His Dark Materials series commissioned by BBC

wam

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Surprising that the article doesn't mention the previous radio version - also a BBC production. Given the name of the production company (Bad Wolf) are they something to do with the old Dr Who series?
 

Bugg

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Just saw that Bad Wolf are also adapting Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian trilogy, 'The Warlord Chronicles', as well. Very excited about that!

"Variety can also exclusively reveal that the company is developing an adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s trilogy “The Warlord Chronicles,” which is a revisionist take on the King Arthur legend. “He is a great storyteller as we know from everything from ‘Sharpe’ to ‘The Last Kingdom,’” Gardner said. “He has a very innovative way into the Arthurian stories, which is to take an ordinary man who by work, chance and life is an observer and an intimate in the relationships of Arthur, Lancelot and the key characters that we know."

http://variety.com/2015/tv/global/hbo-partners-with-production-company-bad-wolf-1201632217/
 

SilentRoamer

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I suspect they'll tone down the anti-religious feeling of them as well.

I think they will have to - New Line Media essentially dropped the films due to a serious amount of pressure following the first film and that was somewhat toned down with the Ministry taking more of a backseat.
 

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I'm looking forward to this. I was impressed with the Beeb's adaptation of Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange and if there's one thing the broadcaster can do well it's TV adaptations of books.
 
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Hex

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Seems weird to tone down the Ministry. Won't taking out the difficult and interesting stuff risk turning the books into a cute story about a spunky little girl and her talking pet? (I liked the last two books very much -- must go and read the trilogy again)
 

Jo Zebedee

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Seems weird to tone down the Ministry. Won't taking out the difficult and interesting stuff risk turning the books into a cute story about a spunky little girl and her talking pet? (I liked the last two books very much -- must go and read the trilogy again)
I think to take out the Ministry would make little sense as that's what gives the feel to the trilogy. I didn't mind book 2 but found 3 very weak and obvious in terms of delivering a message.
 

SilentRoamer

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Seems weird to tone down the Ministry. Won't taking out the difficult and interesting stuff risk turning the books into a cute story about a spunky little girl and her talking pet? (I liked the last two books very much -- must go and read the trilogy again)

I think the problem is that strongly Conservative religious groups see the Ministry aspect of the story as an allegory to the power wielded by Catholicism. I think the criticism is rightly identified (clearly Pullman was pushing his own agenda) but I agree that taking out the Ministry (allegories aside) will significantly change the story. I mean a key theme in the first book was Lyra's rebellion.
 

Overread

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The problem is if you tone down the anti-organised-religious aspect you don't really have much left of Dark Materials. At least you don't have a core theme; you have an adventure but nothing stringing it together. It has to be there; any adaptation should really and honestly include that aspect if they want to do it; otherwise just write a series about a gal with magical animals and bears in armour and be done with it.

Kinda hard to imagine how they'll get 3 books into 8 episodes; but might be doable. Hopefully they at least do a better job than the film.
 

HareBrain

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Kinda hard to imagine how they'll get 3 books into 8 episodes;

I heard somewhere it's five series of eight episodes each.

And I agree about how pointless it would be if the whole Authority thing were removed. I won't call them cowards yet, but I'll be practising.
 

Overread

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Thing is why shell out for the rights to it and why choose it over other titles (all things considered its "big" but its not so big and well known that its going to draw vast crowds of fans) if the writers choose to change core aspects. I get the whole "not wanting to marginalise a target market" and all but honestly if you pick Dark Materials you kinda have to go with the story - its like choosing to do a film on World War 2 and wanting to take out the Nazis.
 

Vertigo

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I think I'd agree with the problems of removing the religious aspects however I can fully understand them doing it. I'm not religious but I'm also not anti-religious and I found what I can only describe as Pullman's ardent anti-religious proselytising distasteful in the extreme which is why I gave up after the second book. They're well written and good stories but I felt very strongly that Pullman was pushing his own agenda (make that shoving it down the readers' throats) in a way that I could not blame any religious people being offended. If the BBC retain that then I suspect they will be the subject of a massive wave of complaints.

@Overread I'm not sure your comparison is a very good one; distaste/hatred of the Nazi's and what they represent is pretty much universal, distaste or hatred of religion is not.
 

