Where is His Dark Materials Filmed?

Watching fantasy television shows and wonder where is His Dark Materials filmed makes you want to know more about the show.

Embarking on an adventure through the fantastical realms of “His Dark Materials,” the television adaptation of Philip Pullman’s beloved novels, is akin to walking into a mosaic of diverse landscapes and intricate set designs.

Your curiosity about where this mesmerizing series was brought to life can be attributed to the dedication of the production teams to create such authentic and immersive settings.

Venturing across the UK, from the historic spires of Oxford to the rugged terrain of Wales, the series showcases the architectural marvels and scenic beauty the country has to offer.

In addition to these British locations, parts of the series were also staged in Spain, providing the contrast and diversity needed for the series’ alternate worlds.

The precise locations, including the grandeur of Oxford colleges and the fictitious city of Cittàgazze, play a fundamental role in conveying the story’s rich narrative landscape.

Where is His Dark Materials Filmed?

The tv series adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy was brought to life across various striking locations predominantly in Wales, England, and Spain.

Primary Production Sites

  • Wales: Brecon Beacons National Park was used for its sweeping landscapes and natural beauty, providing a backdrop for many outdoor scenes.
  • England: The city of Oxford, particularly New College, served as a central location setting, mirroring the book’s Jordan College.

Notable Studios and Sets

  • Bad Wolf Studios: Located in Cardiff, Wales, this was the main hub for indoor set pieces and scenes requiring controlled environments.
  • Sharpness Docks: Situated in Gloucester, England, this dock area was utilized for specific scenes thanks to its distinct industrial appearance.

Filming in the United Kingdom

His Dark Materials, a rich fantasy series bringing Philip Pullman’s universe to life, has made extensive use of various UK landscapes and historic venues.

Your viewing experience is deeply rooted in the authenticity these real-world locations provide.

Oxford’s Influence

Oxford is not just a backdrop but a key character in the His Dark Materials narratives.

You’ll recognize the prestigious Oxford University’s New College and the enchanting Bridge of Sighs.

Merton Street’s architecture also features prominently, capturing the academic and mystical essence of Lyra’s world.

Welsh Landscapes

The production set down roots in Wales, specifically at Wolf Studios in Cardiff.

This location served as a versatile hub, replicating multiple in-world locations from Pullman’s universe.

You can imagine the sprawling sets and the meticulous detail taken to create such an intricate fantasy world.

Scottish Highlands

While specific details about filming in the Scottish Highlands are not as widely publicized as in Oxford or Wales, the grandeur and natural beauty of the Highlands have often been sought after for filming.

Its rugged landscapes would naturally complement the series’ epic narrative and are a fitting choice for a series that spans such diverse environments.

International Filming Locations

While “His Dark Materials” takes you across a multitude of majestic landscapes and settings, some of the most breathtaking backdrops are thanks to its international filming locations.

From the frigid beauty of Norway to the rich historical textures of Italy, you’re in for a visual treat.

Norwegian Exploration

When your journey takes you to the North, the scenes depicting the cold and ethereal lands in “His Dark Materials” were actually filmed in Norway.

This country’s stunning fjords and expansive snowy landscapes give life to the far-flung arctic vistas of Lyra’s world.

Norway stands in for the fictional world’s Svalbard, where the armored bears rule, and ice stretches as far as the eye can see.

Italian Scenery

Heading over to the warmer hues of Italy, you’ll find that the charming streets and historic ambiance have attracted the eye of the series’ location scouts.

Specifically, His Dark Materials captures the Italian charm through architectural marvels and scenic landscapes that serve as backdrops to the characters’ adventures.

Italy’s contribution to the show’s aesthetics is unmistakable, blending seamlessly into the narrative’s diverse settings.

Adapting Locations for On-Screen Magic

When you take a beloved literary series like His Dark Materials, transforming it into an on-screen spectacle requires not just talented actors and special effects, but also the right filming locations that bring the pages to life.

In Wales, the majestic landscapes and Bad Wolf Studios became the primary canvas where much of the filming took place.

This studio-based production allowed for controlled environments that are crucial for the fantastical elements of the series.

Moving to England, the series’ producers selected real-world locations that mirror the prestige and mystery of Jordan College.

Iconic sites such as Oxford University’s New College, The Bridge of Sighs, and Merton Street were carefully chosen to resemble the parallel Oxford from Philip Pullman’s narrative.

  • Oxford University’s New College: A stand-in for the prestigious Jordan College.
  • The Bridge of Sighs: Captures Oxford’s magical atmosphere.
  • Merton Street: Real-world echo of the novel’s historical charm.

Lastly, a touch of Spanish landscape contributes a diverse backdrop to this fantastical world, providing contrast and variety to the scenery.

Behind The Scenes

As you explore the making of His Dark Materials, you’ll notice the meticulous work in set design and location choices that bring this fantastical series to life.

Set Design and Construction

Creating the various worlds of His Dark Materials required intricate set designs that reflect the series’ blend of the familiar with the fantastical.

Wales served as a central hub for these designs, with Wolf Studios Wales crafting many of the indoor sets.

From the grandeur of Jordan College to the bleakness of the North, each set is built to immerse you fully into Philip Pullman’s universe.

  • Jordan College: Built with a combination of real Oxford locations and soundstage sets.
  • The North: Sets created to mimic icy landscapes, complete with complex structures to represent the dwellings and fortresses within this barren region.

Location Scouting Process

Finding the perfect real-world backdrops for His Dark Materials was as crucial as constructing the sets.

The production team scouted various locations, ensuring they complemented the storytelling and visual narrative.

  • Real-world Oxford: Served as the foundation for Lyra’s world, with the University of Oxford’s New College, the Bridge of Sighs, and Merton Street prominently featured.
  • Scenes on the water: The River Severn, near Sharpness Docks, was chosen for boating scenes, providing a naturalistic setting for the characters’ aquatic journeys.

Key Takeaways

  • Filming Locations: His Dark Materials was primarily filmed in the UK. Wales and England were central spots, while Spain also features as one of the exotic locations.
  • Authentic Oxford Setting: You can see the authentic architecture of Oxford University’s New College, which doubles as Jordan College in Lyra’s world.
  • The Bridge of Sighs and Merton Street in Oxford were also part of filming.
  • Dual Filming: The series ambitiously captured the first two seasons concurrently, depicting events from the novels ‘Northern Lights’ and ‘The Subtle Knife.’
  • New College Appeal: The 14th-century New College offered the perfect ambiance for various scenes.
  • The glimpse of Lyra running through the chapel or the dining hall during a formal feast really transported viewers into Pullman’s universe.

Here’s a snapshot of some significant sites:

LocationUsage in Series
OxfordMain setting for Jordan College
WalesVarious scenes and backdrops
SpainAdditional exotic settings

Many scenes were filmed on location.

However, His Dark Materials also heavily relied on studio work, employing CGI to bring the fantastical elements to life.