Non-Fiction Reviews

The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion
Your Guide to Armageddon
and the series based on the bestselling novel
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

(2019) Matt Whyman, Headline, £25, hrdbk, 320pp, ISBN 978-1-472-25829-8


The ultimate TV companion book to Good Omens, a massive new television launch on Amazon Prime Video and the BBC, written and show-run by Neil Gaiman and adapted from the internationally beloved novel by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

'[It was] absurdly good fun...Terry charged Neil with getting it made, almost as his deathbed wish, so it's a real labour of love' - David Tennant

In the beginning there was a book written by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman about the forces of good and evil coming together to prevent the apocalypse, scheduled to happen on a Saturday just after tea.

Now, that internationally beloved novel has been transformed into six hour-long episodes of some of the most creative and ambitious television ever made. Written and show-run by Neil Gaiman and directed by Douglas Mackinnon, this BBC Studios creation brings Good Omens spectacularly to life, through a cast that includes David Tennant, Michael Sheen,Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson, Josie Lawrence, Derek Jacobi, Nick Offerman, Jack Whitehall and Adria Arjona.

If reading the source novel wasn’t enough.  If watching the six-part TV series wasn’t enough.  If you have even read Neil Gaiman’s script book and you are still hungry for more Good Omens “stuff”, then fear not, Good Omens fans, because here you have “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Making of the Good Omens TV Series, But Were Afraid to Ask”, and also an opportunity to drool over many behind the scenes photographs in a door-stopper of a book assembled by author Matt Wyman.  Given the heavy involvement of Neil Gaiman in adapting the book he co-wrote with the late Sir Terry Pratchett, for the small screen, and the great cast playing the characters then this is practically a book that can write itself considering all the candid behind-the-scenes photos that interrupt the text throughout.

What we have here is a book of two halves, but not in two distinct sections. What that means is that one half is devoted to the TV show - its origins as a novel and time spent in development hell, which seems to be worse than actual Hell, right through the major events and locations in the TV series such as banishment from the Garden of Eden , Hogback Wood, a certain bookshop belonging to an angel the powers at be think has “gone native”, details about costumes and set designs, character sketches, etc, etc; while the other half is interspersed between these chapters with a series of interviews starting with Michael Sheen who plays the angel, Aziraphele; David Tennent who plays the demon, Crowley, right through the major characters in the story to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (these days Pestilence has been replaced by Pollution and Famine delights in running high class restaurants where meals cost an arm and a leg but the food is all froth and foam and his patrons are starving themselves to death by eating there); and last, but not least, The International Express Man who has the very important task of delivering the Horsemen their essential “stuff”.

All in all, if you loved the book and the TV series, then your coffee table needs to be weighed down by this mighty, meaty tome.

Ian Hunter


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