Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett join forces with Radio 4 to make first ever dramatisation of Good Omens

The Radio 4 audience loved Neverwhere and Good Omens will be a splendid Christmas treat.Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4
Date: 05.09.2014     Last updated: 05.09.2014 at 11.03
Category: Radio 4
It’s the end of the world - just not quite how we might be expecting it - but then this is Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s version of Armageddon.

BBC Radio 4 has today confirmed that the station will be collaborating with acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to create the first ever dramatisation of their co-penned cult-classic, Good Omens.

The audio drama, which begins recording today in a secret London location, has a cast including Colin Morgan (Merlin, The Fall) as Newton Pulsifer, Josie Lawrence (Skins, EastEnders) as Agnes Nutter and Paterson Joseph (Peep Show, Green Wing) as Famine, as well as a host of delightful cameos, from the Gardeners’ Question Time team to Neil and Terry themselves. Other cameos are set to delight listeners, but they are under wraps for now. Probably in a dusty occult bookshop in Covent Garden, but no one is quite sure.

Mark Heap (Spaced, Green Wing, Stardust) and Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians Of The Galaxy, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Shaun Of The Dead) will be taking the central roles as angel and demon, Aziraphale and Crowley, respectively. The star-studded cast will also include Clive Russell (Game Of Thrones, Ripper Street), Julia Deakin (Spaced, Hot Fuzz), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), Simon Jones (Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy), Arsher Ali (Four Lions, Complicit, Beaver Falls), Phil Davis (Silk, Whitechapel, Being Human) and Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Land Girls) to name but a few.

According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday in fact. Just after Any Answers on Radio 4.

Events have been set in motion to bring about the End of Days. The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and making their way towards the sleepy English village of Lower Tadfield. Atlantis is rising, fish are falling from the sky, the Four Horsepersons are assembling; everything seems to be going to the Divine Plan.

Everything that is, but for the unlikely duo of an angel and a demon who are not all that keen on the prospect of the forthcoming Rapture. In fact the prospect of Armageddon is all really rather inconvenient for them actually. But if they are to stop it taking place they’ve got to find and kill the one who will bring about the Apocalypse: the Antichrist himself. There’s just one small problem: someone seems to have mislaid him.

Released in 1990 and listed among the BBC’s Big Read Nation’s 100 favourite books, incredibly Good Omens has never been dramatised – until now.

The team behind Radio 4 and 4 Extra’s Neverwhere - which received a phenomenal critical and audience response last year - has reunited for this special six-part dramatisation of Good Omens. With Dirk Maggs, best known for Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, once again back in the director’s and adaptor’s chair, joined by producer Heather Larmour and ably assisted by Neil Gaiman. Neverwhere starred James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Natalie Dormer and Sir Christopher Lee, to name but a few of the illustrious cast.

Fans will have to wait excitedly to hear the final drama as it is currently scheduled to air in December. It will broadcast across a week in five half-hour episodes and culminate in an hour-long final apocalyptic showdown, on a Saturday, shortly before Woman’s Hour, should the world not actually end.

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4, says: “I’m delighted to have Neil Gaiman back on Radio 4 – and this time with Terry Pratchett. I can’t wait to hear what they will do with the Apocalypse. The Radio 4 audience loved Neverwhere and Good Omens will be a splendid Christmas treat.”

Listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top 10 living postmodern writers, Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Stardust, Anansi Boys, The Graveyard Book, the ‘Sandman’ comics) has a huge following, even guesting on an episode of The Simpsons. His episode of Doctor Who was one of the most highly anticipated of recent years and he has nearly two million followers on Twitter.

Sir Terry Pratchett is best known for his epic comic fantasy Discworld series. Since his first Discworld novel (The Colour of Magic) was published in 1983, he has written two books a year on average. His 2011 Discworld novel, Snuff, was at the time of its release, the third-fastest-selling hardback adult-audience novel since records began in the UK, selling 55,000 copies in the first three days.


Hope this clarifies things for the puzzled…


Good Omens fans!

With regards to the upcoming radio show, I’ve seen a few people saying “I’ll just pirate it” or “I’ll wait for it to get put up on YouTube”.

You don’t need to do this! -should- be listenable from any country, as long as you have a computer, the internet and the world isn’t, y’know, ending…

This means that you can listen to it when it airs, and it’s likely that the episodes will be up for a week or so after they air (this is usually the case) so you won’t miss any.

