Dormer stars as Sam Vimes, Captain of The Watch, disempowered by a broken society that’s reduced his department’s jurisdiction to almost nothing, in the eight-part series, which is co-produced by BBC Studios and Narrativia, the production company founded by Pratchett in 2012 and now run with Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna and his former business manager Rob Wilkins.
Also joining the cast are Adam Hugill (1917), Jo Eaton-Kent (Don’t Forget The Driver), Marama Corlett (Blood Drive), Lara Rossi (Crossing Lines) and Sam Adewunmi (The Last Tree).
Set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, where crime has been legalized, The Watch is a “punk rock” drama. The series centers on a group of misfit cops as they rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe.
Eaton-Kent plays Constable Cheery, the ingenious non-binary forensics expert, ostracized by their kin and finding a new home and identity. Hugill plays Constable Carrot, the idealistic new recruit, raised by dwarfs, but really a human abandoned at birth. Corlette is the mysterious Corporal Angua who is tasked with Carrot’s training and keeping the rookie alive. Rossi plays Lady Sybil Ramkin, last scion of Ankh-Morpork’s nobility, who’s trying to fix the city’s wrongs with her chaotic vigilantism. Adewunmi is the wounded and wronged Carcer Dun, out to hijack destiny itself, take control of the city and exact a terrible revenge on an unjust reality.
It is written by The Musketeers and Das Boot writer Simon Allen, along with Joy Wilkinson (Doctor Who), Catherine Tregenna (Torchwood), Amrou Al-Kadhi (Little America) and Ed Hime (Skins). The series is 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 Richard Stokes (Torchwood), Rob Wilkins (Good Omens), Craig Viveiros and Allen. Johann Knobel (Shameless) is series producer of The Watch, and Simon Rogers (Doctor Foster) is production designer. BBC Studios is handling distribution internationally.
It was commissioned by Sarah Barnett, President, AMC Network’s Entertainment Group & AMC Studios when she served as President and GM of the network.
Craig Viveiros (Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None) is set to direct and filming kicks off in Cape Town, South Africa at the end of this month. It will air in 2020
Dormer said, “I’m so thrilled to be part of this brilliant madness and mayhem. I was immediately drawn to the multitude of layers to Sam Vimes, and I find the dynamic between him and his band of disenfranchised comrades very compelling.”
Barnett said, “The Watch will be a very BBC America show. As with Killing Eve, we don’t go straight at an adaptation – we blur genres, undercut with humor, and hire the most genius writers and actors to create stories and characters that are both entertaining and very contemporary, that say something new. Richard Dormer will kill it as Sam Vines, not your everyday male anti-hero. Simon Allen and Rob Wilkins approach this adaptation with the kind of iconoclastic energy and open-hearted love that will truly honor the indelible legacy of Sir Terry.”
Allen added, “Sir Terry Pratchett is in the bloodstream of popular culture. He has a distinctly British kind of literary heart and humor, but his ideas are defiantly human and universal. It’s been such a privilege to work with our world-class director, producers and writers on building a television show that honors his legacy while striking out on its own in his name and spirit. Like the man whose genius inspired it, The Watch is a hopeful show that believes it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. I can’t wait for everybody to see our joyously brilliant cast light candles and, of course, flamethrowers.”