back to article Terry Pratchett's self-written documentary to be broadcast in 2017

The BBC has announced that it will this year broadcast Terry Pratchett's last story: His own. Sir Terry's Alzheimer's prevented him from finishing this work, but the BBC has completed its "poignant and humorous documentary" to tell the tale of the creator of the Discworld series of fantasy novels, whose books have sold over 85 …

  1. alain williams Silver badge

    I hope that Death welcomed him with the words:

    GREETINGS FRIEND.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: I hope that Death welcomed him with the words:

      "AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.

      Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

      The End."

      If you don't mind, I'm off to sit in a corner somewhere.

      1. John G Imrie

        Re: I hope that Death welcomed him with the words:

        I still start to well up when I read that.

  2. magickmark

    MUCH MISSED STILL

    REST IN PEACE SIR PTERRY

  3. James 51
    Pint

    66 really was too young. Nightwatch was probably his finest moment. Where ever you are Sir Terry, this one is for you.

  4. Alfie

    With Terry writing the words and Paul Kaye playing him it should provide plenty of laughs. I would still rather have him back and writing. I guess I should go back to the beginning and read them all again...

    1. Graham Cunningham

      ... Again.

  5. ukgnome

    I am now reading Pratchett to my boy and have fallen in love with his writing again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, like Wodehouse you must read Pratchett aloud to really savour his creative genius. I recently started my wife on him that way and she got totally hooked despite not being a reader or a fantasy fan. The same books I had read long ago suddenly took on a whole new dimension under the spell of the spoken word. Silent reading misses too many of the nuances he put into his work, particularly in the dialogue.

      1. Public Citizen
        Pint

        The Spoken Word does add a new perspective to the writing, but at the cost of missing out on his facility with punctuation, typeface, and even page layout.

        GNU Sir Terry Pratchett

    2. AbeSapian

      Don't leave out "Where's My Cow".

  6. seanf

    Back in Octarine perchance?

    RIP. Read everything he wrote. Will always want for more.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Literary critics

    I guess we all know the old saying about eunuchs; they know how it's done, they get to watch it being done, they comment on how it's being done...they want to do it...but they can't.

    1. Chris G

      Re: Literary critics

      Years ago I was hanging wallpaper in my house, an acquaintance who had dropped by was criticising my work. I shut him up with ' Those who can,do. Those who can't, criticise!'

      He left.

      How many great writers have been slated by 'expert' critics?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Literary critics

        Years ago I was hanging wallpaper in my house,

        Slightly OT, but you reminded me of something I heard on a Radio 2 Chris Addison show years ago:

        "...that's why the first thing we do, when we move into a new house, is to take the previous idiot's wallpaper down and put ours up - we're marking our territory.

        Now, here's a little tip. Take the idiot's wallpaper down, but before you put yours up - go to Homebase, buy a tin of blood-red paint, and write on your wall with the paint "I WILL KILL AGAIN". Wait for it to dry, then put your wallpaper up.

        Now... you never actually get to see the punchline of this joke, but you do get a lovely warm feeling in about 5 years time when you hand the keys over..."

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Literary critics

          Responding to my own (well, Chris Addison's) wallpaper anecdote above - if anyone's in the slightest bit interested, the comedy program in question was "The Ape That Got Lucky", first aired 25th August 2005. Very, very funny indeed, with surreal tales of bubble-wrapping penguins, academic rivalry, and how "little dolphin" tattoos morph into Moby Dick as the tattoo-ee ages. I've just listened to it again and it's still laugh-out-loud fresh over a decade later.

          It doesn't seem to be on iPlayer or YouTube any more, unfortunately, but I'm sure there are copies around for those that seek it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Literary critics

      "I guess we all know the old saying about eunuchs; [...]"

      They were employed in the Ottoman harem because they wouldn't produce any offspring that would be confused with the Sultan's. Otherwise they were usually fully functioning sexually.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Literary critics

        For more information about that topic try:

        http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-eunuch-idUSTRE52E06H20090316

        China's last eunuch

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Literary critics

          Not sure why my original post received so many down votes. For the purpose of accuracy I was being very specific about eunuchs in the Ottoman Empire who only had their testicles removed. That was different from a Chinese practice where the penis was also removed.

