TV programme reveals moment when Terry Pratchett realised he was 'dead'

Author Terry Pratchett described the moment he felt he had “died” in an unfinished autobiography that has been adapted into a television docudrama.

The Discworld novelist died in March 2015 at the age of 66 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, which he wrote about in the notes for his life story which he did not finish.

His long-term assistant Rob Wilkins appears in the BBC programme Terry Pratchett: Back In Black, which airs next week, talking about the moment in 2007 when the writer realised his career could be over.

According to The Times, Wilkins says in the programme: “We had had a good day working on the biography and he said to me: ‘Rob, Terry Pratchett is dead’.

“Completely out of the blue. I said: ‘Terry look at the words you have written today. It is fantastic’.

“And he said: ‘No, no, Terry Pratchett is dead’.”

He added that Pratchett had at one point come into his office and said: “The S on my keyboard has gone … Come on, what have you done with it?”

Pratchett managed to finish seven more books even after Alzheimer’s set in and Wilkins talked about his determination to continue.

He said: “He could see how it was affecting him, how it was tripping him up and I knew we were up against it for time.

“We had to get the words down and with that white heat, with that white anger driving him to write seven whole novels through the haze of Alzheimer’s.”

Pratchett’s unfinished autobiography includes his notes on how it feels to live with Alzheimer’s.

He wrote: “On the first day of my journalistic career I saw my first corpse, some unfortunate chap fell down a hole in a farm and drowned in pig s**t.

“All I can say is that, compared with his horrific demise, Alzheimer’s is a walk in the park. Except with Alzheimer’s my park keeps changing.

“The trees get up and walk over there, the benches go missing and the paths seem to be unwinding into particularly vindictive serpents.”

He added: “I always dreamt that when I died I would be sat in a deckchair with a glass of brandy listening to Thomas Tallis on the iPod.

“But I had Alzheimer’s, so I forgot all about that.”

Terry Pratchett: Back In Black is on BBC2 on February 11.

More in this Section

Chrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jared Leto among fans of Tiger KingChrissy Teigen, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jared Leto among fans of Tiger King

John Legend on his concerns about his children growing up in a ‘rarefied space’John Legend on his concerns about his children growing up in a ‘rarefied space’

Matt Lucas to release Baked Potato Song to raise money for FeedNHS campaignMatt Lucas to release Baked Potato Song to raise money for FeedNHS campaign

Anita Rani: People think it is OK to imitate Indian accent in front of meAnita Rani: People think it is OK to imitate Indian accent in front of me


Lifestyle

Interiors voyeurism will never go out of style – not least when we’re all confined to barracks and eyeing up neglected corners of our own residences that could do with TLC.Home of the Year: Three doors swing open tonight to offer us a welcome distraction

With (hopefully) better weather on the way along with the longer evenings, gardening and nature offer a nice distraction to the news cycle.Podcast Corner: Green fingers and creature comforts

From Kaia Gerber to Oprah Winfrey, why not let a famous face choose your next read?The 4 best celebrity book clubs to virtually join

The tips and home treatments to stop your skin from backsliding.The Skin Nerd: How can I maintain my skin results at home?

More From The Irish Examiner