Its hard to tell you what moment made me cry the most in last nights emotional story of the life of my biggest hero Terry Pratchett. Whether it was Neil Gaiman hardly being able to keep tears back himself, watching the man Terry Pratchett had become thanks to alzheimers at the beginning or hearing fans talking about how important he had been to them and being able to relate so much.
Whatever it was I struggled through my own tears to sit down to watch a beautifully put together documentary on the life of one of the most beloved writers of all time.
I very emotionally wrote about Terry Pratchett’s death back on 12th March 2015. Like many of the fans interviewed in the documentary the Discworld holds a special place in my heart. Being a bit of a real life Matilda I found his books in my mums bookcase after getting bored of books aimed at my own age range at about 9 years old. Soon I fell in love with the wonderfully detailed world he’d created and the amazingly human characters he’d written. Whilst I knew he was a popular author personally I never really found myself face to face with another fan, and still unfortunately have never befriended another fan of his. I had no one else to talk to about this wonderful discovery of a whole new world but it didn’t matter because I’d just made some of the most wonderful friends I could ever ask for.
Everything about the show was perfect. All the names we know and love were there to talk about their memories of the great man from his daughter Rhianna to writer Neil Gaiman, assistant Rob to artist Paul Kidby. They all had wonderful tales to tell and fascinating facts to give.
The mixture of Docudrama and Documentary didn’t work for me and whilst I didn’t mind Paul Kaye as Pratchett I’d rather we had been given a straight Documentary or a straight Docudrama. I think the BBC could make a really wonderful show about the life of Terry Pratchett and even bring to life some of his creations in a most wonderful way but it didn’t really work, it made it disjointed and didn’t add anything to the over all story. You felt like you wanted to hear more of what other people had to say rather then Paul Kaye wittering on, whilst no doubt the words he was wittering would be Terry’s own words taken from the work Terry and Rob were doing for his autobiography before he died it just really didn’t need to be there. I’d rather more time be given to fans and the people who knew him best. Paul Kaye ended up at best being a rather out of place narrator rather then bringing the great man back to life. That being said if down the line the BBC wanted to make something like Doctor Who’s Adventure in Time and Space I wouldn’t say no to Kaye returning to bring him to life but it didn’t work in this.
It was a lovely way to remember a man that brought happiness to a lot of people. It had the perfect tone to it too, it was upbeat and full of hope. It was sad, of course it was sad, thinking that we’d never read another story by the man and having to remember he was no longer with us, but at the same time it reminded me that we always have him here with us. He’s left such a big body of work full of wonderful characters and a amazing world but most importantly that little bit of anger that he had inside himself at people who told him he’d never be anything and everything else that means he’s still with us and will be with new fans in the future.
He once wrote that as long as a name is spoken that person is never truly dead. It spawned the #SpeakHisName hashtag after he died but the books he’s left behind him will mean his name will live on forever.
One of the best lines in the show was “Contained in all that literature was all the friends I’d ever need.” It was talking about when Terry had started working in a library and reading everything and anything he could get his hands on. I tweeted that quote along with the small message of how true it was and how the Discworld had given me some of the best friends I’d ever had and I mean that very much. Like the girl who said Discworld had saved her life when she was younger it saved mine. Being alone most of my life meant I had no where to go when things went wrong for me but the adventures of people like Samuel Vimes, the man who grew up in a gutter and became one of the most important men in the whole of Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind, a coward who managed to be the hero when the world needed one even if he spent most of the time running away, Twoflower, who would see the beauty in even the most grungy of places, Esk, who stood up to the sexist view that women couldn’t be wizards…. I could go on but those characters showed me that I had to be brave and strong but reminded me I was human and could get it wrong and be stubborn at the same time. He made characters that talked to the people reading it and truly became your friend.
As for the critic from way back when who insulted his ability to write women characters I have to laugh, the woman obviously never read a single book by this man who wrote such wonderful women.
I miss his work greatly but he’ll always be here for everyone. This show gave us a insight into a man who poured his whole life into a series of books that have gone on to bring millions of people together, made us laugh and cry and saved people’s lives. If you didn’t see it I’d recommend catching it on iPlayer.