Eric Idle Did Discworld II's Memorable "That's Death" Song For Free 1

The late Terry Pratchett's Discworld series turned 40 at the close of 2023, and there's been an increased amount of interest in the comedic fantasy novel series as a result.

We recently spoke to Gregg Barnett, the designer of the Discworld video games, and he delivered a wealth of information on their development – including the news that Discworld II's iconic "That's Death" song was created by Eric Idle (who also voiced prognostic Rincewind) for nothing.

Barnett explains that the origins of the song sprang from a gag which would reference another famous Idle composition – Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, from the movie Monty Python and The Life of Brian.

"I had a scene with Eric on the cross as 'Bone Idle'," says Barnett. "I remember getting to that part and Eric saying, ‘You’re causing me childhood trauma. They used to call me bone idle at school’. I actually asked him whether he could just do another version of Bright Side of Life but make it 'Look on the Bright Side of Death' because I was obviously trying to play around with those words."

Idle was initially receptive to the idea but came back with something different. "He said, ‘Yeah, maybe,’ and he went away," continues Barnett. "He came back to me and said, ‘Look, I don't want to collaborate. I'll do something for free. I’m in Las Vegas, and I’ve got some mates who are the best jazz musicians in the world. We’ve all agreed we’re going to spend a few days and just have a great time and do something and I’ll give it to you at the end. If you’re happy, you can use it. We’re not going to charge you anything for it.’ And he came back, and it was good, and so we then took it, and we animated it where we had the band and death and everything, and the skeleton singers and skeleton chorus girls and whatever."

Discworld 2 was followed by Discworld Noir, but we've sadly not seen any other Discworld video games since then – although Barnett thinks that could happen, and we could also see remasters of the original trilogy before long.

[source News: Interview: "John Cleese Told Us To F**k Off" - The Inside Story Of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Games]