Benedict Cumberbatch to play Satan in Neil Gaiman fantasy series Good Omens

Sherlock star will voice a ‘giant animated Satan’ in the drama, which will also feature David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Frances McDormand

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to follow up his role as Brexit architect Dominic Cummings by playing another famously contentious figure. The Sherlock star will appear as Satan in Good Omens, Amazon and the BBC’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s fantasy novel, which is due to air in May.

Cumberbatch’s involvement was revealed during a Television Critics Association panel for the series, which stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen as a demon and an angel who join forces to save the Earth. The Sherlock star will face off against Frances McDormand, who will play God in the show, while Jon Hamm, Miranda Richardson and Jack Whitehall will also star.

Announcing the news, executive producers Gaiman and Douglas Mackinnon, joked that they had found a “young British actor” who required a lot of direction. “He took a lot of work. He was useless at the beginning,” Mackinnon said.

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens. Photograph: Amazon Prime Video/PA

“We suddenly realised that we have Satan turning up in episode six, and we needed somebody who could actually give Frances McDormand a run for her money,” Gaiman added.

Cumberbatch’s most recent on-screen appearance was as Cummings in Brexit: the Uncivil War, a Channel 4 drama about the strategising behind the Remain and Leave campaigns during the 2016 EU Referendum. In Good Omens the actor, who rose to international prominence with his performance in the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes update, will play what Gaiman described as “a giant, animated Satan” who stands “400 foot high”.

A collaboration between Gaiman and Pratchett, who died in 2015, Good Omens was first released in 1990. A film adaptation of the novel was planned in 2002, with Terry Gilliam attached to direct, but never went into production. Gaiman began working on a TV adaptation in 2016 after receiving a posthumous letter from Pratchett urging him to bring the series to the screen.

Good Omens debuts on 31 May on Amazon Prime, with all six episodes appearing in one go. The series will then appear on BBC Two later in 2019.


Gwilym Mumford

The GuardianTramp

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