The Watch: Terry Pratchett’s daughter says BBC show ‘shares no DNA with my father’s work’

Series trailer sparked controversy over weekend

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 13 October 2020 10:05
The Watch trailer

Terry Pratchett’s daughter has said that The Watch, a forthcoming BBC adaptation of her late father’s stories, “shares no DNA” with his work.

Rhianna Pratchett, who is also a writer, made the comments in response to criticism of the series, which is inspired by the author’s Discworld novels about police force Ankh-Morpork’s City Watch.

She wrote on Twitter: “Look, I think it’s fairly obvious that The Watch shares no DNA with my father’s Watch. This is neither criticism nor support. It is what it is.” Rhianna also shared a thread titled: “I'm still super upset at #TheWatch trailer.”

Many fans of Pratchett’s books had called out the series trailer – which came out at the weekend (10 October) – for portraying the character Sam Vimes (played by Richard Dormer) as a punky, hapless policeman. In the original novels he was depicted as being not only highly intelligent but also a reluctant member of nobility.

Sci-fi author Aliette de Bodard said she was “super disappointed” and would not be watching the show. “I feel someone took my teenage years and just repeatedly trampled them while setting them on fire,” she wrote on Twitter.

Neil Gaiman, who co-wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett, argued that fans like the source material, “so if you do something else, you risk alienating the fans on a monumental scale. It’s not Batman if he’s now a news reporter in a yellow trenchcoat with a pet bat”.

One Pratchett fan tweeted: “Oh god I just saw the trailer for The Watch and now I’m concerned the spinning from Pratchett’s grave will throw the earth off its axis.”

Another added: “The very soul of Pratchett has been excised from The Watch series and it’s absolutely heartbreaking this happened.”

Rhianna had previously criticised The Watch’s showrunner, Simon Allen, for failing to thank her father.

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In a panel at New York ComicCon last week, the show’s executive producer Richard Stokes said that the production team had decided to “invent our own world” using Pratchett’s source material, adding: “You don’t need to know the books to be able to enjoy the series and that’s one of the most exciting things about it for a big audience.”

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