"Books bend space and time."
March 2, 2018 8:22 AM   Subscribe

BBC Studios is working on a six-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's beloved Discworld. Tentatively titled The Watch, it should follow the coming Good Omens adaptation coming in 2019.
posted by hanov3r (60 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
...please be better than previous Discworld attempts. Their heart was in the right place; they just weren't very good.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you're craving a Good Omens adaptation, BBC Radio 4 made it into a good dramatization, which you can stream online or buy on CD.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I liked the _Hogfather_ adaptation quite a bit, I wouldn't say they are all bad.
posted by tavella at 8:39 AM on March 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

There are criticisms to be made of it certainly, but I would be content if the new lot hit that level. Generally speaking it's probably safest just to have no expectations other than the spectacle of seeing words made into moving pi...ctures.... hm.
posted by inconstant at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2018

Yeah I thought Hogfather was pretty good.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:11 AM on March 2, 2018

The theoretical casting of Samuel Vines is possibly one of the most hotly contested debates in my marriage. I have concerns. (Especially since, god bless David Tennant who I love with my whole heart, but no. Sorry, no.)
posted by librarianamy at 9:17 AM on March 2, 2018 [12 favorites]

Hogsfather was pretty great, mostly cause of a pitch perfect Susan.

The other ones ....ehhh

Vines needs to be rough to look at. That’s my whole opinion on the matter.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 AM on March 2, 2018

The problem with an adaptation of any of the later Pratchett works is that while each book works on its own it really rewards the reader who is familiar with the world and the already existing cast of characters. So, unless The Watch starts with an adaptation of Guards! Guards! I'm not sure it will work as a series.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:22 AM on March 2, 2018

It's Samuel Vimes. With an M. (Yes, I do care. Very much.)
posted by which_chick at 9:25 AM on March 2, 2018 [16 favorites]

I think somebody like Charles Dance could do a good Vimes.
posted by Pendragon at 9:29 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Dance seems way too high class to play cigar chomping street level brawler Vimes. He already played Vetinari in Going Postal.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:32 AM on March 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

If only Alan Rickman was still available to play Lord Vetinari. ("In Anhk-Morpork, the governing philosophy is 'One Man, One Vote.' Lord Vetinari is the Man. He has the Vote.")
posted by SPrintF at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

Alexander Siddig?
posted by Leon at 9:39 AM on March 2, 2018 [7 favorites]

Huh.... I wouldn't have thought that would work, but he really looks the part there.

Chris Hemsworth as Carrot?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:44 AM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

As Vimes? Can't see it, myself. Possibly I'm poisoned by DS9, but I always think of him as a rapier-thin, elegant sort of chap. Pratchett said he always pictured Pete Posthlewait. Maybe Ciaran Hinds?
posted by Diablevert at 9:49 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

Vetinari has always struck me as looking like the guy who does Death for Supernatural. The internets tell me this is Julian Richings.
posted by which_chick at 9:57 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I pity whoever has to step into the impossible naivete, equally impossible heroism, and thoroughly impossible shoulders of Corporal Carrot Ironfoundersson, too.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2018

Tennant isn't... craggy enough. If we *haaaave* to cast a former Doctor as Vimes, I'd look at Christopher Eccleston, who I also think would bring just the right amount of... quiet, dignified self-loathing that Vimes at least starts off with.

Chris Hemsworth is kind of the canonical Carrot, true.

Who needs more mo-cap - Detritus or Nobby Nobbs?
posted by hanov3r at 10:07 AM on March 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

I second Chris Hemsworth as Carrot.
posted by HypotheticalWoman at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2018

Carrot is a no brainer, Russell Tovey with his wholesome face, aw shucks manner, and brand new massive shoulders.
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Pratchett said he always pictured Pete Posthlewait.

posted by BlueHorse at 10:15 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

Wasn't this announced like five years ago, only to vanish into the ether? I thought this project had quietly died. Glad to see it up and about again.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2018

I actually think Carrot should be played by my friend Greg L. from high school who was a very nice and pleasant person who was also several inches over six feet, had EXTREMELY vivid red hair, and spent summers working on a farm so he was extremely strong and muscular but not in a working out way, in a natural farm way. Whenever I think of how Carrot would look I think of that particular Greg.

