BBC Studios is developing a six-episode TV series inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.
In 1983, the late Terry Pratchett launched what would become one of the most popular British fantasy series of all time. He introduced readers to the Discworld, a flat world carried on the back of four elephants, each of whom stand on the shell of the Great Turtle A’Tuin. The franchise continued until 2015, when Pratchett sadly passed away; his daughter has brought an end to the Discworld saga, much to the heartbreak of fans.
Given the sheer diversity of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, it’s hardly a surprise to hear that BBC Studios has signed up to produce another adaptation. According to Deadline, the BBC is working on a six-episode series with a working title of The Watch. Simon Allen (Strike Back, The Musketeers, Das Boot) has signed up to write the series, which is intended to be a major international co-production.
Although Discworld stories stand independently of one another, there are recurring plot threads and characters. The series’ working title is clearly an allusion to Pratchett’s City Watch, one of his most popular ranges. The City Watch were introduced as a relatively inept group who were responsible for guarding the city of Ankh-Morpork. They were led by Sam Vimes, who watched in horror and fury as his city became increasingly focused on the idea of a king. All it took was the addition of a dragon to make Vimes step up; soon the Watch had become one of the most powerful forces in Ankh-Morpork, essentially an independent police force.
In typical Pratchett format, the Watch’s members included everything from zombies to werewolves. One werewolf in particular, Angua, became a firm fan-favorite. Meanwhile, in an amusing twist, the Watch’s number also included the rightful King of Ankh-Morpork, Carrot. Raised by the dwarves, Carrot ultimately began to realize who he was, but didn’t particularly want to disturb the status quo. It led to an entertaining amount of tension in the City Watch.
Meanwhile, regular secondary characters included the tyrannical Lord Vetinari. A genius manipulator, Vetinari had realized that the most successful tyrant is the one who creates a smoothly running system. As one novel noted, “He didn’t administer a reign of terror, just the occasional light shower.” Vetinari gradually refashioned Ankh-Morporkian society into a shape where everything would collapse if he was taken out of the picture; some fans actually believed he was grooming Vimes as a successor. Sadly, fans will never know if that was Pratchett’s intention. His notes were destroyed after his death.
This is only the latest Pratchett series to be in the works. Amazon is currently adapting Good Omens, inspired by the novel co-written by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Still, this is far more exciting; according to Deadline, BBC Studios hopes this will be the beginning of a recurring series. The prospect of heading to Ankh-Morpork itself will leave fans delighted.
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