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November 20, 2021

“Millennium hand and shrimp!” Discworld audiobooks get star-studded re-record

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The late, great Sir Terry Pratchett in 2005. (Jutta, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Stellar news for fans of Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series this week, as a raft of his audiobooks, newly recorded by a host of famous names, are set to grace our ears in 2022.

An announcement was made on Terry Pratchett’s official website this week, and subsequently reported by The Guardian and others.

40 unabridged works by Pratchett, who died in 2015, will be released over the next two years. Multiple award-winning radio writer & director Neil Gardner will head up the ambitious production, with actors Andy Serkis, Peter Serafinowicz, and Fleabag star Sian Clifford among the confirmed names.

Bill Nighy will voice Pratchett’s footnotes, which are beloved by fans of the series and often seen as insights into the mind of the great man himself. Speaking about the unusual assignment, Nighy said:

I’m honoured to voice the footnotes and bring to life one of the funniest, quirkiest and best-loved aspects of Terry Pratchett’s world.

The news arrives as Pratchett’s debut novel, The Carpet People, celebrates its half-century. Rob Wilkins, who manages the Terry Pratchett Estate, said:

We couldn’t be more delighted to have such a fitting tribute to Terry on the 50th anniversary of the publication of his first book and I can’t wait for listeners to experience this new Discworld in audio.

Serafinowicz plays Death in the new recordings, bringing his near-subsonic tones to the reaper’s famously cavernous voice, which is styled ALL CAPS in the novels. The Guardian‘s report carries a delicious preview of his dialogue in the jolly festive tale Hogfather, which arrives in December ahead of the full roll-out in April 2022. HO HO HO, indeed.

The Discworld books are generally accepted as split into seven “arcs” which can be read as series within themselves. The first of these, “Witches,” will lead the way next year, with two of Pratchett’s most popular characters, the sprightly witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, starring in Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum.

The “Wizard” sequence is scheduled next, with the stand-alone Small Gods (narrated by Serkis) coming after that. Then comes the “Death” sequence, and the young-adult entry The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.

All in all, there’s plenty for Discworld fans to get their teeth into … and far more appetising than a C.M.O.T. Dibbler “meat” pie, we’re sure.

 

 

Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.

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