Terry Pratchett’s Discworld will be “startlingly reimagined for TV” in new BBC series The Watch

City Watch Captain Sam Vimes is making an appearance as writer Simon Allen promises "fun, fire and fury"

Terry Pratchett

The long-rumoured adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld has finally been confirmed – and it’s going to be a “punk rock thriller” about the City Watch and a team of misfit cops.

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BBC America has greenlit an eight-part original scripted series named The Watch, based on the beloved Discworld novels which have sold more than 90 million books worldwide.

It’s being made by BBC Studios, but no word yet on whether the show will be made available in the UK.

As the BBC describes it, The Watch will be a “disruptive, character-driven thriller [that] centres on Terry Pratchett’s misfit cops as they fight to save a ramshackle city of normalised wrongness, from both the past and future in a perilous quest.”

Fans of the books will be delighted to hear that we’ll meet favourite characters including City Watch Captain Sam Vimes, Lady Sybil Ramkin (“the last scion of nobility”), the naïve but heroic Carrot, the “mysterious” Angua and Cheery, “the ingenious non-binary forensics expert”.

Of course, Death will also be paying a visit.

New Tricks and Das Boot screenwriter Simon Allen is the writer behind the project, while Doctor Who’s Phil Collinson will serve as an executive producer.

Allen said, “With events in our own world making the insanity of Discworld seem outrageously familiar, there couldn’t be a better time to bring Terry’s fun, fire and fury back to the small screen or a better place than BBC America.”

Terry Pratchett: Back in Black

BBC America President Sarah Barnett said the show had been “startlingly reimagined for television” but would retain the “humour, heart an ingenuity” of the original novels.

Discworld, for the uninitiated, is a fictional “flat disc” world balanced on the back of four elephants, which in turn stand upon the back of a giant turtle called Great A’Tuin.

The show has been developed in collaboration with Pratchett’s own production company, Narrativia. Following the author’s death from Alzheimer’s in 2014, the company is now run by Pratchett’s daughter Rihanna and his business manager Rob Wilkins.

Wilkins said, “Many years ago Terry made the brave decision to allow brand new Watch stories to be told with his existing characters. It’s taken a long time for anything to happen because we guard these characters with our very lives!

“So many of Terry’s biggest ideas seem more vital and urgent now than ever before and I am thrilled to be working with Simon and such a talented team, who understand the unique genius of their creator. They have really keyed into the subversive qualities of Terry’s voice and they clearly adore Discworld as much as I and millions of fans around the world do.”

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Also in the works at BBC Studios is Good Omens, the adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel, which is set for release in 2019.


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