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Terry Pratchett’s Discworld headed to the BBC as six-part TV series

Contributed by
Mar 1, 2018

It's Terry Pratchett’s world and we’re just living in it. Fans of the late British fantasy author (and perhaps members of the Flat Earth Society) will be pleased to learn his seminal series of satirical fantasy novels, Discworld, is headed to the small screen.

Per Deadline, BBC Studios has tapped television scribe Simon Allen to adapt the famed franchise into a six-part series that will be tentatively titled The Watch — not to be confused with the unfortunate Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn 2012 alien invasion vehicle that bombed at the box office. Word of a possible Discworld TV series has been floating around for a few years but the BBC's commitment means it's likely to actually happen this time.

Pratchett passed away in 2015 after writing 41 Discworld books, which kicked off in 1983 with The Colour of Magic. Collectively the tomes have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide and, as it’s title suggests, Discworld is set on a planet-sized flat disc with oceans, continents and civilizations — all of which is balanced on the backs of four massive elephants who themselves stand on the shell of a giant sea turtle named Greaet A’Tuin.

The thrust of the story focuses on the Discworld's largest city, Ankh-Morpork, and the clash between modernity and fantasy. A Philip Marlowe-like cynical policeman named Sam Vines rises through the ranks of what at first is a hapless police force to become Commander of the City Watch while battling all kinds of mythical baddies - from trolls, werewolves and zombies on up to dragons.

It’s not known which of the books the TV series will draw on, but the procedural nature of Pratchett’s plots should no doubt lend themselves perfectly to the format — think J.K. Rowling meets CSI with a heavy dose of humor as the show sends up all the fantasy cliches we've come to know and love from J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft to fairy tales and vampires.

For his part, Allen looks to be a good pick to shepherd the adaptaion, having served as a writer on the BBC's New Tricks and Sky 1’s Strike Back. He earned his producing stripes on the BBC’s The Musketeers and most recently wrote and produced a TV miniseries for German television based on the classic 1981 submarine epic Das Boot.

No word when The Watch will premiere, but it’s the not the first Pratchett work turned into a TV show. Good Omens, starring Michael Sheen and former Doctor Who star David Tennant, based on the book by Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, started filming in September and will air on BBC Two and Amazon sometime in 2019.

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