'The Watch' who's who: A closer look at Terry Pratchett's Discworld characters that inspired the BBC show
Every cop show needs its cast of colorful characters, but the creations of Sir Terry Pratchett stand out more than most. Before the release of BBC's 'The Watch', it's worth taking a look at the characters from the books, and how the show has adapted them or, in some cases, changed them completely.
Richard Dormer plays, Samuel Vimes, the Captain of the Watch. When he was first introduced in 'Guards! Guards!', Sam Vimes was an alcoholic in charge of a failing collection of rag-tag police officers whose roles were mostly redundant thanks to crime being controlled by the Thieves Guild. Over the course of Pratchett's books concerning the Watch, Sam Vimes rose quite rapidly in station, but he never forgot where he came from. He is a man of the streets, shrewd, cynical, and always out to protect the people from the rich, influential and powerful figures who might bring them harm.
Adam Hugill plays Constable Carrot, a six-foot tall human who was adopted and raised by dwarves and thinks of himself as one. Carrot, also introduced in 'Guards! Guards!', came to the corrupt city of Ankh-Morpork with impressive levels of naivete, and even an even more impressive physical build that helped him easily take down many criminal elements. He later develops a romantic relationship with Angua. In the books, it is a running gag that Carrot is secretly next in line for the throne of Ankh-Morpork, but Carrot is more than happy to remain a police officer.
Marama Corlette plays Angua, the Watch's first werewolf. She is introduced in the second of the Watch books, 'Men at Arms', and was trained by Carrot, but in the TV show, it appears that she's already been a member of the Watch and is the one responsible for training a rookie Carrot. Her keen sense of smell makes her a powerful asset to the Watch, but she often struggles to live with her more bestial nature.
Jo Eaton-Ken plays Cheery Littlebottom, who in the show is described as a "non-binary" forensics expert. Things worked out slightly differently in the books, however. In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, all dwarves used to traditionally present themselves as male. If any of them were female behind their long, lustrous beards, they only admitted the fact behind closed doors. Cheery was one of the first dwarves to openly present as female, changing her name to Cheri, which caused a huge uproar in the conservative dwarven community but sparking a wave of other female dwarves wishing to be open about their gender.
Ralph Ineson plays Detritus, a slow-witted but well-meaning troll officer of the Watch who acts as the organization's muscle.
Lara Rossi plays Sybil Ramkin, who on the show is described as the "last scion of Ankh-Morpork’s nobility, who’s trying to fix the city’s wrongs with her chaotic vigilantism." The show's version of Sybil appears to be taken on a much bigger action-hero type of role than her novelized counterpart. Lady Sybil Ramkin of the books is described as a plus-sized woman who may be handy with a crossbow, but is more known for her unshakeable political will - and being one of the last few caretakers of swamp dragons (much smaller, and more prone to exploding than regular dragons) left in the world. She and Vimes eventually get married to each other.
Anna Chancellor plays a gender-switched Lord Havelock Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork. Vetinari is the self-professed but unconventional tyrant in charge of the City, who is responsible for making things run smoothly through bizarre but ruthlessly effective policies such as negotiating an acceptable level of crime with the Thieves' Guild, and putting them in charge of enforcing it. More to the point, the Thieves' Guild tends to deal much more harshly with unlicensed crime than anyone in the Watch ever could. Vetinari is a composed strategist, who always seems to have a plan up his or her sleeve.
Played by Sam Adewunmi, Carcer Dun was introduced in 'Night Watch', and is written as a deranged serial killer who manages to bear an air of innocence whenever he's caught, despite the three extra knives he's hidden up his sleeves. In the books, he appears to want to kill for nothing more than the pleasure of it, but the show describes him as, "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." Either way - he's a man to watch out for.
Bianca Simone Mannie plays another gender-switched character, Lupine Wonse. In the first of the Watch books, 'Guards! Guards!', Wonse is the mastermind behind a plot to summon a dragon simply so that a hero under Wonse's orders can appear to slay it, giving Ankh-Morpork a King again and removing Lord Vetinari from power. The smoky image of a dragon is seen in the show's trailer, and as "a wizard hopeful in waiting that is frequently underestimated," Wonse probably won't be far behind.
The series also stars James Fleet as the Archchancellor of Unseen University, Ingrid Oliver as Doctor Cruces, and Wendell Pierce as the voice of Death. 'The Watch' releases on January 3, on BBC America.