The BBC is also set to roll out an adaptation of Phillip Pullman's Victorian crime caper The Ruby in the Smoke. Interestingly the novel's sympathetic heroine Sally Lockhart is played here by Billie Piper, alongside Hayley Atwell, as Rosa. Of course Piper and Atwell are now co-starring in Mansfield Park for ITV. JJ Feild is also starring - rumoured to be Frederick Garland - and the formidable Julie Walters has taken on the role of devilish villainess Mrs Holland. Release dates are yet to be announced. Brian Percival is at the helm. His former adaptation experience includes North and South 2004, and Much Ado About Nothing 2005 - both for the BBC. Adrian Hodges (adapted Metroland 1997, David Copperfield 1999, Lorna Doone 2000) has scripted the piece.
The first film in the much-anticipated Pullman His Dark Materials franchise, The Golden Compass, directed and written by Chris Weitz, is now in production. The New Line film is set for release in 2007. A notable cast has been assembled. Wee Lyra is being played by Dakota Blue Richards (with a name like that it is easy to imagine she has been groomed for stardom!), Lord Asriel is Daniel Craig, Mrs Coulter is Nicole Kidman, Eva Green is Serafina, Ian McShane is the voice of Iorek Byrnison and Clare Higgins plays Ma Costa. Filming is taking place on location in Norway and Worcester College, Oxford.