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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 Simon 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  is a podcast available on Apple Podcasts and BBC Sounds. It was originally 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.

Create Your Own Radio Play

Create your own audio drama with our downloadable guide below for children and families; a fun, creative activity to do at home, or in the classroom.

Write Your Own Radio Play Guide & Information Pack

© Camilla Adams and Eleni Debo


Creative Team


2024 BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Adaptation and Best Use of Sound [nominated]

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