The Discworld adaptation The Watch is coming soon from the BBC. The show is based on the beloved novels by Terry Pratchett. The cast will be led by Richard Dormer fresh off his stint on Game of Thrones. Dormer will go from playing the warrior Beric Dondarrion in GOT, to embodying Sam Vimes, commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.
Richard Dormer | Photo by Nico Fell Photography via WikiMedia Commons
The Ankh-Morkpork City Watch Ensemble
There have been many attempts to adapt the Pratchett’s bestselling Discworld novels over the years, most of them animated or live action TV movies. Fresh off the success of the most recent Pratchett adapation – Good Omens on Amazon – the BBC will take a crack at adapting Terry Pratchett’s Discworld with The Watch.
The Watch is not based on any one novel from the Discworld universe. It will instead follow some of the popular characters from various books, those from the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Jo Eaton-Kent has been cast as Constable Cheery, a former alchemist turned forensics expert. Cheery is a non-traditional dwarf. Uninterested in wielding an axe or counting gold, Cheery turns the dwarven gender politics on its head. Kent is well cast in the role, as a gender-fluid actor who is likely to rock both a beard and high heels on-screen at some point during the show.
I can't wait to bring Cheery to life! Being a gender fluid person myself, I see we both have a lot in common, and it's a privilege to be able to tell our story in the stunning world that is Pratchett's Discworld. @BBCAMERICA https://t.co/Am5v8ubwZR
— Jo Eaton-Kent (@EatonKentJo) September 11, 2019
Alongside Dormer and Eaton-Kent will be Adam Hugill in the role of Constable Carrot. The constable is a newcomer to the Watch with his own identity issues to sort out. Marama Corlett will play Corporal Angua – whose beautiful face belies her strength and tough attitude. Lara Rossi plays Lady Sybil Ramkin, a noblewoman of Ankh-Morpork with her own concept of justice. Sam Adewunmi will play the criminal Carcer Dun who runs afoul of Commander Vimes on more than one occasion. Of course, one of Pratchett’s most beloved characters will certainly make an appearance in The Watch – but as of now no one has been cast in the role of Death.
Cover of Men At Arms | Art by Lissanne Lake
What Discworld Novels Will The Watch Draw From?
BBC America announced the series last year, with an order of eight, hour-long episodes. They describe The Watch as a “disruptive, character-driven thriller centers on Terry Pratchett’s misfit cops as they fight to save a ramshackle city of normalized wrongness, from both the past and future in a perilous quest.” Discworld is not a traditional fantasy series. Each Discworld novel is a standalone, with a few trilogies built in. The world has recurring characters and extended story arcs spread out over a span of disparate novels. The Watch will likely be comprised of storylines from several books starring Vimes and the rest of the gang. Predominant among these titles are Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, The Fifth Elephant, Night Watch, Thud!, and Snuff. It is likely that this initial series will follow the plotlines from the first two or three novels. However with so much material to work with, along with City Watch appearances in other Discworld novels it seems likely that the BBC could keep fans watching The Watch for years to come.
I imagine this Discworld adaptation of The Watch will be part buddy-cop comedy, part high fantasy satire, and part procedural crime drama. Put all of those pieces together, plop them down on a world shaped like a disc, balanced by four elephants on the back of a giant space turtle and you might have something close to Pratchett’s vision of Discworld finally come to life onscreen.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.