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   "The Snowman" - walking in the air... again  (Snowman Enterprises for Channel 4)
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  The Snowman - walking again!   (23.12
.11)
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   Hard to believe it's been twenty-nine years since The Snowman
   premiered on Channel4. TVC's adaptation of Raymond Briggs'
   picturebook first aired in December 1982 and it feels like it's
   been broadcast every year since. It remains precious and
   untouchable to so many of us. Viewing the film has become
   something of a Christmas tradition here in the UK. America
   has those Rankin Bass creations and Charlie Brown, whilst
   we have "The Snowman". The film and the characters have
   become ubiquitous in our High Street stores and its story
   and that song lovingly lampooned and referenced across all
   media too. This year, it even features in a jolly Argos
   advertisement...

   Oh, did you notice the use of the word "untouchable", back there?
   It's there for a reason. You see on top of all that affection and
   emotional connection and the industry plaudits, "The Snowman"
   was and still is a tremendous cash cow for everyone associated  
   with the production. It made money. And it continues to make 
   money. And money talks. Which is why, for every year of those
   same three decades, there's been lots of talk about the potential
   for a sequel to the film. And whilst, in the past, such talk was
   consistently thwarted and rejected and postponed, this year,
   as the film closes in on its thirtieth anniversary milestone,
   those frozen barriers have finally melted.

   So at last we come to today's Big News Story. And it's this:
   We're geting another Snowman story - not a remake, as that news
   article implies, but a whole new winter story, with a new boy and
   Snowdog and a flight sequence taking in the likes of The London Eye.
   There'll be a brand new song to accompany it too. The new film is
   being produced by Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding of Lupus Films
   at a cost of 2m. They're putting together a 45-strong production
   team which will include the likes of Hilary Audus and Joanna 
   Harrision. The theory is, thirty years is a long time, and it's silly
   not to to attempt another one. But many folks will surely
   disagree with them."The Snowmen" is quite perfect as it is,
   thank you very much. It was snowy lightning in a bottle, it doesn't
   need a companion piece at all...

   Yes, as you can imagine, it's all kicked off around the web, and
   social media, with folks decrying the project before it's even out of
   the starting blocks.

   So what does The Hound think? - Well, it's a very brave move.
   Tinkering with "The Snowman" really is playing with fire. The
   risks are huge. But they've got the right team, and just as
   importantly, they have the author's blessing. Here's Raymond
   Briggs quoted in that Guardian article:

   "I am keeping a polite distance. I haven't written the
   new story. I was against making a new version for
   years and refused to agree. But there has been such
   a huge elapse of time, 30 years, a lot of people have
   died in that time..."

   And this:


   "An awful lot of the old team are being reassembled to
    make it, that is good. I am not grumpy at all about it."


   So if he's not grumpy, we shouldn't be either. And when one takes
   a step back and looks at the project again, it's easy to see how
   there might be other stories still to tell here... other Snowmen
   around the world... boys and girls everywhere who might have their
   own special Christmas encounter...

   If there's one big issue to clear, it's that the original story was
   presented to us as a very personal account from the author's past.
   It was shared with us, a precious memory, unique to him. If
   there are other stories out there, the magic diminishes.

   Phew-ee! - You don't envy the creative team on this one. There's
   a feeling they'll be damned, either way. But this commentator
   wishes them the very best luck in the world. He wants to
   believe, and we all know, if you believe hard enough wishes
   can come true.

   Goodness, it's going to be fascinating to see exactly how the film
   shapes up, and how it's received by the industry, critics and the
   public alike. We'll get to see it next Christmas, when it screens
   as part of a season of programming to celebrate Channel 4's 30th
   anniversary. Right here, right now, however, there's the original film
   of  "The Snowman", still in singular form, and just as wonderful
   as ever. It airs on Channel 4, at 2.30pm, on Christmas Day....
   
        
                                    More: Lupus Films  The Snowman

 


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