Some superb drama


I spent two and a half hours yesterday glued to the radio listening to the first part of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, being serialised on Radio 4. By coincidence, I had just finished reading the last part of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass. I had really enjoyed it, and as usual, worried a little about how well it would be adapted. The fact that I was glued for two and a half hours speaks volumes for the quality of the dramatisation. Of course, a few aspects got lost. A lot of the feeling in the book is built up gradually without being explicitly explained. The horror and pain that people in Lyra's world feel when their daemon strays too far from them is implied so skilfully, that when the children get severed, you feel the impact fully and it is a genuinely moving moment. This didn't really come across so powerfully on the radio. On the positive side, Iorek Byrnison's voice (the armoured bear) was exactly as I imagined it.

If you haven't read the trilogy, don't be put off by the fact that it is billed as a children's book. It certainly isn't childish. Its themes are innocence, religion, consciousness, life, death, and love. It's meaty stuff.