I once met Raymond Briggs, quite by accident. I was in Selfridges and he was there signing books. I had to get one. Mr Briggs was just as you would expect.
Briggs has created some of the, I was going to say best loved but perhaps that’s not quite right for some of them, highly regarded illustrated books. Fungus the Bogeyman, When the Wind Blows, Ether and Ernest and Father Christmas. And, of course, in 1978, The Snowman.
If you haven’t read the book, you should. I am sure you will know of the film.
It’s a story of a boy who creates, out of boredom, a large snowman. The snowman comes alive, and they have some adventures. Am not going to say any more, you either know it or should, so no spoilers. But it’s a sad and rather profound little tale, and the famous song, which gets many people going yuck, has a very different context within the film, as you will know, or should see.
The property was nabbed by TVC London (TV Cartoons) and it was turned into a 30 minute animated film with music by Howard Blake (no speech of course) and that famous song. It was shown on UK Channel 4 in 1982 and has been shown every year since.
I remember going to the NFT to hear John Coates (director), Dianne Jackson (director), Mr Blake and others talking about their work. Was a wonderful evening.
It has also been turned into a ballet, a video game, merchandise, soft toys and more.
There has also been a sequel in 2012. If you are a Snowman fan, do try to catch it. It tries very hard to be in the same spirit of the original film, and mostly succeeds.
The original has flaws but you can overlook them. It matches very well the style of the original book. And Union Chapel is doing two shows tomorrow (Sunday) with live music. I would say do not miss, except it is sold out.
Raymond Briggs died in August 2022.