In 1982, Raymond Briggs’ classic, The Snowman was adapted as a 26-minute animated film by the team at TVC; the UK’s longest established animation studio, under the direction of Dianne Jackson. Having spotted the potential for creating an animation TVC’s owner, John Coates, instructed two of assistant animators, Hilary Audus and Joanna Harrison to go and buy a dozen copies of the book and start cutting it up to make the very first animatic.
This quickly turned into a hand-drawn animation bible which became the template for the final film. John Coates passion for bringing the book to the screen quickly caught the attention of Sir Jeremy Issacs, former Chief Executive of Channel 4 who believed that it would be a fantastic piece for the channel and stand out from the rest of its schedule. It was first shown on 26 December 1982 and has since been shown every year on Channel 4.
Like the book, the film is wordless except for the song “Walking in the Air”
which along with the musical score for the whole film was written and composed by Howard Blake who had in fact written the melody some years before inspired by a walk on a Cornish beach.