema. The story centres on an orphan who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined, following the teenage girl as she uncovers a sinister plot to kidnap children.

Tech giant Apple had been in the running to acquire the show, with others including US-based streamer Netflix thought to be interested.

However, HBO, which took a stake in Bad Wolf last year in return for a first-look deal, has now bagged all rights outside of the UK. BBC Studios (fka BBC Worldwide) is handling sales, with Endeavour Content overseeing rights in North America.

The show is based on Pullman’s trilogy made up of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, with a cast that includes Dafne Keen, James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Anne-Marie Duff.

Pullman is exec producing alongside Bad Wolf founders Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner, while Toby Emmerich and Carolyn Blackwood are attached for New Line Cinema. BBC drama chief Piers Wenger and Ben Irving are on board for BBC1 and Deborah Forte is exec producing for publisher Scholastic.

Directors include Tom Hooper, Dawn Shadforth, Otto Bathhurst, Euros Lyn and Jamie Childs.

The novels have been published in more than 40 languages and have already been adapted for radio and the stage. A film, an audiobook and a graphic novel have also been produced. The BBC originally ordered the show in 2015.

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