The History of The Snowman Books

Following the release of our magical new Christmas film, we’re taking a look back through the history of the classic tale of The Snowman™, as the original picture book approaches its 40th anniversary in 2018.

Date
November 7th 2017
The man behind the charming ‘The Snowman’ picture book was Raymond Briggs. Born in London in 1934, he had a passion and flare for illustration, and began winning acclaim as a children’s book illustrator after teaching illustration at Brighton College of Art in the 60s. In 1966, he illustrated an award-winning book of nursery rhymes, and has since become one of the most innovative and popular author-illustrators of all time.
 
1978 – Where it all began.
 
Briggs has written and illustrated a treasure trove of work, including the impressively successful children's strip illustration books, ‘Father Christmas’ (1973) and ‘Ethel & Ernest’ (1998), but it was ‘The Snowman’, first published in 1978, that touched the hearts of the entire nation.
 
The original picture book has now been translated into 15 languages and adapted into an animation for Channel 4, stage shows and live events. It is one of the world’s most popular children’s books, selling in excess of eight million copies worldwide.
 
1982 – The TV debut.
 
After being adapted for the screen in 1982, the Oscar-nominated ‘The Snowman’ animation has become a much-loved Christmas favourite, lighting up television screens every year since its debut. After the initial showing on Channel 4, an alternative beginning was produced for American television, featuring the late David Bowie. David begins to tell the story of 'The Snowman' as if he was the boy in the film, and recites a different introduction for the US audience to the one Raymond Briggs originally narrated.
 
2012 – The return of The Snowman.
 
In 2012, the legacy continued when 'The Snowman' was joined by man’s best friend, 'The Snowdog' in an animation created in partnership with Snowman Enterprises Ltd (a division of Penguin Ventures) and Lupus Films. Audiences around the world were delighted with the next part of the beloved Christmas tale. 'The Snowman and The Snowdog', which premiered on Christmas Eve in 2012, found a firm place in the hearts of a new generation, with combined viewing figures of a grand 3.2 million.
 
2016 – Injecting a bit of Barbour magic.
 
Putting wholesome British tradition at the heart of our 2016 Christmas film, we partnered with Snowman Enterprises Ltd to create the first ever bespoke addition to  the much-loved ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ film. The tale was the perfect mix of heritage and nostalgia, following The Snowman and the Snowdog, and a grown-up Billy, as they take a trip down memory lane in preparation to celebrate a traditional Barbour Christmas.
 
2017 –The next chapter.
 
Almost 40 years on from the original 1982 film, we continue the charming story with an older Billy and his dog, at another wonderful stage in their lives. 2017 also marked the introduction of Billy’s wife and daughter, as the whole family receives a gift on Christmas Day they’ll always remember.
 
We had the pleasure of working on our latest film with very talented director Robin Shaw, an award-winning animator, illustrator and director, who collaborated with Raymond Briggs on the original 'The Snowman' film and also worked on the sequel, 'The Snowman and The Snowdog'. And together with Snowman Enterprises Ltd and the expert designers and animators at Lupus Films, we created the next chapter for the millions of fans of this heart-melting, wintery, Christmas tale.
 
But it doesn’t end there. Keep your eyes peeled for more Snowman and Snowdog fun on our blog, including a fantastic competition, the making-of film, meeting the characters and more.
 
The Snowman™ and The Snowdog’© Snowdog Enterprises Ltd 2014 THE SNOWMAN™ Snowman Enterprises Limited ‘The Snowman’ by Raymond Briggs is published by Puffin.