Of course I think my husband David Tennant is a wonderful actor but I do not believe he is the right casting choice for Commander Vimes, although I think I could possibly play Lady Sibyl in that I am large and kind and from a well-off background but also I have a good sense of humor and very nice hair.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2018 [9 favorites]

This has been in development for a while, and I'm going to guess that they're still running with the original conceit (Terry Jones was once attached as a writer and, sadly his involvement won't be a factor anymore.):
Run by Pratchett's new production company, Narrativia, The Watch will continue the well-loved City Watch saga where the books left off, and Rhianna will be an important member of the writing team. The author tells me that he will be happy for her to continue writing the Discworld books when he is no longer able to do so. "The Discworld is safe in my daughter's hands," Pratchett assures me.
Some links from 2011/12:


I will be curious where the series will fit in the overall timeline. To me, it makes more sense to place it in between earlier books while the Watch is still kinda scrappy. But a part of me also wants to see it set after Snuff, and introduce some new blood.
posted by Wossname at 10:20 AM on March 2, 2018

(Also, I am still aging into my Vimes cosplay - give me about 10 more years to nail down the look - but if this production needs a background Watchman, I can supply my own costume, ha ha.)
posted by Wossname at 10:27 AM on March 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

The real question is who will play Nobby?
posted by dazed_one at 10:31 AM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

There's nothing about Russell Tovey that makes me think Carrot, he's a fine actor but what?
posted by tavella at 10:36 AM on March 2, 2018

CTRL-F Sean Bean

0 results

MetaFilter, I am disappoint.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:12 AM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Also, regarding Nobby: he's a little tall and he'd need uglying-up some, but Mackenzie Crook might do.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Carrot is handsome. Russell Tovey has a noggin like a sugar bowl. He's got charisma, but entirely the wrong kind.
posted by Diablevert at 11:28 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hugh Laurie would make a good Vimes, I think.

As for Nobby Nobbs, may I present to you Andy Hamilton.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:34 AM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Vimes doesn't die senselessly early in the story so I don't see anything for Sean Bean to work with.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:49 AM on March 2, 2018 [15 favorites]

Peter Capaldi might make a good Vetinari.

Nobby is a problem. I think it's very hard to translate his depiction into an actual person.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:06 PM on March 2, 2018

Chris Evans as Carrot?
posted by idb at 12:20 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think Andy Hamilton would make a better Nobby Nobs. Just put some fake spots on him and you're golden.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:32 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I actually think Charles Dance would do well as Vetinari - Tywin-with-a-slight-sense-of-humor. Carrot does need to be improbably-farm-boy strong, rather than jacked-superhero strong, so I'm not sure I love the Hemsworth/Evans ideas. There's a Reddit thread about this with a bunch of ideas. I have no idea how Tom Hopper is as an actor, but he's definitely similar in the face to how I see Carrot in my head. I think a lot of middle-aged British guys could do a good job with Vimes, including Eccleston and Laurie (Iain Glen, Jorah from GoT, was also suggested, and he could be great; definitely craggy enough). Someone on the Reddit thread suggested Toby Jones for Nobby, and I think that's pretty much perfect, so we can call that sewn up. It could also be cool to see them play around with the racial makeup of the cast, because if they don't this is going to be an incredibly white show - I think Candace Patton could work with regal-but-slumming-it as Angua, and Winston Duke has the acting chops and the built-but-not-ripped looks and size to pull off Carrot.

I dunno, I'm skeptical of the whole idea, but if they're really going for it, I'll be excited to see how it turns out.
posted by protocoach at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ankh-Morpork is supposed to be a lumpy stew and the Watch are aggressively diverse even for Ankh-Morpork, so honestly they've messed up the casting if it's mostly white.

Admittedly I do not expect this series to happen because they've been talking about it for decades at this point.
posted by Merus at 12:54 PM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Iain Glen, Jorah from GoT

I retract my previous Sean Bean nomination.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:09 PM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think Prime Universe Lorca would make an excellent Vimes. Mind you Jason Isaacs would be playing against type there.

It could work. I was thinking about Buffy the other day and realised ALL the actors were cast against type and that might be what gave it that edge.
posted by glasseyes at 1:20 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hope they do a better job of casting than Sean Astin as Twoflower in "The Color Of Magic." I understand why the producers went with an actor with Astin's star power. But I was really disappointed that one of the few Discworld characters that was strongly hinted as being asian was whitewashed.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 1:33 PM on March 2, 2018 [7 favorites]


posted by Faint of Butt at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

I just can’t get excited about any Pratchett adaptations. There are so many great puns and silly asides on every page of his books TV versions are always a poor cousin. It’s not quite the same without footnotes.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 2:17 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

People have been casting Pratchett's work as a hobby for so long that he used to make fun of them ("DON'T YOU THINK I WOULD SOUND LIKE JAMES EARL JONES?") For myself, I think that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would make a great Vimes and Colon, because they already have, but I'm sure they're not in the market for series anymore. I always used to think that Dawn French would make a wonderful Lady Sybil, but it's been twenty years since that occurred to me.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:29 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Philip Glenister might make a good Vimes; he could do it in his proper accent, not the Life on Mars manc. I would love to see Don Warrington as Vetinari - his voice gives me the shivers (good ones). Jason Isaacs could do a great Vimes, though I may be biased by my wish to see Jason Isaacs in ALL the things.

