Ten years ago this Christmas Eve, The Snowman and The Snowdog aired on Channel 4. There was some trepidation about creating a sequel to the iconic animation of Raymond Briggs’ 1978 book, which had aired on Boxing Day in 1982. But the new film won the hearts of young audiences around the world.
To mark its 10th anniversary, composers Ilan Eshkeri and Andy Burrows, who created the Bafta-nominated soundtrack, are performing the music live. At two special showings of The Snowman and The Snowdog, in Birmingham and London, they will be accompanied by a concert orchestra. And these concerts will be raising money for The Big Issue, so we spoke to them about it.
Ilan Eshkeri: I can’t believe it has been 10 years already. It is making me feel quite old. We felt cautious going into it because The Snowman had been in our lives, at that time, for 30 years. It’s part of the collective experience of Christmas in this country. So if you start tinkering with it, you have the possibility of being the people who spoil the Christmas thing everybody loves.
Andy Burrows: Being allowed through the door into that world felt very magical and beautiful. The attention to detail that made sure the sequel had gravitas and the connection to the original, retaining the way Raymond Briggs told the story about dealing with grief and the acceptance of death, was amazing. It was such a dream to tackle the music to the sequel to an iconic Christmas film. And such a massive and magical task. So to realise we didn’t totally fuck it up is quite a lovely thing.
We both said, let’s just trust what our inner child tells us. That’s all we had to doAndy Burrows on The Snowman and The Snowdog
IE: The original film’s soundtrack, which is a complete masterpiece, was very classical. In our world, we could use guitars and bass and drums, which wouldn’t have been appropriate in the first film.
AB: We both said, Let’s just trust what our inner child tells us. That’s all we had to do. Because we were those kids in 1982 watching The Snowman.