          See 18th century contemporary quote by Ali Seydi Bey in Philip Mansell's "Constantinople: City of the World's Desire, 1453-1924"

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LrnvC98bNSoC&pg=PT103&dq=mansel+constantinople+eunuch+seydi+bey&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid0_bu_77RAhUCKsAKHRVJDiIQ6AEIJTAA#v=onepage&q=mansel%20constantinople%20eunuch%20seydi%20bey&f=false

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Literary critics

        Eunuchs were 'employed' more than just in the Ottoman court. I believe there were several hundred thousand at least in Chinese history. In fact, most ruling systems in the historical period had eunuchs, and probably lots before that.

        It's just too easy to create them...

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Literary critics

          It's just too easy to create them...

          Easy? Hardly. To make one really takes balls.

      3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Literary critics

        Otherwise they were usually fully functioning sexually.

        Depends on when and how they were cut - there are various degrees of snippage. Some cultures just removed the testes, other remove the whole root and branch[1]..

        [1] Which tended to have much lower survival rate - the ancient Persians used this method (generally) and the surgery was done mostly on very young boys. It also uncluded the use of a small reed to keep the urethra open until the immediate are had mostly healed. If they didn't then the children tended to die quite quickly because they couldn't urinate. Not nice.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Literary critics

          [shakes head in disbelief]

          So real humans (and presumably they were ones with balls of their own) actually sat down and thought about the fatality rate and instead of thinking "well colour me surprised" they actually went away and did some research to figure out how to do it less fatally.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Literary critics

        Otherwise they were usually fully functioning sexually.

        I think you have missed the point of the saying about literary critics. The point is that writers do produce "children" - their books - while most literary critics produce essays that are promptly forgotten. Eunuchs know exactly how babies are produced, but they don't beget them even though they may be able to sustain an erection.

  8. David 132 Silver badge
    Pint

    Read the additional interview material in Good Omens

    Good Omens - at least, certain editions of it* - contains a set of interviews with TP and Neil Gaiman, in which they describe how they came to meet & collaborate. It's almost as funny as the book itself and well worth reading if you haven't already. A hat is involved.

    (The icon is a pint of scumble, foolishly poured into a rapidly-dissolving glass.) -->

    *As is typical - and actually mentioned by TP and NG in their interviews - I have owned at least 4 editions, 3 of which have been loaned out to people and never returned. My first few copies of the book didn't include the interviews and additional material, but the last one I purchased (in Oregon) did. Maybe only in the recent US editions?

    1. A K Stiles

      Re: Read the additional interview material in Good Omens

      A PINT of scumble???!!

      I pity your liver, kidneys, teeth and skull at the end of that! Don't fancy the eventual hangover from being that knurd either!

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Read the additional interview material in Good Omens

        @A K Stiles A PINT of scumble???!!

        S'alright, I took the precaution of putting a lining on my stomach with mutton & clootie dumplings (with slumpie), first. Should protect against anything up to and including scumble.

        Also. Multiple exclamation marks... you do recall what that's a sign of, hmm?

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Bittersweet

    The very mention of the master's name still brings a lump to this old fool's throat.

  10. petef

    Clacks

    Thanks, El Reg, for your X-Clacks-Overhead.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/18/sir_terry_pratchett_http_header/

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Clacks

      I wonder how many servers are sending that?

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Clacks

        *Raises hand*

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: Clacks

          Several of mine as well.

      2. Long John Brass

        Re: Clacks

        Mine too

        1. grs1961

          Re: Clacks

          And me!

  11. Tom 38
    Headmaster

    Warning: This post contains pedantry

    How is it a documentary, when it has someone playing the role of the person being documented?

    This has to be either a dramatisation of a true story, or a reconstruction... it cannot be a documentary.

    Still going to watch it :D

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Warning: This post contains pedantry

      Possibly a "docu-drama"?

    2. Jedit Silver badge
      IT Angle

      "How is it a documentary, when it has someone playing the role?"

      Because Kaye won't be playing the part of the OFIAH, he will be speaking the words of someone who no longer can. It's no less documentarian than the programmes on World War I where diaries of dead soldiers are read out.

      (The IT angle: Pterry famously used a six-monitor display rig, and said the only reason he didn't use more was because he couldn't figure out a way to hook them up.)

      1. Pat Harkin

        Re: "How is it a documentary, when it has someone playing the role?"

        "(The IT angle: Pterry famously used a six-monitor display rig, and said the only reason he didn't use more was because he couldn't figure out a way to hook them up.)"

        He once told me - the first time I was in the presence of those monitors - "People ask me why I've got six monitors. I tell them 'It's becasue there isn't room for eight!'"

