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The Golden Compass

People who are interested will probably have seen the film by now. If they're very interested, they'll probably have read about how the film didn't do as well as the studio had hoped at the American box office. They might also have read that the film did very well in the rest of the world, but that despite that, the studio isn't likely to make the sequels.

I haven't got very much to add to that except to say that many things about the film were excellent, especially the performances. Of course Im disappointed that were not likely to see Dakota Blue Richards acting the rest of Lyra's story, and Nicole Kidman doing Mrs Coulter's final speech, and Sam Elliott holding out against the enemy forces at the pass in the mountains and a hundred other things; but there we are.

The Girl with the Butterfly Tattoo

Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June, when one of the colleges in Oxford was holding its summer ball." A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance - and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for revenge crushes those who stand in his way. This low-budget film was made by some Dutch enthusiasts, and I think they made a pretty good job of it.

Ruby in the Smoke

Sally Lockhart and friends investigate the disappearance of a steamship, a magician who is threatened by thugs, a psychic with dark visions, and heartless industrialist.

Sally's friend Jim Taylor is played by Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame, the role marking his TV debut. Jim's a great amateur detective, which makes him an absolutely indispensible help for Sally as she attempts to piece together the mystery surrounding the Ruby of Agrapur. 

His Dark Materials

Adapted by Nicholas Wright, the National Theatre's stage production of His Dark Materials in 2003 took us on a thrilling journey through worlds familiar and unknown. For Lyra and Will, its two central characters, it's a coming of age and a transforming spiritual experience. Their great quest demands a savage struggle against the most dangerous of enemies. They encounter fantastical creatures in parallel worlds – rebellious angels, soul-eating spectres, child-catching Gobblers and the armoured bears and witch-clans of the Arctic. Finally, before reaching, perhaps, the republic of heaven, they must visit the land of the dead.

His Dark Materials was an epic production both in its narrative scope and its staging, involving artists from new technologies as well as old. It is one of the National’s most ambitious projects, and aims to create an experience as meaningful for 12 year olds as for adults. This riveting story unfolds over the course of two plays.

Director: Nicholas Hytner with Matt Wilde
Associate Director/Choreographer: Aletta Collins
Set Designer: Giles Cadle
Costume Designer: Jon Morrell
Puppet Designer: Michael Curry
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
Associate Lighting Designer: Vic Smerdon
Music: Jonathan Dove
Music Director: Mark Bousie
Fight Director: Terry King
Sound Designer: Paul Groothuis
Video Projection Designer:
Thomas Gray for The Gray Circle
Computer Graphics Designer:
Yuri Tanaka for The Gray Circle


Serafina Pekkala: Adjoa Andoh
Billy Costa: Mark Buchner
Lord Boreal: John Carlisle
Jessie: Michelle Dockery
Mrs Lonsdale: Vanessa Earl
Pantalaimon: Jamie Harding
Roger: Darren Hart
Iofur Raknison/Jeptha Jones: Don Gallagher
John Faa: Ian Gelder
Lord Asriel: David Harewod
Golden Monkey: Leo Kay
Farder Coram: David Killick
Ben: Pascal Langdale
Lilly: Samantha Lawson
Will: Michael Legge
Brother Jasper/Kaisa: Elliot Levey
Stelmaria: Emma Manton
Mrs Coulter: Lesley Manville
Professor Hopcraft: Iain Mitchell
Salcilia: Victoria Moseley
Daisy: Helen Murton

The Firework Maker's Daughter

I was very happy to see this production of The Firework-Maker’s Daughter coming to the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, and then on tour throughout the country. Stephen Russell, the playwright, has done a great job of making what was a book into a play, and the company Told By An Idiot has given it a production full of colour and fun – and fire. The story of Lila, and how she wants to be a firework-maker like her father Lalchand, was a very important one for me; I told it first a long time ago in the form of a play for the school where I was teaching. I wanted lots of Indonesian-style music, and masks, and colour, and magic, and we managed to bring some of that to the temporary stage in the hall of Bishop Kirk School in Oxford; and then some time later I made it into a book. Now here it is as a play once more, and very well done it is.

Creative Team:

Director: Paul Hunter
Associate Director: Hayley Carmichael
Designer: Naomi Wilkinson
Lighting Designer: Jon Linstrum
Composer: Iain Johnstone
Sound Designer: Nick Manning


Ayesha Antoine
Tom Espiner
Hannes Flashberger
Charlie Folorunsho
Gregory Gudgeon
Joanne Howarth
Amanda Lawrence
Lucian Msamati
Malcolm Ridley
Jason Webb
Mo Zainal

I was a Rat

My story “I Was a Rat!”, adapted by Teresa Ludovico, will open at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham on 12 February 2013, and then tour to Ipswich, Liverpool, Nottingham, Bury St Edmunds, Truro, Cambridge, Salford, Exeter, Leeds, and Hereford.

His Dark Materials (BBC radio)

The BBC made His Dark Materials into a radio drama on BBC Radio 4 starring Terence Stamp as Lord Asriel and Lulu Popplewell as Lyra. The play was broadcast in 2003 and was published by the BBC on CD and cassette. With 3 episodes in total, each episode was 2.5 hours long.

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