The first novel in the trilogy, Northern Lights, was adapted into a 2007 film called the Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, but planned sequels were reportedly shelved after the movie's lacklustre box office performance.

However, fans of the books will now be able to see the story come to life on the small screen in a new BBC TV series, and Pullman admits he is thrilled with the new project.

"It's been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media," he says.

"In recent years we've seen the way that long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game Of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.

"For all those reasons I'm delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials... As for the BBC, it has no stronger supporter than me. I couldn't be more pleased with this news."

Filming is due to take place in Wales, but the cast has yet to be announced.