Channel 4 commissioned award-winning production company Lupus Films (The Tiger Who Came to Tea, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) to produce a snowy seasonal ident featuring the beloved characters from the World of The Snowman (part of Penguin Random House Children’s), created in collaboration with Channel 4’s in-house creative agency, 4creative.
The 20-second film was made to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the very first transmission of The Snowman film adaption on Channel 4, and pays tribute to both the original animation and to the 2012 sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog.
The latest in a long line of iconic Channel 4 idents, the film transports the Channel 4 logo to a wintry setting where it oversees The Snowman, The Snowdog and James, the boy from the first The Snowman film, playing in the snow. The ident marks the very first time that all three characters are seen on screen together.
The spot premiered ahead of the Jamie Oliver special Jamie’s Easy Christmas Tuesday, and will be shown regularly over the festive period.
The ident is produced by Lupus Films — the producers of The Snowman and The Snowdog — and directed by Robin Shaw, who was responsible for the iconic flying sequence in that film. Animated in Lupus Films’ beautiful hand-drawn style, the piece was created by Shaw and a small team of animators using traditional 2D techniques in animation program TVPaint.
“The Snowman has been a part of Christmas for four decades, so what better way to mark the 40th birthday of both Channel 4 and the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s beloved character than with a set of hand crafted idents featuring James and the Snowman,” said Ian Katz, Chief Content Officer, Channel 4. “It may or may not snow this month but it is guaranteed to be a white Christmas on Channel 4.”
Lupus Films Co-Founder Camilla Deakins commented, “We are really honored to have been asked to bring The Snowman back to life for Channel 4 for the 40th anniversary of this very special animated Christmas classic. It’s particularly poignant for us at the time of the 10th anniversary of The Snowman and The Snowdog and after the death earlier this year of our long-time friend and collaborator, the inimitable Raymond Briggs.”
“The Snowman has been an enduring part of Christmas television for over 40 years and we are thrilled that Channel 4 has commissioned a wonderful piece of animation that celebrates Raymond’s original creation and sees The World of The Snowman beautifully realized, once again, by Lupus Films and Robin Shaw in this brand new ident,” added Thomas Merrington, Creative Director of Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House Children’s).
For Channel 4 Creative, the ident’s executive producer is Lynsey Atkin, the creative director is Dan Chase, the producer is Alison Laing, head of marketing is Laura Ward-Smith, marketing lead is Laura Bedford and marketing executive is Victoria Cheng.
Adapted from the iconic picture book by Briggs and published by Puffin (part of Penguin Random House Children’s), the timeless story of The Snowman was adapted and first shown on the newly-launched Channel 4 on Boxing Day 1982 and has been repeated on the channel every Christmas since. The 26-minute film went on to win a BAFTA and be nominated for an Oscar. In 1984, music icon David Bowie pulled on a Christmas jumper to record a special introduction to the film for Channel 4.
Created with Briggs’ blessing, The Snowman and The Snowdog premiered on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve 2012 and was directed by Hilary Audus and Joanna Harrison. The sequel tells the story of Billy, who moves into the house from the original story and discovers a snowman-making kit under the floorboard of his bedroom, thereby launching a brand-new magical adventure. The film won several awards and featured on the front cover of the Radio Times’ Christmas issue in both 2012 and 2013.
The Snowman, The Snowman and The Snowdog and Lupus Films’ other festive animated specials We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Tiger Who Came to Tea are all airing on Channel 4 over the holiday season.