There’s a tendency among some fans to look down their noses at Terry Pratchett’s stories that aren’t set in the Discworld, with the exception of Good Omens, particularly those which were aimed directly at children (and even the younger-aimed Discworld stories are somehow seen as “not proper”). This is an error, partly because Pratchett’s work functions on multiple levels, but mainly because you’re missing out on some of his funniest writing.
That transfers in this 1992 adaptation by Cosgrove Hall, which used Claymation to bring the nomes to life, interacting occasionally with live-action humans. The movie-length story – presented here in its original thirteen ten-minute episode form – can be seen as a straightforward adventure, or as a satire on organised religion and those who are wilfully blind to what’s going on around them. The spelling of nome, by the way, isn’t a Pratchett innovation: the underground dweller in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books were spelled this way too (even if later additions to their saga reverted to the more common spelling).
Sir Michael Hordern headlines the voice cast, with Joe McGann as the lead nome, Masklin. The music by Colin Towns is annoyingly catchy, but entirely appropriate. The digitally cleaned up version looks good, if rather dark at times, but there are no extras.
Verdict: A shame that Cosgrove Hall didn’t continue with the rest of Pratchett’s Bromeliad saga, but this is a fun addition to the ranks of Pratchett adaptations. 7/10
Paul Simpson (not the one to whom the last episode is dedicated!)