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Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

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Saturday 12:05am - 12:55am BBC Two (only England, Northern Ireland)
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Review

When he was alive, Terry Pratchett appeared in several sparky documentaries and he’s still doing so now he’s dead. This one is hard to categorise: a kind of tribute-cum-biography, but much of it told in Pratchett’s words and via a wonderful performance/impression from Paul Kaye, complete with white beard, black hat, and speech patterns that sound spookily right.

Pratchett died in 2015 but, as he says here, “Nobody’s really dead until the ripples they’ve created on Earth have died away.” Since he wrote 70 novels and sold 75 million books, his ripples have a way to go. We learn what drove that incredible productivity – a sense of injustice and resentment at being written off by his headmaster, and later by the snobbery of literary critics.

We also learn lovely details, like the fact that, as a young librarian, Pratchett read every copy of Punch from the 1840s to the 1960s – not the inspiration you’d expect.

Summary

A dramatised documentary telling the story of the life of Terry Pratchett, the fantasy author whose popular Discworld series made him a household name, selling more then 85 million copies worldwide. In 2015, following a prolonged and very public battle with Alzheimers, Terry died, leaving behind one last unfinished story - his own. Here, actor Paul Kaye steps into the celebrated writer's shoes, charting Terry's life from his troubled schooldays and his difficulties securing the respect of literary critics, through to his eventual success, and his gradual decline into ill health. The film makes use of Terry's own words, along with those of his friend and collaborator Neil Gaiman, contemporary Val McDermid, and long-serving assistant Rob Wilkins.

Cast & Crew

Terry Pratchett Paul Kaye
Director Charlie Russell
Executive Producer Pauline Law

Drama Documentary

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