I can’t wait to see Hogfather and The Colour of Magic on Sky Two, Christmas Day at 10am and Boxing Day at 10am respectively.
In these two specials, we’re introduced to Discworld which is a quasi-medieval, Dickensian society drifting through space perched on top of four elephants standing on the shell of The Great A’Tuin, a giant turtle. It’s a bit like our world…well, a bit. Rather than a sphere, it’s a 10,000 mile diameter flat disc planet – like a geological pizza but without the anchovies. As a fantasy world where reality is stretched to its limit, things that nearly exist in the ‘real’ world have no trouble existing in the Discworld universe.
It’s the night before Hogswatch – it’s a bit like our Christmas, well a bit…The Hogfather (you know, the jolly fat man) who delivers presents to the kiddies at the midwinter festival of Hogswatch, slides down a chimney to deliver the toys in the Disc’s biggest city of Ankh-Morpork. As he leaves he takes a swig of sherry, a bite from the pork pie and pockets the turnips left out for him to give to the hogs that pull his sleigh…
What he doesn’t realise is that he’s being watched by the Auditors – grey robed spectres who in Discworld audit not money but the entire universe and maintain the neat order of the things – who have formulated a plan to destroy human belief so that there’s not an atom of it left and they can assume control of the Discworld.
They approach Lord Downey (David Warner), the Head of The Assassins’ Guild with a proposal. Downey orders the innocent looking yet ruthless Mr. Teatime (Marc Warren) (pronounced Te-ah-time-eh) to kill the Hogfather, and alarmingly, Teatime has already worked out how to do it.
With the Hogfather going missing, it’s vital all the presents are delivered, otherwise human belief will be destroyed and ultimately the sun won’t rise tomorrow… or ever again in Discworld. However, there is another supernatural entity that can be everywhere at once and, most importantly, knows where everybody lives. He is Death. But while he is engaged, accompanied by his trusty manservant Albert (Sir David Jason), in the mysteries of climbing down chimneys, drinking sherry and perfecting the art of saying HO! HO! HO! who will stop the Auditors’ terrible plan?
Could it be Susan Sto-Helit (Michelle Dockery) – mild mannered governess to two small children Twyla and Gawain? Though there’s something different about Susan. And so there should be if you are Death’s adopted granddaughter…
Or even Mustrum Ridcully (Joss Ackland), Head of the Unseen University, along with his motley band of wizards aided by Hex, the thinking engine?
If Death and Albert can’t deliver enough presents, eat enough pork pies and leave enough sled marks on snowy roofs to get children’s belief muscles going… or if Susan can’t find the Hogfather… Or the Wizards at The Unseen University can’t work out what’s happening on the most powerful magic night of the year… the Auditors’ terrible vision for a world without belief will become a dismal reality and will spell out the end of humanity as we know it…
HO! HO! HO!
You’d better watch out…
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Then on Boxing Day there’s another chance to see The Colour of Magic starring of course David Jason alongside Sean Astin and Tim Curry.
In a lavish two part adaptation, Sir David Jason leads an all star cast as wizard Rincewind. After 40 years of attempting to reach even the most basic level of wizardry at the Unseen University in the city of Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind is a failure. It isn’t simply a case of being magically challenged, however; Rincewind’s troubles extend much further…
A ship sails up the river Ankh, delivering Twoflower (Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings Triology), the first ever Discworld tourist, and his strange piece of living luggage. Armed with a phrase book and a mountain of gold housed in his magical luggage, he hopes to see Morporkian life as it truly is.
Reluctantly agreeing to be his ‘tour’ guide, Rincewind sets out with Twoflower and his luggage on what becomes the ultimate package holiday. On their eventful journey across the Disc, the trio encounter a collection of bizarre and fantastical beings, battling dragon lords in an upside-down mountain, riding imaginary dragons and defeating druid mercenaries. Not to mention unwittingly becoming spacemen and being fired off the edge of the Disc.
In an ongoing game of cat and mouse with Death (voiced by Christopher Lee), Rincewind continues to emerge victorious, but in Ankh Morpork, strange things are occurring. The Octavo, the greatest of all spell books, kept under lock and key in the university library, has gone mad, and a strange red star has appeared in the sky.
As the evil, power-hungry wizard Trymon (Tim Curry) puts his plans for Discworld domination into action, the fate of the Disc rests on the shoulders of the hapless Rincewind, an excitable tourist and a ferocious wooden box with legs…
The Colour of Magic was adapted for the screen and directed by Vadim Jean (Hogfather, Leon the Pig Farmer) and produced by Rod Brown and Ian Sharples of the Mob Film Company.
I’ve never watched a Terry Pratchett adaptation before so I’m really looking forward to these!