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Cast | Quotes | Commentaries

The cover of the BBC Radio Plays
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In January of 2003, BBC Radio 4 broadcasted three 150 minute radio plays of the His Dark Materials trilogy. The 'listen again' feature on the BBC website does not last this long and the only way to hear the dramatisations now is to purchase them, which you can do below through the site. Unfortunately, they only appear to be available in the UK. Likewise, the various clips of characters on the BBC mini-site are no more. If you find otherwise, please do let us know.

The books were adapted by Lavinia Murray. Several changes were made for their transformation into radio plays; the most notable of these being that the character of Balthamos was turned into an over-arching narrator for the story, explained by calling it his duty as a 'recording angel'. In addition, Mrs. Coulter's unamed golden monkey dæmon was given the name 'Ozymandias' - in our world, the name of an ancient king written about in a sonnet by the poet Shelley, which you can read more about here. The music was composed and realised by Billy Cowie, but again, unfortunately, the samples which were on the BBC His Dark Materials page seem to have vanished. The plays were directed by David Hunter.


Lyra ...... Lulu Popplewell

Lord Asriel ...... Terence Stamp

Mrs. Coulter ...... Emma Fielding

Will ...... Daniel Anthony

Farder Coram ...... Kenneth Cranham

The Master ...... Bill Paterson

Lee Scorseby ...... Peter Marinker

Balthamos ...... Ray Fearon
Hester ...... Carla Simpson
Serafina Pekkala ...... Tracy-Ann Oberman
Iorek Byrnison ...... Steve Hodson
Iofur Raknison ...... Gerard McDermott
Pantalaimon ...... Richard Firth
Ozymandias ...... David Holt
Lord Faa ...... Shaun Dooley
Ma Costa ...... Ann Beach
Joey Costa ...... Ben Crowe
The housekeeper ...... Joanna Monro
Dr. Cooper ...... Martin Hyder
Santelia ...... Ioan Meredith
Roger ...... Leagh Conwell
Annie ...... Soumaya Keynes
Bella ...... Amy Dunn
Stelmaria ...... Laura Doddington
Salcilia ...... Emma Woolliams
Billy ...... Gregg Prentice
Tony ...... Oliver Cookson
Kaisa ...... Simon Donaldson


There were some very strange, bordering on the funny, quotes from the play. These were collected as the radio dramatisations aired and are all direct quotes from the plays. If you have an interesting one you think should also be here, do send it in to us.

The Golden Compass / Northern Lights | The Subtle Knife | The Amber Spyglass

Quotes from Northern Lights / The Golden Compass Radio Play

Pan: "Get off, you're standing on me."
Lyra: "Oh, sorry."

Asriel: "Lyra! Whatthehellareyoudoinghere!? Howdareyoucomeinhere!?"

Pan: "Ow! You stood on me again!"

Pan: "I had really a strange dream..." blah, blah Dust, blah
Pan: "My dream, it had snow, and--" blah, blah, Master, blah, guessed the poison, blah, North, blah blah, don't have time for you, blah, blah
Asriel: "Go to bed. I'll be back in a year's time."
Pan: "I can tell you my dream--"
Lyra: "Shut up, Pan."

Pan: "Oooh, it tastes horrible!"
Lyra: "Well, you're not supposed to eat it."
Pan: "You squeezed it right in my mouth!"

Lyra: "Here's a Biscuit tin, I ate the last two to empty it"

Boy- "Are you a gobbler?" Mrs. Coulter- "Yes, I am."

Lyra: "Uncle Asriel, what if I need to sneeze?" Lord Asriel: "Get Pan to smother you!"

Lee Scoresby: "The balloon's kicking like a wild mustang, Yeee-hah!"

Armored Bear: "You are my prisoner!"
Lyra: "...oookaaay."

Lyra: "It stinks worse than ever...and this horrible poo-y carpet."
Pan: "Don't breathe too deeply or you'll pass out."

"Excuse me sir, If there's a choice, Can I have cheese on Toast please?"

"If light can pass through it, so can we"

Lord Asriel: "I am master of the aurora!!" (muahahaha)

Lyra: "My parents should be shoving each other off the mountain, not kissing. I bloody well want to be an orphan. Look, Pan, they're kissing and stuff!"

Lord Asriel: "You and I could take the universe apart and put it back together again"

Lyra: "Come on Pan, when we find Dust, we'll know what to do. Let's walk into the sky!"

Ma Costa: "Oh, you piece of dung!"

Lyra: "Mrs Coulter is on her way to svalbard with a zepplin with lots of soldiers and they're gonna kill us all"
Lord Asriel: "They'll never reach us"
Lyra "Yes they bloody will!"

Lyra: "He's taken Roja!!"