Katy Brand would be a fabulous lady Sybil. Or Miranda Hart if you could get her to play it straight as possible (she’d be funny anyway without mugging or Comedy Ackting).
posted by finisterre at 3:00 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Postlethwaite would've been soo perfect for Vimes, so craggy yet sharp. Regret that his career ended too soon, he was a fascinating actor who really deserved more leading roles.
posted by ovvl at 4:57 PM on March 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Or Miranda Hart if you could get her to play it straight as possible

She’s got that perfect firmly posh but sensible horse woman vibe that maps perfectly to Sybil and her dragons.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:37 PM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think Andy Serkis makes the most sense for Nobby Nobs.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:11 PM on March 2, 2018


No, because you sounded like Christopher Lee, and Dungeon Dimensions if I know who could follow that act.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:11 PM on March 2, 2018

Idris Elba for Vimes, perhaps?
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:13 PM on March 2, 2018

I think that Iain Glen as Vimes would be great. I've got a somewhat different idea for Carrot, though. Natural ginger, military background, seems to have grown into the right sort of character, and a, shall we say, uniquely apropos background corresponding to Carrot's own. Whaddaya think?
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:26 PM on March 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

Hemsworth as Carrot is a nobrainer... but is it too much of a no-brainer? Could he do not-Kevin Kevin from Ghostbusters? Could he even, practically/contractually/financially speaking, do a TV thing? But yeah, Hemsworth's ability to do straight forward good naturedness is perfect.

"People think of Carrot as being simple, which he is, however, their mistake is in confusing "simple" with "stupid". "

I'm a huge fan of both Jeremy Irons and Charles Dance but both of their Vetinaris didn't really live up to (my) expectation.

Michelle Dockery as Susan has been a standout casting for the live animation adaptations. Claire Foy and Richard Coyle too.

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal has (had?) the perfect look for Angua (Going Postal), but having not seen Westworld, don't know if she has the chops.

It's a shame that this one won't have a Pterry cameo.
posted by porpoise at 8:50 PM on March 2, 2018

He might be getting a little old in the tooth for it now (as well as being American) but I've always pictured Fred Ward as Vimes.
posted by h00py at 9:07 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Slightly tongue-in-cheek casting (only slightly, mind) -
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Vimes
Kristen Schaal - Lady Sybil (alternative might be Tamsin Greig)
John Cleese or Rowan Atkinson - Vetenari
Bill Bailey - Nobby (or the Troll Detritous)
Brian Blessed - Detritous (or maybe the Librarian? could do a mean 'Ooook'?)
Dominique Tipper - Angua
Taika Waititi - any other Troll as required (they'll all be CGI anyway)
posted by phigmov at 10:01 PM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

David Warner as Vetinari?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 PM on March 2, 2018

Clive Owen as Vimes.

He's got just the right level of 'charismatic, street bruiser look with a strong personal code, and also a streak of dissipation'. And you equally easily see him standing up straight in front of Vetinari and giving flatly specific correct answers, and tiredly dealing with Fred and Nobby. Likewise can see him barely veiling
hostility at the nobs at one of Vetinari's events he's forced to go to.

Clive Owen: Your Vimes and Mine 2018
posted by pseudonymph at 4:21 AM on March 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

Kristen Schaal - Lady Sybil

I love Schaal, but no. Lady Sybil needs to be a woman of substance, by which I mean big.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:26 AM on March 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

While we're at it...Mark Addy as Fred Colon.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:33 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think Chiwetel Ejiofor could work well - he needs to look kinda beaten down by life. Maybe Michael K. Williams? That scar would work for Vimes.
posted by protocoach at 7:58 AM on March 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oooh, good one pseudonymph!

Younger Clive Owen - no. Clive Owen now - hell yes.

He's got the craggy physical look and he's reasonably lean - he never super bulked up - and he's done enough world-weary roles convincingly with a healthy side of "wry." Shoot 'Em Up anyone? He's aging well, but, well, still aging - just live Vimes.

That's the scruffy lower class beat down descendant of Ol' Stoneface, but Owens knows how to look presentable dressed up too; which Vimes finally accedes to from his love for Lady Sybil.

Also, I can see Owen doing "Where. is.. My... COW?!!!"

I love Kristen Schaal too, but I agree against her.

It's a cliche to cast Gwendoline Christie in such parts but... (she only has 2cm on Owen, height-wise). The problem with Christie is that she's too lean, and not outwardly-pretend-jolly enough. Not her wheelhouse.

Left field might be Geena Davis these days. If Davis was (or, could influenced to be) a fan of Discworld, I'd lurrrrv her doing - and expecting an incredible job of - Lady Sybil.

She's got the range and she's shown she can act Tempered Steel Core characters, and her genetics really kinda echos what I think Pratchett was pointing out to. Thin waify sorts are added to "noble lineages, " and almost never an issue of successful "noble lineages" - where "noble lineage" means melee fighting.

Once physical fighting is over, then you get this weird thing with skinny short princesses.
posted by porpoise at 9:35 PM on March 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another Vimes nominee: Ciarán Hinds. Give him something of substance to do rather than a CGIed Steppenwolf in the Justice League franchise.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:31 AM on March 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

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