Neil Gaiman: Agnes Nutter was almost cut from Good Omens – but I couldn’t do that to Terry Pratchett’s creation

When it came to choosing what to cut from the Good Omens TV adaptation, Gaiman says he fought to protect co-author Pratchett's work "more passionately" than his own

Josie Lawrence as Agnes Nutter in Good Omens

Neil Gaiman has opened up about how the memory of his Good Omens co-author Terry Pratchett influenced his TV adaptation of the novel — and revealed how he had to fight to keep one of the Pratchett’s key creations.

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“Terry isn’t here, which leaves me as the guardian of the soul of the story,” Gaiman said in an interview for the show’s companion book, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion.

“It’s funny because sometimes I found myself defending Terry’s bits harder or more passionately than I would defend my own bits. Take Agnes Nutter…”

*Mild spoilers for Good Omens to follow*

Gaiman revealed that the character of Agnes Nutter, a 17th century witch whose eerily accurate prophecies are a key driving force of the plot of Good Omens, almost didn’t make the transition from page to screen.

The author explained that her appearance in the show was almost cut, as the scene where she’s burnt at the stake was initially deemed too expensive.

Michael Sheen and David Tennant star in the Amazon Prime Video adaptation of Good Omens (Amazon)
Michael Sheen and David Tennant star in the Amazon Prime Video adaptation of Good Omens (Amazon)

“It was a huge, complicated and incredibly expensive shoot, with bonfires built and primed to explode as well as huge crowds in costumes. It had to feel just like an English village in the 1640s, and of course everyone asked if there was a cheap way of doing it,” Gaiman said.

“One suggestion was that we could tell the story using old-fashioned woodcuts and have the narrator take us through what happened, but I just thought, ‘No’. Because I had brought aspects of the story like Crowley and the baby swap along to the mix, and Terry created Agnes Nutter.

“So, if I had cut out Agnes then I wouldn’t be doing right by the person who gave me this job. Terry would’ve rolled over in his grave. ”

Given the perfect casting of Josie Lawrence as Agnes (and the chance to see Jack Whitehall with a goatee), we’re pretty relieved the scene was kept.

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion is published on 21st May 2019. Pre-order here

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Good Omens is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 31st May 2019