Since 1983, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of novels have been enchanting science fantasy readers across the world. Now, the 41 novel series is coming to television as a new BBC 8-part series. Called The Watch, the series will be based on the “City Watch” subset of Pratchett’s bestselling comedy-fantasy novels. First announced in early 2018, the series is finally coming together as according to a report coming from Deadline, The Watch has has added six new actors to the cast.
These new additions will be joining Games of Thrones’ Richard Dormer, who portrayed Ser Beric Dondarrion on the HBO hit series for several seasons. Dormer was recently cast as the show’s lead Sam Vimes, captain of the Watch. The series will be set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, where crime has been legalized.
Anna Chancellor from Pennyworth is playing is playing the character of Lord Vetinari, The Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, and “architect of the city’s normalized wrongness and ramshackle system of governance.” The character in the books is a man, making this one of several gender-flipped roles.
James Fleet, known to fans for his role on Outlander, will play The Archchancellor. The character is described as “a wizard, magical advisor, and the Head of the Unseen University.”
Ingrid Oliver, of Doctor Who, stars as the Head of The Assassins’ Guild, Doctor Cruces.
Ruth Madeley, most recently seen in Years and Years,will portray the Throat. Described as “the city’s best snitch” in the novels, Throat has a gang of freelance henchmen to do her bidding.
Hakeem Kae-Kazim will play Captain John Keel, who was once the leader of The Watch. He was once a mentor to Sam Vimes, and he now finds himself determined to save the corrupt and chaotic city. Viewers might recognize Hakeem Kae-Kazim from the CW’s Dynasty reboot.
And finally, Homeland’s Bianca Simone Mannie stars as the cunning Wonse, a wizard hopeful in waiting who is frequently underestimated by others.
The Watch will focus on “a group of misfit cops as they rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe.” The BBC is describing the series as a comedy drama. Which is fitting, since the novel’s titular Discworld is actually a flat planet that is balanced on the backs of four giant elephants, who are all actually standing themselves on the back of a giant turtle.
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The Discworld novels often satirize beloved novels like The Lord of the Rings and the Conan the Barbarian novels of Robert E. Howard, so expect to see the same kind of irreverent tone for the television version. In fact, BBC describes the series as a a “punk rock” drama.”
The upcoming series which will be directed by Craig Viveiros (Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None), and in addition to the newly announced cast will also star Adam Hugill (1917, World on Fire); Jo Eaton-Kent (Don’t Forget The Driver); Marama Corlett (Blood Drive, Sick Note); Lara Rossi (Crossing Lines, Cheat); and Sam Adewunmi (The Last Tree, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man). Filming has already begun in South Africa, with the show set to premiere sometime in 2020.
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