SilentRoamer

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I think I'd agree with the problems of removing the religious aspects however I can fully understand them doing it. I'm not religious but I'm also not anti-religious and I found what I can only describe as Pullman's ardent anti-religious proselytising distasteful in the extreme which is why I gave up after the second book. They're well written and good stories but I felt very strongly that Pullman was pushing his own agenda (make that shoving it down the readers' throats) in a way that I could not blame any religious people being offended. If the BBC retain that then I suspect they will be the subject of a massive wave of complaints.

I don't think Pullman was anti religious in the book, he seemed anti authority to me - specifically religious authority wielded by Catholicism. However I disagree with your main thrust - the adaption would be a weaker story for its censure and religious allegory redaction would IMO significantly change the themes of the novels. I feel that all work has some sort of agenda anyway.

Also distaste and hatred of the Nazis being almost Universal is not relevant IMO. I take Overread as meaning that irrespective of the extent of offence caused removal of a core part of the story can only server to weaken the material - much like removing the Nazis from any WW2 film would be to remove a key piece of the story - irrespective of offense caused.

All interesting points above though.
 

Hex

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I can see why they'd be scared, but as people have said: the anti-religious authority side is a central part of the books, and what makes them challenging and interesting. The BBC doesn't have to neutral in everything it shows, it just needs to provide balance. I hope they do the books justice.
 

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I'm another who thought the last book was pretty awful, which was disappointing as I loved Northern Lights (the middle book was OK, but nothing like as good to my mind). I tried to listen to the radio version, which had Terence Stamp as Lord Asriel, which I thought was perfect casting until I heard him. I don't think I lasted 10 minutes. So I'll reserve judgement here until I actually see it.

As to the religious aspect, I can't see them toning it done, and not only because the bien pensants of the BBC are hardly renowned for their sensitivity to Christian beliefs. There's a vast difference between a film which is dependent in large measure on US sales, and the BBC's output, which would quite like US sales but isn't relying on them. The US is vastly more religious than the UK, both in numbers of believers and as a percentage of population, plus their more extreme and vociferous elements are greater in number and clout. There might be some complaints here about anti-Catholic bias, but nothing like there would be in the US. (And nothing like what would happen if the Ministry were based on, say, Hindu, Sikh or Islamic models which would really set the cat among the pigeons.)
 

Vertigo

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Actually that's a very valid point about the difference between US and UK on the religious front and you may very well be right.
 

BAYLOR

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I read the trilogy a fews back and while they were very well written. I absolutely hated the ending.
 

Anushka Mokosh

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I reread the trilogy some year or so ago. I liked it well enough because I did think that it was well-written on the whole and have an interesting story and adventure. Especially true for book one. Book two I'm more inclined to like than to dislike while book three is simply not on par with first two. It does have certain issues where it tends to get too preachy regarding the Christianity (let's face it, it is Christianity that is depicted albeit exaggerated) and its off-shots in parallel dimensions as well as organised religion in general. Especially in the last book. I even think reading the last book took me twice the time first two took me together.

One of the main things I disliked was how black and white it all was in regards to the religion with all religious characters being painted with a rather dark brush while all the good guys are people who either never believed or only believed in the past and now think religion is bad. Only grey characters are those who are using the religion as means to an end. Closest we get to a positive character connected to religion was Mary and she was a former nun who said "The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that’s all.". And that is closest thing to positive we hear in entire trilogy about religion. It lacks balance in that regard because it doesn't offer an alternative to the negativity it aims towards religion in the least. Worse yet, it made it a point to depict one distinct religion as such. It isn't an organized religion created with elements of several existing organized religions that are bad. It is one specific religion with its elements exaggerated. While argument could be made that the critique is intended towards authority that such organizations hold, the distinction is never made at all. Everything religious organization did in those books is decisively bad beyond the shadow of a doubt. It is a major minus in my book because I don't like one-sidedness since I find it far too misleading and I can see how that can push people away. Several of people who read it with me had dropped it at one point or another citing it to be too "on the nose" for them regarding the message about religion.

That being said, I don't think that they should tone down those elements if they go along with adapting it. People should be smart enough to know that they can disagree and let it be. It is someone else's opinion and nobody must agree with it. (I know. It is wishful thinking.) However, if they were to go about toning it down (and I do understand why they might want to since aforementioned scenario is wishful thinking), I think that they shouldn't cut out those elements, but rather balance it out in regards to depiction of characters who are in religious organizations. After all, there exist countless worlds. It is impossible religion is oh so entirely bad in all of them. Why not introduce some new characters if they need to tone it down? Balance would be much preferable than outright cutting those elements out and if things are being changed anyway, why not take that route?
 

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