The Watch: BBC America orders new Discworld TV series
Staff Reporter | On 31, Oct 2018Reading time: 2 mins
Sam Vimes is finally getting his own TV series, with a new show based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld ordered by BBC America.
The Watch, based on the fantasy books that have sold more than 90 million books worldwide, has been in various stages of development for several years. Now, several years after the sad passing of the beloved author, the show is officially going on, with BBC America picking up the eight-part programme. Described as a “punk rock thriller”, the show is inspired by the legendary ‘City Watch’ subset of Discworld novels. The disruptive, character-driven thriller centres on 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.
Modern and inclusive, The Watch features many famous Discworld creations, including City Watch Captain Sam Vimes, the last scion of nobility Lady Sybil Ramkin, the naïve but heroic Carrot, the mysterious Angua and the ingenious non-binary forensics expert Cheery together with Terry Pratchett’s iconic characterization of Death.
The Watch was commissioned for BBC America by President and GM Sarah Barnett, and Nena Rodrigue, EVP of Original Programming, Acquisitions and Production. Co-produced with Narrativia and written by Simon Allen (The Musketeers, Das Boot and New Tricks), The Watch is executive produced by Hilary Salmon (Luther, Silent Witness and Three Girls), Ben Donald for BBC Studios and Rob Wilkins for Narrativia. Phil Collinson (Doctor Who) also joins the team as executive producer.
Wilkins says: “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.”
Allen adds: “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. I’m grateful to them, BBC Studios and especially Rob Wilkins at Narrativia who has been a constant source of inspiration on this epic and emotional journey.”
Salmon comments: “The Watch is a distinctly British but defiantly global exhilarating, thriller that is disruptive in its approach to the fantasy genre and also big on the themes of mortality, inclusion, alternative facts and justice. It’s a dizzying riot of hope, joy, suspense and audaciously dark humour.”
The new series joins a run of hit scripted series at BBC America, from Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, to the all-new Doctor Who, starring Jodie Whittaker, and Luther, starring Idris Elba.