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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2007, 21:18 GMT
Snowman author frosty at Christmas
Raymond Briggs
Raymond Briggs says he finds Christmas "tiresome"
Christmas TV in the UK would not be the same without soap cliff-hangers, series "specials" and getting teary-eyed watching Raymond Briggs' The Snowman.

It is 25 years since the silent animated film was released and since then it has always been shown at Christmas.

The enchanting story of a young boy who forms a magical friendship with a giant snowman the night before Christmas has become a childhood favourite and adult classic.

Even its creator is surprised at its popularity.

In fact, so fed up is he of being asked the question, Briggs makes it clear he has no idea of the answer.

"That's the first thing I tell interviewers never to ask. Don't ask me where the idea came from and don't ask me why it's been a success because I don't know either of those things," the 73-year-old says.

Christmas magic

The Snowman
He's old, he's fat, white haired, he's obviously been doing it all his life and he's getting fed up with it
Raymond Briggs on Father Christmas

Nevertheless the tale brilliantly encapsulates the magic of Christmas as the boy and his snowman friend fly around the world accompanied with the haunting theme song, Walking in the Air.

One cannot help wondering whether the man behind this beautiful story is himself a lover of the festive season.

"I don't particularly like it," says Briggs. "I don't hate it, I just find it a bit tiresome.

"The whole business starts about a month before, worrying about presents and wondering whether you've spent too much or not spent enough.

Realistic

"And then there's all the huge botheration of the shopping and cooking and if people are coming to stay, getting beds ready.

"I would like it if it was shorter and simpler. The shops start selling Christmassy things in September. It's all gone barmy," he adds.

When asked why he decided to bring the boy's adventures to a close with the snowman melting in the snow, Briggs says: "I was just being realistic. Obviously the Snowman had to melt, we all have to die in the end and it's inevitable.

The Snowman
The Snowman has become a Christmas classic

"If the Americans had done it they would have had him flying up into the heavens and disappearing into a cloud of glory maybe, all that's rubbish of course."

His other books, Father Christmas and Father Christmas Goes on Holiday about a rather grumpy Santa who hates his job, are perhaps a far better representation of the way Briggs sees Christmas.

He reveals he based the character on his father who was a milkman "working all day alone in the freezing cold".

Unlike most people who imagine Santa to be a jolly man who loved what he did, Briggs has other ideas.

"It was a pretty appalling job and I thought he would be rather grumpy. He's old, he's fat, white haired, he's obviously been doing it all his life and he's getting fed up with it," he says.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Clips from The Snowman



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11 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
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23 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
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