Terry Pratchett died and we had no words

An odd day today. Terry Pratchett died. I’m not a fan myself – never read one of his books – but my sister has been an avid reader over the years and it was obvious from the outpouring on social media what an amazing figure he had been for a lot of my friends.

And we had to do something on UsVsTh3m. Of course we did. But what?

In the end we did this.


[And I had to hit the CMS with spanners to make it accept an empty article with no byline – bloody information architects and database admins somewhere]

There’s loads of articles out there about Terry Pratchett charting the best Twitter reactions and the greatest quotes in his books and “here is an obituary we prepared earlier” and all that, but today on our desk we all felt a bit sad and that seemed the best way to mark it without trying to cash-in.

Like having a flag half-mast on the homepage.

It’s clearly not the way you’d run a newsdesk which wants to squeeze every pip out of every story, but it felt on-brand for UsVsTh3m to just leave it blank.

And personally, with Pratchett’s death and Leonard Nimoy only recently departed, this has made me realise how deeply Tom Baker’s death is going to affect me.

So here’s the thing I’ve taken from his death today.

If you love something or someone, write about it while they are alive and have a chance to see it. I’m sure Rik Mayall would have been taken aback at just how much he was loved, and I wish I’d written something in praise of the wonderful Elisabeth Sladen before she died rather than after it.

Love your idols, hold them close, and don’t wait until they die before you tell the world how important they were to you.

Also, I don’t care what Pratchett wrote: Death is a bastard.