I had to explain this a lot when NEVERWHERE came out from the BBC. THere’s not a lot of point in pirating something that is yours for free — and they LOVE you downloading it and streaming it legitimately as that means it’s popular.

I’ll remind you of all of this in December.



i want a good omens movie but it has to be perfect and it won’t be therefore i do not want a good omens movie

The Good Omens movie is announced.

Neil Gaiman publicly states his approval with every aspect of the movie, and stresses how true it is to the book, how thoroughly it does it justice.

So does Terry Pratchett.

It has an absolutely perfect cast.

The director is an even better choice.

All promotional material looks wonderful.

A release date is set.

The trailer is incredible.

The premiere is a very exclusive event.

All early reviews come in positive.

Fans wait patiently in giant lines for a chance to be the first into the theatre for the midnight screenings.

They file into their seats.

They wait through the previews.

"Now: Our Feature Presentation" scrolls across the screen.

The screen goes black.

The Best of Queen begins to play.

In its entirety.


In glorious surround sound.

I know people like to Cosplay GOOD OMENS but driving a burning  vintage Bentley is just going a little far…

I know people like to Cosplay GOOD OMENS but driving a burning  vintage Bentley is just going a little far…

From Locus in 1991 on tour, Terry Pratchett & I talk about how Good Omens was written…

Pratchett & Gaiman: The Double Act

Neil Gaiman: “The first radio interview we did in New York, the interviewer was asking us ‘Who is Agnes Nutter? What is her history? Is Armageddon happening?” and so on and so forth. After a while, we twigged he hadn’t realized this was fiction. He thought he’d been given two kooks who’d come across these old prophecies and were predicting that the world was going to be ending.”

Terry Pratchett: “Once we realized, it was great fun. We could take over the interview, since we knew he didn’t know enough to stop us.”

NG: “And at that point, we just did the double act.”

NG: “We’re working on seeing how many smart-alec answers we can come up with when people ask us how we collaborated.”

TP: “I wrote all the words, and Neil assembled them into certain meaningful patterns… What it wasn’t was a case of one guy getting 2/3 of the money and the other guy doing 3/4 of the work.”

NG: “It wasn’t, somebody writes a three-page synopsis, and then somebody else writes a whole novel and gets their name small on the bottom.”

TP: “That isn’t how we did it, mainly because our egos were fighting one another the whole time, and we were trying to grab the best bits from one another.”

NG: “We both have egos the size of planetary cores.”

TP: “Probably the most significant change which you must have noticed [between the British and American editions] is the names get the other way ‘round. They’re the wrong way ‘round on the American edition [where Gaiman is listed first] —”

NG: “They’re the wrong way ‘round on the English edition.”

TP: “Both of us are prepared to admit the other guy could tackle our subject. Neil could write a ‘Discworld’ book, I could do a ‘Sandman’ comic. He wouldn’t do a good ‘Discworld’ book and I wouldn’t do a good ‘Sandman’ comic, but —”

NG: “— we’re the only people we know who could even attempt it.”

TP: “I have to say there’s a rider there. I don’t think either of us has that particular bit of magic, if that’s what it is, that the other guy puts into the work, but in terms of understanding the mechanisms of how you do it, I think we do.”

NG: “There’s a level on which we seem to share a communal undermind, in terms of what we’ve read, what we bring to it.”

TP: “In fact, people that have read a lot of the ‘Discworld’ books and a lot of the ‘Sandman’ comics will actually find, for example, Neil put into one of the ‘Sandman’ comics a phrase lifted out of a ‘Discworld’ book. I spotted it in a shop and said, ‘You bastard! You pinched my sentence. Everyone liked that line, and you pinched it.’”

So how did the collaboration on Good Omens begin?

TP: “Neil wrote several thousand words a couple of years ago, which was part of the main plot of Good Omens.”

NG: “I didn’t know what happened next, so I put it aside and I showed it to Terry. One day I got this phone call from Terry, saying ‘Remember that plot? I know what happens next. Do you want to collaborate on it, or do you want to sell it to me?’ And I said, ‘I’ll collaborate, please.’”

TP: “Best decision he ever made! I didn’t want to see a good idea vanish. It turned out, more and more things kind of accreted ‘round it as the book was written. Also, Neil went and lost them anyway, so it all had to be retyped.”

NG: “I’d lost it on disk, so I gave him a hard copy, which meant he had to type it in. He kept changing it.”

