The Hound says "Welcome to Toonhound!" TheHound - an irregular round up of toon news and chatter from the uk...cartoon news interviews and views from the UK!  Union Jack


  british toon
  news & chatter
  animated films
  & shorts

  animated series

  animation studios

  & people

  string, hand
  & finger puppets

  characters, strips
  & comic books

  British animators
  & illustrators


Toonhound presents...





 Toonhound & Cookie Law



Toonhound's news pages!
toon news

older news



   John Coates: 1927-2012 - image from "The Snowman" (TVC London / Snowman Enterprises)
   John Coates: 1927-2012    (21.09.12

   No, no, no. This wasn't the way it was supposed to work out.
   John Coates was going to be standing proudly with his TVC team
   in the run up to Christmas, accepting the plaudits of the nation for
   having brought us The Snowman thirty years ago. And here, in the
   film's big anniversary year, he was going to introduce us to a
   triumphant companion. "The Snowman and the Snowdog" was
   going to surprise and delight us, and move us to tears just like
   that first extraordinary film...

   Instead, we find ourselves weeping for the loss of yet another
   animation legend, because the mastermind behind TVC, the man
   who brought us so many classic productions, passed away
   this week. John Coates was 84, but still going strong, shepherding
   that aforementioned film through to its completion, and
   moving a much-anticipated adaptation of Raymond Briggs'
   "Ethel & Ernest" towards the cameras. His loss is unbearably
   untimely, but at that the same time, it's both poignant and
   pertinent that he was once again immersed in the animated
   worlds of that much-revered artist and author.
   Something about John Coates and Raymond Briggs just seemed
   to click. "The Snowman", "Father Christmas", "The Bear", "When
   the Wind Blows" - these films are note-perfect adaptations, adroitly
   capturing the unique mood and texture of the original storybook
   panels. They have bucketloads of heart and passion, painfully
   dark at times, heartbreaking and soaring at others. And of course,
   "The Snowman"s worldwide success practically defined a new
   genre for UK animation, that of the precision-crafted, half-hour

   Ah, yes, "The Snowman". It's been ever-present here in the UK
   at Christmas, since its premiere, way back in 1982. Such is it's
   ubiquity, it's been satirised and sent up everywhichway, it's
   helped to shift fizzy drinks and catalogue items and who-knows
   how much licensed material over the years. But when you shrug
   off all that baggage, when you sit yourself down to watch the
   film again properly, in a darkened room, in the still and silent
   time as the eve draws in for Christmas - well - it still moves
   this viewer, for sure... Those trembling frames hypnotise... It's
   like looking through some magical zoetrope as James and
   the Snowman take flight...

   John Coates brought that same, quality-assured stamp to so many
   productions, didn't he? The Peter Rabbit films, in which Beatrix
   Potter's watercolour friends hop, sniff and skitter off the page.
   And John
Burningham's Granpa, a film about loss that's every bit
   as moving and affecting as "The Snowman".

   Oh, see there? We've gone full circle too. Should TVC have returned
   to that same magical font, after all this time, would the temptation
   be their undoing? - The first whispers The Hound has heard suggests
   they've done the inconceivable again. And as a dog-lover and owner
   of two fantastic, tearaway Springer Spaniels, this viewer almost
   dreads to think what's in store for him when the Snowman's
   new companion takes flight. The Snowman... the Snowdog...
   and now John Coates... it's going to be quite tearful, isn't it?
                                               More: Ethel & Ernest blog


    headlines »     older news »     news archive »

all characters © their respective creators and licensees / F2012