by Vadim Jean



252pp/20.00/December 2006

Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay
Cover by Paul Kidby

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

Terry Pratchett first published his satirical look on Christmas, Hogfather, in 1996. The twentieth Discworld novel (there are now thirty-three), has now been made into a two part live-action film for Sky television.  Not exactly an introduction to the series, Hogfather does have the strength of being a satire on Christmas and can therefore be released to tie in to the holiday.  In addition, Vadim Jean, the screenwriter of the show, has released Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay to coincide with the film's television debut.

While the meat of the book is the screenplay, which generally follows Pratchett's novel closely, the added value is in the lavish illustrations throughout the book.  For the most part photographs from the production, these reproduce very well on the high gloss paper stock used in the book.  If there is one weakness, it is that while the pictures are included near the text which refers to them, none of them have captions to provide additional information.

In addition to the photographs taken from what was televised, there are numerous sketches of sets, perhaps most notable the sketch of the tooth fairy's castle that appears on page 84 and the photographic representation on the opposite page. Other sketches give an indication of the original appears of characters, which may be compared to their photos scattered throughout the book.

It is clear that the team that created the film and this book are familiar with Pratchett's works and the illustrations which have graced their covers over the years, as the appearance of characters and settings seem familiar, even though this is the first time they've appeared on the screen.  The book serves, therefore, as a reintroduction to many of the people and places which Pratchett has used over the years, ranging from Death to the Wizards of Unseen University.

Aside from the text of the screenplay and the illustrations, the book contains two forewards, one by Pratchett and one by Jean.  Pratchett's, naturally enough, talks about how much the production mirrors his imagination and how grateful he is that it was finally brought to the screen.  Jean talks about his introduction to Pratchett's works and the path that took him to a production of Hogfather (and, dare one hope, additional Discworld films).  There is also an afterword by the producers, Ron Brown and Ian Sharples, in which they offer thanks to the people who made the film possible. Finally, there is a cast listing, although it would have been nice if the actors' names could have accompanied their images throughout the book. 

Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay doesn't really add anything to either Pratchett's original novel or the Sky television series.  It is, however, a lavish and enticing addition for those who have enjoyed Pratchett's tale of the Hogfather in either medium.  The book provides a wonderful, fully illustrated gateway onto the Disc whenever desired.

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