photo by Camilla Adams

Director and Adaptor

Simon McBurney


Robert Macfarlane

Sound Designer

Gareth Fry

Original Songs by

Johnny Fynn, Luisa Gerstein and Heloise Tunstall-Behrens

Music by

Josh Sneesby

Sound Engineer

Leon Chambers

Production Co-ordinator

Kate Brook

Co-Produced by

Complicité and Catherine Bailey Productions


Noah Alexander, Thomas Arnold, Simon Bubb, Danny Bailey, Amanda Hadingue, Toby Jones, Simon McBurney, Tim McMullan, Paul Rhys, Natasha Stone, Harriet Walter, Miles Yekinni

The night will be bad and tomorrow will be beyond imagining

The Dark Is Rising is a 12-part dramatisation for radio of Susan Cooper's classic 1970s novel for families. Originated by Complicité and Simon McBurney, directed and adapted for radio by McBurney with co-adaptor Robert MacFarlane, it is a co-production by Complicité and Catherine Bailey Productions for the BBC World Service.

Starring Toby Jones, Harriet Walter, Paul Rhys and Simon McBurney with an ensemble cast and 13-year old, Noah Alexander as Will. 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 (The Encounter).  

The Dark Is Rising tells the story of Will Stanton, 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. 

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

The Dark Is Rising  will be released as a podcast and linear-broadcast on BBC World Service in twelve daily episodes, beginning on 20th December 2022, with each episode corresponding to the ‘real time’ of the novel’s unfolding. 

With thanks to Ephemeral Rift use of sound effects.

Photograph by Camilla Adams