Audiodrama - The Dark is Rising

Toby Jones, Harriet Walter, Paul Rhys and newcomer Noah Alexander are set to star in The Dark Is Rising, a new audiodrama, coming from the BBC World Service in December...

Press Release

Based on the classic novel by Susan Cooper, The Dark Is Rising tells the story of Will Stanton (played by 13 year old Noah Alexander), an ordinary boy who begins to have eerie and magical experiences on his 11th birthday, one snowy December. Will discovers that he belongs to a group of ancient, time-travelling beings called the Old Ones, who are guardians of ‘the Light’ - and must wage an unending battle against the forces of 'the Dark’.

The story opens on Midwinter’s Eve. In the landscape around Will Stanton’s quiet English village, something is very wrong. Birds are behaving strangely, a blizzard is building, the Walker is abroad - and the power of the Dark is surging.

Together with his fellow Old Ones, Merriman and The Lady, Will must untangle the riddle of the Walker, protect his family from the terrifying Rider, collect the Signs Of Light - and defeat the Dark. It is an immense burden on young shoulders.

The Dark Is Rising will be released as a podcast and linear-broadcast on BBC World Service in 12 daily episodes, beginning on 20th December, with each episode corresponding to the ‘real time’ of the novel’s unfolding. It is recorded partly in binaural sound, which gives listeners using headphones a unique immersive experience. The Dark Is Rising will be an advent calendar like no other - and a remarkable audio event for families and all ages alike worldwide.

This is the first time in 25 years that Cooper’s cult 1973 book - which has sold millions of copies worldwide - has been dramatised for radio and podcast by the BBC. The production is the result of a remarkable collaboration between BBC World Service and some of Britain’s most renowned artists. The novel has been adapted for audio by the legendary director, actor and theatre-maker Simon McBurney (The Encounter, A Disappearing Number) and the internationally best-selling writer Robert Macfarlane (Underland, The Lost Words, The Old Ways), whose Midwinter Twitter ‘read-along’ of the novel in 2017 inspired tens of thousands of fans.

It is co-produced by five-time Sony Radio Award winner Catherine Bailey and theatre company Complicité (‘the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain’ - The Times). It is commissioned by Simon Pitts (U.Me The Musical, The Bomb).

Directed by McBurney, with a superb ensemble cast, the dramatisation conjures the uncanny universe of Cooper’s novel. Listeners will be drawn into a spine-tingling winter soundscape, with original music by actor and singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn (Emma, Ripley, The Dig), Luisa Gerstein and Heloise Tunstall-Behrens. Sound design is by Olivier and Tony Award winner Gareth Fry (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games).

BBC World Service English Commissioning Editor, Simon Pitts, says: “I’m thrilled to be bringing together some of Britain’s greatest storytellers for this very special audio event at Christmas on the BBC.”

When the dark comes rising, who will hold it back?

Image - BBC
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