The Snowman™ – Film
In 1982, Raymond Briggs’ classic picturebook, The Snowman was adapted as a 26-minute animated film by TVC; at the time the UK’s longest established animation studio, under the direction of Dianne Jackson. Having spotted the potential for creating an unique and groundbreaking animation, John Coates, instructed two trusted assistant animators, Hilary Audus and Joanna Harrison, to go and buy a dozen copies of the book for the purpose of dissecting it and storyboarding 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.
The Snowman was first shown on 26 December 1982 and has since been shown every year on Channel 4.
The Snowman™ – Music
In keeping with the book, the film of The Snowman is wordless and free of dialogue, except for the now iconic, “Walking in the Air” which features as part of a now timeless musical score.
Both song and score were written and composed by Howard Blake, who had in fact written the melody some years before having been inspired by a walk on a Cornish beach.
The score for the film was originally performed by the Sinfonia of London, with ‘Walking in the Air’ being sung in the film by chorister Peter Auty, often cited as a famous case of mistaken identity, as three years later the song was famously re-recorded by Welsh chorister Aled Jones in a single which reached number 5 in the UK charts.