        He also said he'd considered getting a web cam on top of them so he could see whoever was standing on the other side...

  12. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "unexpectedly poignant"

    You're watching the brain of a man who was a great satirist and whose work was loved by millions gradually turn from porridge (as Alan Turin put it) to blancmange.

    I think most people who aren't actual psychopaths would find that quite poignant.

    1. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge

      Re: "unexpectedly poignant"

      And who had an astonishing memory.

      Among the 10s of thousands of people he met, I was fortunate to do so twice. Across 2 continents and 10 years apart. The second time (in Australia), he remembered me, where we were the first time (Silicon Valley), what we were doing (I bought him sushi lunch because his publisher agent was a useless c*nt and wouldn't get him anything, and then took him to a Fry's for gadget shopping). He remembered things I'd forgotten - name of the shop, other people there.

      It was gobsmacking.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "unexpectedly poignant"

        @Michael Hoffmann The second time (in Australia), he remembered me, where we were the first time (Silicon Valley), what we were doing (I bought him sushi lunch because his publisher agent was a useless c*nt and wouldn't get him anything, and then took him to a Fry's for gadget shopping).

        I am genuinely in awe. Your interaction with him was far more noteworthy than mine.

        'Twas a bookstore (Waterstones?) in Chester, somewhere around 1995. He was on a signing tour. A gangly, pimply bean-sprout of a student who had no social abilities whatsoever hesitatingly put a copy of the book in front of the Great Man and stammered out his name "David <Surname>".. to which came the gentle, oh-so-tactful reproof, "Just 'David', surely?". Cue GPBSS exiting stage Right, having a fit of conniptions at having interacted and made a fool of himself with so exalted a person.

        Twenty+ years and much therapy later I can bear to remember it.

        Lost the signed copy, of course. Lent it to a "friend" and never got it back, the barsteward. You Know Who You Are (but I don't).

        1. Alien8n

          Re: "unexpectedly poignant"

          Had a few pints with him back in the 90's, and even got invited for a curry once. His daughter's a really nice person to talk to as well.

          My wife still has her alt.fan.pratchett(hedghog) t-shirt. Well, it was mine originally until a washing accident turned it pink.

  13. Tom 7

    And a quote from Wyrd Systers for next week

    Somewhere deep inside his mind, somewhere beyond the event horizon of rationality, the sheer pressure of insanity had hammered his madness into something harder than diamond.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OT: Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" was broadcast in two parts on R4 recently. You can see why his collaborations with Terry worked.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07xs23j

    1. D@v3

      Stardust

      I enjoyed that thoroughly on a long train journey over Christmas.

  15. MrDamage Silver badge

    A man is not dead

    Whilst his name is still being spoken.

    The Auditors will be most displeased with Sir Pterry's way of having others speak his name so often.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: A man is not dead

      And so Sir Terry lives on in the overhead, bouncing from one end of the Grand Trunk to the other,

      and in also in L-space of course, or wherever else orangutans say "Ook",

      and in the hearts of all his wit, and deep humanity touched.

      ...

      And now will have to go and get a new handkerchief. I'll raise a glass once more later

    2. John G Imrie

      Re: A man is not dead

      The Auditors can take a running jump of a frozen bridge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: A man is not dead

        Just get Miss Susan to toss chocolates at them...

  16. farranut

    The first time i met the great man (on a signing tour for The Amazing Maurice) he signed "To Chris, have you got your potato? Terry" and he was amazed and delighted when i revealed i DID have my potato round my neck :D

    I cried for hours when he died, and and tearing up again at this memory. I miss you.

  17. hi_robb

    Folks

    Having read through all of your wonderful tributes to the Great Man, I'm genuinely sitting here in tears.

    Not a bad word for him and long may that continue.

    D

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Folks

      I think that's because he was, by all accounts, genuinely a nice, decent person.

      All too often we hear that the real person behind a famous persona has feet of clay - "oh, in person he's actually kind of an asshole", or "that charm is just an act, she's actually a mean so-and-so". But I can't recall, in any interviews/programs/comments, ever hearing someone with a bad word to say about Terry Pratchett. In my own tiny encounter with him as recalled earlier in this thread, he was tact and kindness itself - he gracefully covered for my gauche flub without making me feel small in any way. A lesser or crueller man might have taken the cheap laughs option and ridiculed me for not knowing that book dedications typically don't include the surname.

