The cast of the upcoming television adaptation of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has recently been announced. Co-developed by BBC America and Narrativia, the eight-part series The Watch will follow the exploits of Ankh-Morpork’s infamous night watchmen from Sir Terry Pratchett’s best-selling series.
The biggest name amongst the cast is that of Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones) who seems perfectly suited to play Sam Vimes, the world-weary captain of the watch.
Joining him are Sam Adweunmi as Carcer Dun, Marama Corlett as were-wolf Corporal Angua, Jo Eaton-Kent as Constable Cheery, Adam Hugill as Constable Carrot, and Lara Rossi as Lady Sybil Ramkin.
Production for The Watch began in 2011, although Pratchett’s death in 2015 unsurprisingly slowed the project. It is unclear how closely the current version of The Watch will follow the novels, with Sir Terry himself describing the original proposed version as a “Pratchett-style CSI” in an episodic format.
The Watch will not be the first small-screen adaptation of Pratchett’s Discworld series. Sky produced several two-part TV films, beginning with 2006’s Hogfather. Far superior was 2008’s The Colour of Magic, featuring David Jason as Rincewind and Sean Austin as Twoflower, and better still was 2010’s Going Postal, which featured a pitch-perfect portrayal of Moist Von Lipwig by Richard Coyle.
The fact that The Watch is being developed in part by BBC America could be a possible cause for concern, as Pratchett had trouble with some US producers over previous adaptations. Disputes arose over a proposed film of Mort when after reading the proffered script the American producers (in Pratchett’s words) replied “the Death/skeleton bit doesn’t work for us, it’s a bit of a downer […] so lose the skeleton.” For those readers unfamiliar with the series, Mort was the first Discworld novel to focus on the recurring character DEATH, the plot of which revolved around DEATH hiring a new apprentice. Death’s a pretty big deal on the Discworld.
“Hopefully the same care will be given to The Watch as was given by Neil Gaiman over this year’s truly excellent adaptation of Good Omens.”
However, with the involvement of Narrativia, the independent production company set up by Pratchett in 2012, fans can only hope that The Watch will truly honour Pratchett’s legacy. Rob Wilkins, Pratchett’s close friend and assistant through his years fighting a rare form of Alzheimer’s, is also on board as an executive producer, so hopefully the same care will be given to The Watch as was given by Neil Gaiman over this year’s truly excellent adaptation of Good Omens.
The Watch is not the only Discworld adaptation in the works. Fans can also look forward to a feature film of The Wee Free Men, co-developed by Narrativia and the Jim Henson Company – and written by none other than Rhianna Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett’s daughter. Ulysses FilmProduktion have also recently announced a feature-length animated version of The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.
While these latter projects are still early in development, filming for The Watch supposedly began at the end of the last month and viewers can expect the show to reach their screens before the end of 2020.
Last modified: 28th October 2019