Antichrist In The UK
Release Date: 15 January
195 minutes | CD Director: Dirk Maggs Cast: Peter Serafinowicz, Mark Heap, Colin Morgan, Charlotte Ritchie Publisher: BBC Audio
It’s a tricky business,
bringing a much- loved book to life on screen or radio. Teasing out the essence of the story while keeping what made it great and not alienating the fans… it’s a difficult balance, and one we’re not sure this Radio Four adaptation of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s 1990 novel completely achieves.
Armageddon is approaching, and the Antichrist is in the world – though no one knows exactly where he is. The angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley are meant to help hurry things along, but they’ve grown to quite like this world, so are secretly trying to prevent armageddon without alerting their superiors. Predicting everything that’s to happen along the way is The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch, a handy if opaque guide to events by a psychic 17th century witch.
It’s a lot to cram in, and the adaptation copes with this by following the book very closely – there’s not much left out, and the precise, witty notes and descriptions are often turned verbatim into dialogue, not always successfully. The voice cast is great: Peter Serafinowicz is pitch perfect as Crowley, though Mark Heap is just a tad too fussy as Aziraphale. Clive Russell as Shadwell and Phil Davis as Hastur stand out, and a first episode cameo from the authors is a treat.
This is a good adaptation of a great book. It’s just a shame it didn’t have the confidence to stamp more of its own personality on the source material. Rhian Drinkwater