His Dark Materials is reaching its conclusion – with the third and final season of Philip Pulman’s fantasy trilogy set to air on BBC One on Sunday 18th December and all episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer.
Fans will be familiar with the tale of Lyra Belacqua – or Silvertongue, as she’s also known – and her adventures through parallel universes with her friend, Will Parry. But how many know of the important role Wales played in the much-loved production?
Made in Wales at Wolf Studios, produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema for BBC One (UK) and HBO (USA), the series has been supported by us here at Creative Wales throughout its six years of filming. In this guide, we explore the Wales-based crew, facilities and locations that helped make the series a success over the last three seasons.
Over the last six years, Creative Wales has worked closely with the team that created His Dark Materials. Through our Wales Screen Service, we’ve provided logistical support with our extensive locations database. This allowed us to work with local authorities to help production staff find the perfect locations across Wales.
Our beautiful bays, beaches and valleys have provided the perfect backdrop to Lyra’s adventures, with filming taking place in many locations across Wales – from the beautiful Dunraven Bay in the Vale of Glamorgan to the iconic Llyn Y Fan Fach in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Other locations include Wentwood Forest in Monmouthshire and Blaenavon Ironworks in Torfaen.
Cardiff has also played a prominent part, with scenes shot across our capital city – from the Welsh Government offices to the Temple of Peace.
As well as locations across Cymru, a large amount of filming was shot at Wolf Studio Wales in Cardiff. The studio has six stages, which were used to bring Pullman’s fantasy worlds to life.
Many Wales-based crews have worked on His Dark Materials over the years. On season three alone, there were 333 crew in total with 60% (or 203, to be precise) of those being Wales-based professionals.
As part of our funding agreement, we secured 10 Wales-based high-level trainee placements. These were arranged via Screen Alliance Wales and were sourced from a variety of training providers, including Coleg-Y-Cymoedd and the University of South Wales.
That meant that trainees came from across South Wales, as well as from a range of disciplines – such as costume trainees and production assistants.
Finally, let’s talk about the facilities. When it comes to filming in Wales, we have a breadth of businesses on hand to support productions from both within and outside the creative industries.
To bring His Dark Materials together, Bad Wolf worked closely with prominent companies from across the creative industries in Wales, including Mad Dog Casting, Painting Practice Wales, Movietech Cymru and 4Wood.
They also sought the help and specialisms of local suppliers across all three series, from Dragon Taxis to Celtic Skips.
All-in-all, Wales has played a lead role in the production, and it will be a shame to say goodbye to the successful series. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end…