1 9 8 2 (UK)
1 x 30 minute episode
In this animated version of the best-selling book by Raymond Briggs, a young boy builds a snowman on Christmas Eve that comes to life and takes him on a journey through the sky to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas and for a few hours of adventure before dawn breaks.
Always adept at switching between roles, in 1982 chameleonic rock star David Bowie proved himself quite at home with the cosy British Christmas, releasing both his hit version of Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby and appearing as the grown-up, live-action narrator in the animated TV version of Raymond Briggs’ children’s book The Snowman.
Appearing with bleached blonde hair and in a woolly Christmas jumper, he climbs up into an attic he says is “full of memories” to begin telling the story of his childhood adventures.
For a generation of kids, this short but vivid prologue would be their first exposure to one of rock’s most brilliant figures.
The animated story was produced for Channel 4 by TVC, who 15 years earlier made Yellow Submarine.
The programme aired on Christmas Eve 1982 at 6:15 pm. It was awarded the Children’s Programme Entertainment/Drama Award at the 1983 BAFTAs and has been repeated on television in the UK every year since (with the exception of 1984).
A belated sequel was released in 2012 entitled The Snowman and The Snowdog.