Roger: "Pardon the staring, but I've never seen a daemon without its human before."
Tony: "Me, neither."
Lyra: "Now you have. Now, go!"
Kaisa: "And I am not used to being stared at."

Balthamos: "They find it the most exhilerating feeling, weightless, floating...although the novelty can wear off, I assure you."

Hester: "He should have wounded, not killed his opponent."
Lee: "But then we all do what we not ought to have done. To err is human."
Hester: "To err is bear! -And hare!"

Hester: "Oh, you'd better. We'll be astronauts not aeronauts if you don't, boy."

Lee: "It works on a spring, kinda like I'd wish I'd like to be when it gets this bumpy!"

Lyra: "Does it? It's hard to make everything out because of the bird poop. Oh, it's everywhere, yuck"

Guard Bear: "So many new rules. I can't keep up with them!"

Lyra: "How do I tell him [Iofur] that? He'll kill me!"
Pan: "Flatter him. Tell him he smells nice."
Lyra: "Pan...."

Lyra: "NOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!"

Quotes from The Subtle Knife Radio Play:

Mrs Parry: WILL! That man keeps *looking* at us!
Will: Well, you're staring at him.

Will: Do you remember where you've put dad's letters?
Mrs Parry: Oh yes... oh yes, they're safe.
Will: Safe where mum?
Mrs Parry: Safe as toast.
Will: No... it's safe as houses.
Mrs Parry: No. No, no... safe as toast.

*phone rings once*
Will: Shut up!
*phone rings again*
Will: SHUT UP!!!

- Hey Walters, anyone ever tell you what amazing hair you have?
- Yeah, my nickname's "Blonde Ambition".

Lyra: It says he's a murderer!
Pan: Ah. Right.

Will: *coughs* Lyra, open a window! Looks like you're cooking rubbery coal. I'll have cereal.
Lyra: Huh!?

Lyra: A human skull with holes in it? And there's Stanislaus Grumman's!
Pan: You've got a thing about skulls.
Lyra: I haven't.
Pan: Have.
Lyra: The museum's deserted. Let's ask the alethiometer about it.
Pan: It'll say you have an unhealthy obsession, and you ought to take up playing the recorder.

Lyra: I've been told you know about Dust.
Dr Malone: I do! You've seen my flat, then? *giggles dorkily*

Lyra: That's the best thing I ever saw in my whole life. (In alien voice) "E.T. phone home..."

Angelica: She scratches and puts the devil in you!
Paolo: Kill the buggers!!

Pan: I'm NOT turning into a bird.
Lyra: Yes you are.

Angelica: Murderer! We're gonna kill you!
Lyra: Oh no... they're carrying STICKS!

Will: Come on, we'd better go see.
Lyra: You go first. In case they need killing.
Will: In case they need what?!

Dr Malone: So, Mary... are you boldly going whe--
Policeman: Can I ask where you're boldly going, miss?

Policeman: That seems in order Dr Payne. And I'll have to ask you to step away from that Dr Malone. She's a one by the sound of it, and *Irish* apparently, heh, some kind of a pothole in there I expect.
Dr Malone: *in exaggerated English accent* Probably!

Carlo: And to think, a whole world trembles in their power!
Marisa: Yes. Amusing isn't it.

Quotes from The Amber Spyglass Radio Play

Lee's Ghost: "It's good to do some hand to hand combat, even if we ain't got hands! Yeeeee-haw!"

Will upon seeing the mulefas: "They're like a cross between an antelope and a motorcycle!"

Lyra when she must leave Will: "Will my love... it's time!"

Will: "Balthamos and Baruch. You sound like a pair of solicitors."

Will: "This should be my Oxford."
Balthamos: "Ah, yes. Congested on the M40 between Junctions 8 and 9."

Ms. Coulter: "Stop pinching her arm!"
Ozymandias: "I was soothing her."
Ms. Coulter: "You've left red marks!"

Will: "You're making it harder for me to reach Lyra. I've got this Metatron thing attacking me now because of you."

Malone: [speaking of the mulefa] "Hello?.....Clever....Strange.......Spooky."

Village Woman: "They eat children now there's no seals. They're vicious! They carry diseases. We shall kill them. Vermin!"
Village Man: "Look! That big one's on the shore!"
Village Woman: "There's something wrong with an animal that walks around with metal and __weighs?__ armor. They're great big hairy blacksmiths! ____?____!"

Coulter: "The Republic ? Is that why Lord Asriel left his servent at home?"

Lyra: "...and the table's in front of the door because...?" [on Mary's being afraid after seeing Father Gomez]

Gomez: "The girl [Lyra] looks like an angel..."
Balthalmos: "And I look even more like an angel."

Gomez: "Who are you?!"
Balthalmos: "I am Balthalmos, and I am an avenging angel."

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Images from The Golden Compass movie are © New Line Cinema.