Written by Susan L. Fox, Gene Turnbow
Game of Thrones actor Richard Dormer moves from one mythical world to another – except this one is significantly flatter.
Dormer, who played Beric Dondarrion on the HBO series Game of Thrones, will star in The Watch at BBC America. He has been cast in the role of Sam Vimes in the new Terry Pratchett Discworld based series. Shooting begins September 30 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Also starring in the new series are Adam Hugill (1917), Jo Eaton-Kent, Marama Corlett (Blood Drive), Lara Rossi (Robin Hood) and Sam Adewunmi (The Missing).
The road to The Watch was a long one. Originally announced in 2012, it was only ordered to series in October 2018. It’s based on the “City Watch” subset of Pratchett’s Discworld series. It’s set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, where crime has been legalized. A group of misfit cops rises up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe.
The question in Discworld fandom all these years was who would play Samuel Vimes world-weary copper, head of the Night Watch in the Ankh-Morpork, the greatest city on the Disc. We finally have the answer: Northern Irish actor/playwright Richard Dormer , known to audiences as Beric Dondarrion in the HBO television series Game of Thrones and Dan Anderssen in Sky Atlantic’s Fortitude.
Said Dormer, “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.”
Hugill (whom we have seen in the Batman backgrounder Pennyworth, and whom we look forward to seeing with Benedict Cumberbatch in 1917) will play Constable Carrot, an idealistic and naive new recruit, who has no idea he may be the rightful heir to the throne of Ankh-Morpork. Handsome, tall, raised by dwarves and facing a city he never expected to see, this character is a fan favorite.
Corlett plays the mysterious werewolf Corporal Angua, who’s charged with training Carrot and keeping him alive. We very nearly saw her in Guardians of the Galaxy as a “scrappy pit boss” in a scene cut from the final edit, delivered entirely in an alien language, being irritated by a drunken Drax, as well as a part in the dystopian future series Blood Drive and more unusual roles.
Lady Sibyl Ramkin, Ankh-Morpork’s own “mother of dragons” and probably the richest woman in the city will be played by Lara Rossi, from crime drama Crossing Lines, ITV psychodrama Cheat and the upcoming miniseries Flesh and Blood.
A number of fans have voiced concerns that Ms. Rossi is too young and too fit for the part, which will certainly be addressed by costuming and acting. But of course, some people had to complain she was black. We are only going to say this once, with a quote by Sir Terry Pratchett from Wyrd Sisters: “Racism was not a problem on the Discworld, because – what with trolls and dwarfs and so on – speciesism was more interesting. Black and white lived in perfect harmony and ganged up on green.”
In the Discworld books, Pratchett often addresses modern issues through the fantasy metaphor, and one of the key characters, forensic technician Cheery Littlebottom lives the Regular Dwarvish Lifestyle Lie of all Dwarves presenting as male, while secretly cultivating her feminine side. Non-binary thespian Jo Eaton-Kent will certainly bring believable cachet and real life experience to the role. We have seen them before as Kayla’s best mate Bradley in BBC2 comedy, Don’t Forget The Driver. That sense of comic timing will serve them well in the role, which has funny as well as serious moments.
Sam Adewunmi (The Last Tree) 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.” So apparently, the will be addressing the complicated time travel plotline of 2002 Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, Night Watch. Considering the time travel chops of the writing staff, we have all confidence that they will handle this handsomely.
A few more major characters have yet to be announced: Vimes’ sidekick constables Fred Colon and “Nobby” Nobbs, towering troll watchman Detritus, skeevy street vendor “Cuttin’ Me Own Throat” Dibbler; and if they are doing the Night Watch plot, the mysterious master Monk of Time, Lu-Tze.
We’re also missing a casting announcement for The Patrician. With lead writers from Three Musketeers and Doctor Who, dare we hope for Peter Capaldi?
“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,” said lead writer and executive producer Simon Allen (The Musketeers). “It’s been such a privilege to work with our world-class director [Craig Viveiros], 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.”
The series is executive produced by Hilary Salmon (Luther), Ben Donald (The Mallorca Files) and Richard Stokes (Torchwood) for BBC Studios, Rob Wilkins (Good Omens) for Narrativia, Simon Allen and Craig Viveiros. Johann Knobel (Shameless) is series producer of The Watch, and Simon Rogers (Doctor Foster) is production designer. BBC Studios is handling distribution internationally.
The eight episode series is being written by BBC regulars Joy Wilkinson (Doctor Who), Catherine Tregenna (Torchwood), Amrou Al-Kadhi (Little America) and Ed Hime along with Allen. Allen, director Craig Viveiros (And Then There Were None), BBC Studios’ Hilary Salmon, Ben Donald and Richard Stokes and Narrativia’s Rob Wilkins executive produce.
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels have sold some 90 million copies worldwide. He passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015.
All roads lead to Ankh-Morpork, The Big Wahooni, City of a Thousand Surprises, and we are ready to begin our journey!