BBC documentary on Discworld author Terry Pratchett gets a startling trailer

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Feb 9, 2017

The BBC makes some of the best documentaries in the world. Currently, they're documenting the lives of cultural icons like David Bowie and Maya Angelou, and up next is a look at the life and death of Sir Terry Pratchett, Terry Pratchett: Back in Black.

Pratchett, author of the beloved Discworld series of novels, died in 2015 after suffering from Alzheimer's. According to The Sun, Pratchett was writing his own autobiography, "but sadly his words were lost … The BBC took on the task of finishing his memoirs."

Neil Gaiman, Pratchett's friend and co-author of the 1990 novel Good Omens, is appearing in the documentary, and we'll get a look at the fandom he created at a Discworld convention. But this 50-minute show is more than a documentary: Back in Black has aspects of docu-drama as actor Paul Kaye has been cast as Sir Terry and re-creates moments in Pratchett's life.

The BBC promises this documentary will be "poignant and humorous." As for the poignant, that writes itself -- The Guardian relates a tale told by Pratchett's assistant and collaborator:

In the program, Wilkins recalls the day in autumn 2007 when he and Pratchett realized something strange had happened. He says Pratchett came into his office saying: "The 'S' on my keyboard has gone … Come on, what have you done with it?"

A humorous documentary about a writer who dies of Alzheimer's? If anyone can pull this off, the BBC can.

That said, I find the trailer a bit eerie. It starts off with Gaiman’s narration, then segues to Kaye playing Pratchett. To anyone who has heard Pratchett speak, the similarity is startling.

Terry Pratchett: Back in Black will air on the BBC on Saturday, February 11, though there's no word on whether the doc will be airing in the United States. But I'd like to give a shout-out to BBC America ... hopefully, the channel will listen.

A mini-series based on Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens will be released on Amazon Prime and the BBC sometime in 2018.

(via RadioTimes)