I remember that winter,
— Older James (Opening Narration)
This article is about the 1982 TV special. For other uses of The Snowman, see the disambig page.
The Snowman is a 27-minute non-verbal animated special produced by Dianne Jackson for the fledgling Channel 4, based on a 1978 illustrated children's book by English author Raymond Briggs. It was first shown on Channel 4 on Boxing Day 1982 and was an immediate success. It was officially selected as one out of the 63 shorts in the 1983 Annecy Festival, won a BAFTA and nominated for the U.S. Oscar® for Animated Short Film. It has been shown every year since and has become a part of British & international Christmas popular culture.
Like the book, the film is non-verbal, as the film also does except for the introduction and the song "Walking in the Air". The story is told through picture, action & music. It was scored by Howard Blake who wrote both music and lyrics of the song and also composed and conducted the complete orchestral score for the film with his own orchestra, the Sinfonia of London. "Walking in the Air", however, was written specially for it and, uncreditly, performed by a St Paul's Cathedral choirboy, Peter Auty.
In a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000, voted for by industry professionals, the film was placed 71st. It was voted 4th in UKTV Gold's Greatest TV Christmas Moments.
The films begins at a house in the English countryside where a young boy named James wakes up on Christmas Eve to see it snowing outside. He quickly gets changed a goes to play in the snow. He eventually decides to make a snowman and uses coal, a tangerine and a hat and scarf to complete it. After completing the snowman, James is called into the house by his mother before going to bed.
James later wakes up and goes downstairs to check on his snowman. On the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life and is invited into the house by James. The snowman uses different fruit for a nose before trying on clothes from James' parents wardrobe. The pair then go to James' room before going outside and ride on James' father's motorbike through a forest. They then return to the house and go into the garage where the snowman cools off in a large freezer in there. The snoman pulls out a box from the freezer with a snowy scene on it. He goes back outside and looks to the sky before taking James' hand and taking off into the skies.
The pair fly over other houses and Brighton pier before finally arriving at The North Pole where they attend a snowman party hosted by Father Christmas. James meets Father Christmas' reindeer before being given a present which upon being unwrapped, is revealed to be a snowman scarf. The snowman signals to James that it is time to go home.
The pair return to James' house where they have a farewell hug before James goes back to bed.
In the morning, James wakes up and goes outside only to find that the snowman has melted. He then takes out his scarf from his dressing gown pocket and kneels down and mourns his friend.
- "Walking in the Air (Theme from The Snowman)"
All uncredited; Introductions Only.
|Reymond Briggs||Original Brocadcast/U.S. home media versions||Older James (Narration)|
|David Bowie||Palace Video release||Older James (Live-action)|
|Mel Smith||20th Anniversary (2002)||Father Christmas|
On the UK DVD releases, there's the opinional track where Father Christmas narrates throughout the special.
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