His Dark Materials soundtrack: who composed the music for the BBC TV series?

22 November 2019, 16:54

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Based on the trilogy of novels by Philip Pullman, ‘His Dark Materials’ is the new fantasy TV series which follows young Lyra Belacqua and her daemon through a series of parallel universes to uncover a particularly sinister operation.

Settling down to watch the BBC’s latest Sunday night drama, His Dark Materials, we found ourselves wondering: what’s that chilling music in the opening credits?

Based on the trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass), His Dark Materials is currently in its first series.

It stars James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda with Dafne Keen playing Lyra Belacqua.

Read more: All the music and songs in The Crown Season 3 >

His Dark Materials - a new BBC and HBO series
His Dark Materials - a new BBC and HBO series. Picture: BBC/HBO

And enticing us into each episode is a rather chilling, symphonic theme – written by Lorne Balfe, a Scottish-born, Grammy-winning composer.

The ‘Opening Credits’ theme leads with a solo piano, cello and violins, before the brass section joins and a chorus of voices enters Balfe’s chilling soundworld.

It’s an epic work that perfectly foreshadows Lyra’s journey, and could easily belong in Assassin’s Creed or Tomb Raider.

His Dark Materials: Opening Credits (Season 1) | HBO

Who is Lorne Balfe, composer of His Dark Materials?

Lorne Balfe (Mission Impossible: Fallout, The Lego Batman Movie) has written music for TV, film and video games.

Originally from Inverness, Scotland, Balfe cut his teeth working with Hans Zimmer in Los Angeles.

He has composed music for the Call of Duty franchise, as well as TV series The Crown. As a score producer, Balfe was awarded a Grammy for The Dark Knight (2009), and in 2012 he earned his first Emmy nomination for the mini-series Restless.

There’s been a lot of love for Balfe’s music for His Dark Materials, with one Twitter user saying it’s been “playing and replaying in their head”, and another calling it their “favourite intro for a TV show in 2019”.

His Dark Materials is on BBC One on Sunday nights at 8pm (GMT) and BBC iPlayer.