The Box: Please Don't Mention the S-Word

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), December 21, 2003 | Go to article overview

The Box: Please Don't Mention the S-Word


Byline: NEIL BONNER

THE Snowman has been a permanent fixture in the Christmas TV schedules for the past 21 years.

But while families all over Britain will be eagerly glued to their screens to watch the enchanting story on Channel 4 this Christmas Eve, one person who definitely won't be tuning in will be its author, Raymond Briggs.

'I have no desire to see it again,' says the 69-year-old writer and illustrator. 'What's the point? I know what happens!

'I sometimes pretend that I am excited at the prospect of seeing it again and say 'Ah, look, it will be on in ten minutes, now gather round.' I just do it as a joke.'

Channel 4 is preceding its screening of The Snowman with Raymond's other classic animated Christmas film, The Bear.

But it is TheSnowmanwhich has brought Raymond huge international success -although he often wishes people would talk to him about other aspects of his varied work.

'Sometimes when journalists interview me, I say to them: 'I hope you are not going to mention the S-word. But, somehow, The Snowman invariably creeps into the conversation.

'I must admit, I regard it as something of a millstone.'

Which is probably why The Snowman is not included on The SpokenWord,anew British Library CD featuring well-known childrens' writers reading some of their most famous works. Instead, Briggs has contributed a story called Jim and the Beanstalk.

But he will be forever linked with The Snowman, merchandise for which seems to be in every shop you enter. So what does he think of it?

'Some of it I don't approve of,' he winces. 'When they brought out Snowman toilet paper, I thought that was just awful. …

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