Meet Will Keen: The actor making His Dark Materials a family affair

His Dark Materials Will Keen

His Dark Materials may star Dafne Keen but did you know her father, Will, also makes an appearance?

One of the most central aspects of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novel series is the strong connections with family throughout the series, most obviously in the form of Lyra and her uncle Lord Asriel.

However, it is not an on-screen familial relationship that we're discussing here. 

While Dafne Keen takes on the starring role of Lyra in the BBC's and HBO's His Dark Materials, she is joined in the series by her father, Will Keen who is also an actor.

But just who does he play in the series and what else might you know him from?

  • SEE ALSO: What year is His Dark Materials set in? Leap into Lyra’s Victorian adventure on the BBC!

His Dark Materials on the BBC

In a world where streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are starting to pull audiences away from traditional TV, the BBC needed something big to draw in the masses and have spared no expense with this adaptation of His Dark Materials.

While the BBC's colleagues in this endeavour, HBO, are no strangers to creating big-budget series, His Dark Materials is widely reported to be the most expensive show ever to air on the BBC.

The first series is believed to have cost around £50 million which works out at around £6.25 million per episode which is the same amount as HBO spent on the early seasons (1-4) of Game of Thrones.

Whether the big-budget adaptation can earn the same success as its HBO counterpart remains to be seen.

  • FILMING LOCATIONS: Where was His Dark Materials filmed? Epic BBC fantasy stays faithful to its novel origins

His Dark Materials BBC Poster

Will Keen in His Dark Materials

Despite Dafne Keen standing firmly in the spotlight in His Dark Materials as the series' main character, she isn't the only Keen to make an appearance in the series. 

Will Keen, Dafne's father, also makes an appearance in His Dark Materials' first episode.

We meet him at around the two-thirds mark of the first episode when he's introduced as Father MacPhail, a member of the seemingly all-powerful Magisterium, the almost authoritarian regime that controls the world of His Dark Materials.

His Dark Materials Will Keen

What else has Will Keen been in?

Will Keen's acting career got underway back in 1994 when he took on a role in the BBC TV series Alleyn Mysteries

Since then, the Oxford-born actor has gone onto appear in over 30 films and TV shows.

Will Keen's early years in the acting industry involved appearances in the ever-present British show such as The Bill, Holby City, Midsomer Murders and New Tricks.

In 2012, Will Keen appeared in four episodes of the Titanic mini-series before going onto earn roles in Sherlock, The Musketeers and The Refugees where he appeared alongside his daughter in her first acting role.

Will Keen's biggest role to date is arguably his appearance as Michael Adeane in Netflix's The Crown where he has appeared in 15 episodes of the hit show. 

His Dark Materials which features Will Keen and his daughter Dafne continues on BBC One at 8pm on Sunday, November 10th.

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