TP: “I changed it so I could make the next bit work. The thing kind of jerked forward quite quickly, as both of us raced one another to the next good bit, so we would have an excuse to do it. Both of us cornered certain plot themes which we stuck to like glue.”

NG: “Like the reluctance with which I handed over the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse to Terry when they got to the airbase.”

TP: “I seldom let Neil touch any of the bits involving Adam Young himself.”

NG: “When we got to roughly the end, we could actually see which characters we hadn’t written. So we made a point of going in and writing at least one or two scenes with any of the characters that up until then we hadn’t written.”

TP: “Insofar as there’s any pattern at all, we worked out what the themes were and then we each took a theme and wove that particular strand.”

NG: “The other pattern, of course, was that you’d do your writing in the morning and I’d do mine late at night.”

TP: “Which means there was always someone, somewhere, physically writing Good Omens.”

NG: “It took nine weeks.”

TP: “We look upon Good Omens as a summer job. The first draft for nine weeks was sheer, unadulterated fun. Then there were nine months of rehashing, then there was the auction.”

NG: “When you have situations when you’ve got three agents, five publishers, all that kind of stuff….”

TP: “Our friendship survived only because we had other people to shout at. So I could say, ‘Take that, you bastard!’ and hit his agent.”

NG: “One thing Terry taught me, when we were writing the book together, was how not to do it. Too many funny books fail because people throw every single joke they can think of in, and have an awful lot of fun, and eventually it just becomes a collection of gags.”

TP: “The big problem you face if you’re working collaboratively on a funny book is that you start with a gag and it’s great, it’s very amusing, but with the two of you discussing it, eventually it’s not good anymore. It’s an old gag from your point of view, so you avoid it and you take it further and further. What you’re putting in is a kind of specialized humor for people who work with humor. There’s an old phrase, ‘Good enough for folk music.’ As you work, you have to stand back and say, ‘Never mind whether we are bored with this particular gag, is the reader going to be bored with it, coming to it fresh?’”

NG: “One of the great things about humor is, you can slip things past people with humor, you can use it as a sweetener. So you can actually tell them things, give them messages, get terribly, terribly serious and terribly, terribly dark, and because there are jokes in there, they’ll go along with you, and they’ll travel a lot further along with you than they would otherwise.”

TP: “The book has got its gags, and we really enjoyed doing those, but the core of the book is where Adam Young has to decide whether to fulfill his destiny and become the Antichrist over the smoking remains of the Earth, or to decide not to. He’s got a choice, and so have we. So to that extent I suppose he does symbolize humanity.”

TP: “Bear in mind that we wrote Good Omens while the Salman Rushdie affair was really just coming to a boil in the UK. But no one’s going to go around burning copies of Good Omens, no on would think about that.”

NG: “Yet everything is blasphemous. Technically speaking, Good Omens is blasphemous against religious order, as blasphemous as you can get. And Gollancz have just bunged it in for the big religious award in the UK, which we find very strange. They actually asked the archbishop of Canterbury to send vicars ‘round to have serious tea with us.”

(More at


Good Omens (written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) - Set 6/12

Aziraphale | Crowley | Anathema Device | Newt Pulsifer


Good Omens (written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) - Set 2/12

War | Death


Whoever designed cover for Russian version of the Good Omens… I want to break your fingers. With a shovel.

Dangeroustogo wrote to me and complained. Honestly, I hadn’t seen the Russian one before, but I really don’t dislike it. I think the butch Russian gangster version of Crowley is sort of sweet, for a start.

If you are in the USA and you want to give lots of copies of a book you love to people you like (or even people you barely know) this year’s WORLD BOOK NIGHT has some amazing books they want you to give out. That’s GIVE. FREE. How wonderful is that? Go to the website to find out how to apply to give a book away.
And yes, one of the books is indeed Good Omens. 

If you are in the USA and you want to give lots of copies of a book you love to people you like (or even people you barely know) this year’s WORLD BOOK NIGHT has some amazing books they want you to give out. That’s GIVE. FREE. How wonderful is that? Go to the website to find out how to apply to give a book away.

And yes, one of the books is indeed Good Omens

I stopped off on the way to Cardiff on Wednesday and had lunch with Terry Pratchett. This is us on Hallowe’en, in Terry’s study, twenty four years after we wrote Good Omens.

I stopped off on the way to Cardiff on Wednesday and had lunch with Terry Pratchett. This is us on Hallowe’en, in Terry’s study, twenty four years after we wrote Good Omens.