Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen & Milkmen
Monday, BBC Two, 9pm
Forty years ago, Raymond Briggs used a pot of coloured pencil crayons to create The Snowman, a wordless book of illustrations that would go on to inspire the Channel 4 film. His timeless story of the friendship between a young boy and a snowman continues to delight generation after generation with its effortless blend of warmth, humour and sadness.
Before thinking up that instant classic, Briggs had created Father Christmas (1973) and its sequel Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (1975). The third of his early “comics” was Fungus the Bogeyman (1977), which chronicled one day in the life of a working-class Bogeyman with the mundane job of scaring human beings.
On Christmas Eve 2012, the 30th anniversary of the original Snowman film was marked by a sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog, which, like its predecessor, instantly captured the nation’s hearts.
This playful, moving and often emotional portrait of the Wimbledon-born son of a milkman and a former lady’s maid is told through interviews with Briggs, specially commissioned illustrations by Chris Riddell and contributions from friends, colleagues and admirers, including Academy Award-winning animator, Nick Park, actor, Andy Serkis, and cartoonists, Steve Bell and Posy Simmons.
As Park says in the film, he couldn’t imagine Wallace and Gromit without the experience of reading Briggs’ books.
In the same way, millions of us couldn’t picture a Christmas without The Snowman and, although we have to wait another year to watch it on TV again, here is a chance to pay homage to the genius who dreamt up a Christmas tradition.