BBC Radio 4 Brings Good Omens to Life

Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap bring a voice to the unlikely friendship between a demon and an angel for BBC Radio 4’s series Good Omens. Image: BBC Radio 4.

Since Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett first released their comic novel, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, I’ve read it twice, passed it on the friends and family, and waited patiently for a movie adaptation.

More than 20 years since the 1990 comic fantasy collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett hit bookshelves, it gets its first dramatization via radio theater. Image: Amazon.

This “switched-at-birth” tale is of a botched apocalypse, thanks to an evil-yet-inept order of nuns grabbing the wrong child they were supposed to raise to be the Antichrist. Instead, they are training a “normal” little boy and the Antichrist is living a happy, normal life with another family. While the rest of the world gears up for the war of End Times, angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, both of whom are happy with their situation on Earth, team up to thwart the plan.

Well, no movie is in sight yet, but BBC’s Radio 4 has created a six-part radio adaptation of the novel, with Peter Serafinowicz (Guardians of the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead) and Mark Heap (The Indian Doctor, Spy) as the book’s fan-favorite characters, Crowley and Aziraphale, respectively.

Other notable cast includes Colin Morgan (Merlin), Louise Brealey (Sherlock), and Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers).

The presentation follows up last year’s successful radio theater production of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, also directed by Maggs and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Natalie Dormer, and James McAvoy.

Gaiman himself said in an interview with BBC’s online news magazine, a radio series of Good Omens became inevitable, especially after the success of Neverwhere, as a Good Omens film “never quite happened.” Director and Monty Python alumnus Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits) worked hard to make it happen, though. Gaiman added, “Johnny Depp would have made a fine Crowley.”

Good Omens runs live on BBC Radio 4 from December 22-27, 2014, but listeners worldwide can catch up with it through the month of January via the BBC iPlayer.

Lisa Kay Tate is a veteran feature writer with 20 years experience in newspaper, magazine and freelance writing. In addition to serving as Associate Editor for her local arts and entertainment guide, El Paso Scene, she has been a regular contributor to the site and maintains her own blogsite at She and her husband, writer/photographer Rick, live on the edge of "New Texico" where they keep busy raising their two geeklings and sharing space with their dog, Sirius Black, and cat, Loki.