Last night, after 25 years and various attempts by TV and film, Good Omens had its first adaptation aired as a star-studded audio play on Radio 4. But is there still hope that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s apocalyptic comedy will make it to screen? It seems so.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com for our Good Omens preview, Gaiman teased that the BBC could be thinking of adapting the novel into a TV series – although, of course, was quite vague about any firm plans.
“There are definitely rumours,” he told us. “It would be fair to say that somebody from BBC TV did sneak down during a little of the recording of the radio show, with a proprietorial interest… I’m not telling you anymore, [but] I’m happy to give you a mysterious hint.”
Mysterious, indeed. But is he at least optimistic it will actually happen?
“After 25 years, all I am is thrilled that the radio thing is happening.”
You can’t really blame him for feeling a tad disillusioned. Ever since 1990, when he and Pratchett wrote the story of angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley trying to stop the apocalypse, it has been a long, arduous slog trying to get the novel on screen. In fact, the most notable attempt dates back to before the book was even published, with Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam, fresh from making dystopian satire Brazil, setting out to kickstart a film after falling in love with a preview. Over ten years later, he would still be trying.
“I think he tried to make it into a film about five times,” explains Gaiman.“The saddest time was seeing him in January 2002 when he had Robin Williams on board to play Aziraphale and Johnny Depp was signed up for Crowley. He had about $50 million committed from around the world, and he needed a Hollywood studio and a bit more money to go into production, and he was completely certain it would be easy.
“But he went off to America, post 9/11, and watched people telling him, because this was before Pirates of the Caribbean, ‘nobody wants to see movies with Johnny Depp.’ It all came crashing down around him and it was all very tragic. It’s not that people hadn’t tried, but the stars just never aligned.”
Here’s to hoping that they finally do.
Good Omens continues on BBC Radio 4 tonight (Tuesday 23rd December) at 11:00pm