      1. Alien8n

        Re: Folks

        @David 132: In my case they don't even include my real name. Every one is signed "to Alien". It's interesting to see how his signature changed over time, from his full name being signed to an almost illegible scribble of his initials in later books. But all signed with a humour that is deeply missed.

  18. Blitheringeejit

    Being Rational

    The Shepherd's Crown (the last Discworld book), has been sitting on my bedside table for over a year - but I can't bear to start reading it, because once it's finished, there will never be any more.

    I like to think of myself as a rational being - but one of the things Sir Pterry did best was debunking the mythologies we maintain about ourselves, and I feel much richer for having his perspective on how ridiculous I really am.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Being Rational

      My copy is still untouched.

    2. JasonLaw

      Re: Being Rational

      Same here. My copy is in the bookcase, still in the cellophane it came delivered in. I'll always have one more Pratchett novel to read.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Being Rational

      Same here, mine was a gift and I cried when I got it for that very reason. I was bloody surprised when the person giving me the book said:

      Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?

      because they've never read any of his many wonderful volumes and had picked that up from an obituary. Made me smile though.

    4. Stuart Moore

      Re: Being Rational

      You'll enjoy it. But trust me you'll need tissues.

  19. 0laf Silver badge

    Not my writing, but quite appropriate

    The following was circulated on the intertubes at the time...

    "I would like my pudding now nurse. And then I think I'd like to... write... something... I don't remember what."

    Standing in the corner, he waits. The sand slowly flows, but it nears its end. The old man still glows, as thousands of threads spread away from him.

    SQUEAK.

    I AGREE. IT IS A SHAME TO SEE HIM THIS WAY.

    SQUEAK.

    NO. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN.... BUT I CANNOT WAIT TO ASK HIM HOW IT ALL ENDS.

    The old man looks up, through them at first... and then he sees them. For once, the smile on the hooded figure's skull is genuine.

    "I... I remember you. The anth... ant..."

    ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION.

    "Yes, that. We knew each other?"

    ONCE. AND WILL AGAIN, SIR.

    He so rarely said it, and these feelings... remembering his young apprentice, and beloved daughter. The beautiful child they have.

    "There... is a girl, yes?"

    SHE IS SPEAKING TO THE AUDITORS, SIR. THEY ARE UNWILLING TO LISTEN.

    "Well then. You know what they say, two things you cannot avoid. Taxes and..." He looks into the fiery blue eyes, and becomes aware.

    SQUEAK.

    "Quite right. Is it time already? I have so much left to do."

    YOU HAVE GIVEN ALL YOU CAN SIR.

    "No, not cancer. Alzheimers."

    I AM AWARE.

    "So, where is the boy? I remember a boy."

    CARRIAGE ACCIDENT.

    "Ahh. Never much trusted cars. Or horses."

    THEY GET YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO.

    "Must I?"

    SOON. BUT WE MAY SIT HERE AWHILE.

    SQUEAK

    DO YOU HAVE ANY BISCUITS?

    "No. Shame really."

    YES.

    "Is it truly turtles?"

    ALL THE WAY DOWN. I HAVE SEEN THEM.

    "Ahh. I would love to see it. Perhaps a small trip before?"

    IT WOULD BE MY PLEASURE.

    "The light is slower there... and there's a monkey...."

    ORANGUTAN. SAME PRINCIPLE.

    "Yes... will they remember me?"

    SQUEAK.

    "What was that? I could not hear you."

    HE SAYS WE WILL, SIR.

    "I never much liked the trouble people had with you. You seem like a nice fellow."

    I HAVE MY DAYS.

    "Don't we all?"

    SOME LESS THAN OTHERS.

    "Is it quick?"

    YES. AND I BROUGHT THE SWORD. CEREMONY DICTATES IT.

    "Ahh. How about a cup of tea?"

    I WOULD ENJOY IT. DO YOU PLAY CHESS?

    "No. how about checkers?"

    And so they sat, two old friends regaling each other, though the old man could not remember all of the details, the cloaked man and his rat filled him in, when it was needed.

    - by Nick Mogavero

    1. Aladdin Sane

      I'm not crying, you're crying.

      1. deathOfRats

        Yes, I am.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I queued for ages at a book signing for Going Postal mentioned that my wife was a librarian and he signed the book to her with Ook.

    My only other signed book is by the Goodies.

  21. jonleeuk1
    Meh

    Have read the shepherds crown, did cry, then got it as an audiobook, cried again. May have welled up reading this

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