A comic novel about the end of the world written way back in 1990 is being made at last
Neil Gaiman is leading a project to bring the much-loved comic fantasy novel he co-authored with Terry Pratchett in 1990 to television, he has announced.
He revealed the news during a memorial event for Pratchett, who died in March last year after spending years suffering from a rare form of Alzheimer’s, at the Barbican in London on Thursday night.
“How much are we allowed to tell them?” Gaiman asked Rob Wilkins, another longtime collaborator of the late author’s, on stage. “Are we allowed to tell them it is a six-part television series?”
Gaiman, who was a well-known comic writer in 1990, but who is now a major Hollywood screenwriter amongst other work, admitted that he hadn’t wanted to adapt the book for TV after his friend’s death, as they’d had an agreement that every creative endeavour relating to it would be done together. However, he said he had his mind changed by a posthumous letter, in which Pratchett gave him his blessing.
“At that point, I think I said, ‘You bastard, yes’,” Gaiman recalled, to cheers.
This isn’t the first time producers have tried to bring the novel, which sees an angel and a demon teaming up to defeat the antichrist, who due to unfortunate circumstances turns out to be a boy growing up in the English countryside, to the screen. In 2002, a Terry Gilliam pitch reputedly involving Johnny Depp and Robin Williams fell through due to issues with portraying the end of the world after 9/11. Another attempt, in 2011, also featuring Gaiman, with another ex-Monty Python star, Terry Jones, also came to nothing.
BBC Radio 4 produced a version in 2014, which brought Pratchett and Gaiman together to provide voicework, and which was done deliberately so Sir Terry could enjoy the work while he was still alive.