Death Becomes Him

Hogfather1

Christmas Review #2 of 12

To the best of my knowledge, this was the first time that any of Terry Pratchett‘s work has been turned into a visual medium.  I’ve always thought that the Discworld books were perfect fodder for an animated series of some description but anyone who has been within the vague vicinity of a Sky TV channel over the festive period cannot have failed to have noticed that Sky TV (not exactly renowned for making original dramas) have produced a real life version of The Hogfather.By failing to start at the begining of the Discworld story, Sky may have been successful in making a seasonal drama but they ran the risk of leaving those unfamiliar with the concept a little cold.  Fortunately I have read a few of the books in the series, so was approaching The Hogfather with some optimism.  While enjoyable the results were a little mixed.  The comedy was not as laugh out loud funny as I had been expecting, perhaps because the wit in the books comes just as much from the writing as from the characters and four hours set over two episodes seemed a little relentless for a story set over just one evening.  The nighttime setting gave the procedings a suitably gothic edge, reminding me of the BBC’s production of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere a few years ago.  The star here was undoubtedly Marc Warren whose portrayal of Mr Teatime (inspired by Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka) was in the starkest possible contrast to his other TV outing this Christmas, in Dracula, as he managed to pull off being genuinely sinister and vaguely ridiculous at the same time.  All in all it was a good effort from Sky and I hope to see more productions follow in the future, the character of Death especially having plenty of mileage in him.

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