The Watch, based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, has landed a series order at BBC America. The Killing Eve broadcaster has greenlit an eight-part series from BBC Studios, after Deadline revealed the project was in development in March.
The U.S. cable network describes the show as a “punk rock thriller” inspired by the City Watch subset of Discworld novels. The character-driven series 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.
The Watch features many Discworld creations including City Watch Captain Sam Vimes, the last scion of nobility Lady Sybil Ramkin, the naïve but heroic Carrot Ironfoundersson, the mysterious Angua and the ingenious forensics expert Cheri together with Terry Pratchett’s iconic characterization of Death.
Written by The Musketeers and Das Boot writer Simon Allen, BBC Studios is co-producing the series with Narrativia, the production company founded by Pratchett in 2012 and now run with Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna and his former business manager Rob Wilkins.
The series is being exec produced by BBC Studios’ Head of Drama London Hilary Salmon, who has worked on series such as Luther and Silent Witness, Ben Donald and Wilkins as well as Doctor Who’s Phil Collinson. It was commissioned by BBC America’s President and GM Sarah Barnett and Nena Rodrigue, EVP of Original Programming, Acquisitions and Production.
“The Watch has been startlingly reimagined for television by writer Simon Allen, while still cleaving to the humor, heart and ingenuity of Terry Pratchett’s incomparably original work,” said Barnett. “BBC America embraces what’s fresh and exhilarating in TV; we believe The Watch will astonish audiences.”
Allen said, “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.”
Hilary Salmon said, “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 humor. We can’t wait to work with BBC America to bring it all to life for existing fans and brand new audiences.”
Rob Wilkins added, “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. They have really keyed into the subversive qualities of Terry’s voice and they clearly adore Discworld as much as I and millions of fans around the world do.”
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