The Snowman and the Snowdog

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The Snowman and the Snowdog
The Snowman and Snowdog.jpg
Created byRaymond Briggs
Written byJoanna Harrison and Hilary Audus (story)
Raymond Briggs (characters)
Directed byHilary Audus
Theme music composerIlan Eshkeri and Andy Burrows
Country of originUnited Kingdom
ProducerJohn Coates
Running time24 minutes
Production companyLupus Films (Original)
Original networkChannel 4
Original release24 December 2012 (2012-12-24)

The Snowman and the Snowdog is a 2012 animated short film. It is the sequel to The Snowman, and was created to mark the 30th anniversary of the original short film.[1] The Snowman and The Snowdog is dedicated to John Coates (the film's producer, who died in September 2012) and features a new song called "Light the Night" by former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows. The Snowman and the Snowdog won the Televisual Bulldog Award 2013 in the Best Children's category.[2]


The story begins similarly to The Snowman, at the house where James, the boy from The Snowman, used to live. Once in the open countryside, it is now in a housing estate.

One sunny Summer's day, a young boy named Billy and his mother arrive at the house, which they have just moved into. Billy helps his elderly dog from the removal van and they enter the property. As autumn arrives, it becomes apparent that Billy's dog has died and the family bury him in the back garden. With Christmas approaching, Billy writes to Father Christmas in the form of a hand-drawn picture; the one and only thing he asks for is another dog to replace his deceased one. He then stumbles over a loose floorboard in his bedroom where he discovers some toys and a small box tied with tinsel beneath it. In the box, he finds a photograph of James and the Snowman, as well as the original scarf, hat, coal lumps and an old dried-up tangerine (once the Snowman's nose).

As Billy realises his discovery, he peers out of the bedroom window and sees that it has begun to snow. He rushes out to build a snowman as in the photograph, but after barely completing his lower body he realises that not enough snow has fallen to complete the task, having already used all the snow in the garden. He hurriedly runs around the yard salvaging every bit of snow he can find off fences and a shed's roof and suchlike. Adding the final touches to his creation he decides that the original dried tangerine is long past its usefulness so, discarding it in the garden, he claims a fresh one from a fruit bowl in the kitchen. He finally completes the Snowman and in memory of his own dog uses the remaining snow to build a little snowdog, next to the Snowman, with mismatching socks on sticks for ears, gloves for spots and the discarded tangerine for a nose.

Night time approaches, and Billy goes to bed and drifts off to sleep. As midnight arrives, he is awoken by a dog barking in the back garden. Billy looks out of his bedroom window, and is astonished to notice the Snowdog waggling an ear at him. As Billy rushes downstairs, he finds, to his surprise, that they have miraculously came to life. The Snowdog, sniffing around in the snow, uncovers the ball that had once belonged to Billy's old dog and starts to play with it. The ball bounces into the house and the Snowman and the Snowdog enter it. The Snowman sees the photo of James and his former self on the fridge and smiles. Before too long Billy realises that the Snowdog has started to melt after sitting too close to the fireplace in the kitchen. They then head back outside and explores the garden shed where the motorbike, which the Snowman rode in the first film, can still be seen along with some other mementos from James' family home.

Not long after, the three are off into the open air to visit the annual snowman party in the frozen north. However, while flying, the Snowman loses his nose, and as they land to search for it, they come across an old-style red single-engined light plane with open cockpit that they use for the rest of their journey. During the flying sequence, as in the original, a number of famous English landmarks can be seen, such as The Shard, London Eye, Big Ben, The Gherkin and the Crystal Palace transmitting station, as the three of them fly over London.

When the Snowman, the Snowdog and Billy reach the gathering, the party is in full swing with many familiar faces from the original. During the partying the three of them decide to enter a downhill race against numerous snowmen competitors and a rather determined and skilled skiing penguin. As they descend the course, however, many of the participating snowmen, including the protagonist snowman, end up embedded in snow drifts, but Billy and the Snowdog manage to stay hot on the penguin's tail, and the duo win the race, to be congratulated on their victory by Father Christmas himself.

As the sun starts to rise, and the Snowman signals their departure, another snowman finds Billy's letter and whispers into Father Christmas's ear. From his sleigh, Father Christmas reveals a small present which he gives to Billy. While another snowman flies the aeroplane back to where it came from, Billy, the Snowman and the Snowdog return home by flying.

Upon arriving home, Billy opens his present- a dog collar, which he places round the Snowdog's neck where it then turns into a real live dog that matches the one that Billy asked for. They both say goodbye to the Snowman and head inside the house

The next morning, Billy awakes to find his bed empty, and worriedly searches for the dog. His search ends in the kitchen, where his dog is trying to get outside. As the two go out into the back garden together, they discover that the Snowman has melted for the second time. Beside the melted snow, the dog, which Billy calls 'Socks', places his new ball, and the two kneel together, saddened over the Snowman's disappearance.


The 24-minute film, taking nearly two years to complete, cost £2 million to produce and, like the original movie, was created from over 200,000 hand drawn images.[3] While the film was primarily hand drawn, CGI was used to add digital falling snow and lighting effects.[4]

The composer Howard Blake, who composed the soundtrack to the original 1982 film was one of the few crew members not asked to return and after expressing an interest in returning was allegedly asked to "send a demo", which he refused citing the success of the original orchestral production score.[citation needed] The film instead features a largely pop-music orientated soundtrack featuring the songs Light the Night (flying to the north pole scenes) and Home Town (returning home scenes) by former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows plus incidental music by Ilan Eshkeri.[5]

Reluctant to have the original The Snowman produced into a short film, Raymond Briggs was quoted to have said that "it took a lot of persuasion to allow the sequel to be made." Although Briggs was not himself responsible for the story of the new animation, the sequel could not have taken place without his permission as he owns the rights to the original characters and premise.


The Snowman and the Snowdog was heavily promoted in the weeks leading to its original broadcast, mostly by Channel 4, but also by other companies such as Nationwide.[6][7] An official video game based on the film's flying sequence was released for iOS and Android devices.[8][9] A novelisation of the story is available as an e-book from both Apple's iBookstore service and Amazon's Kindle store.[10][11] Also, the soundtrack for the film, featuring the theme song "Light the Night", is available digitally from iTunes and Amazon[12][13] and a single version of "Light the Night" is available from both iTunes and the Google Play Music store.[14][15] The film was released on home media on 3 November 2013, as a DVD, Blu-ray or a double pack with the original film. The soundtrack was released on CD format around the same time.


When the film was broadcast on Channel 4, on 24 December 2012, writing in The Guardian, Sam Wollaston praised the animation, but criticised the numerous similarities to the original plot.[16]

Video game[edit]

A smartphone game was released by Channel 4 on 9 December 2012 for iOS and Android.[17] The game was developed by Crash Lab. It reached number 1 in the iPhone and iPad game charts and was downloaded over 1 million times in the UK and Ireland.[18]

Popular culture[edit]

In November 2016, a Christmas advert for British clothing company Barbour featured an older Billy and his dog reuniting with the Snowman and reminiscing about meeting Father Christmas.[19] In November 2017, Barbour released another Christmas advert, following on from the previous one in 2016.[20]

A series of public art trails have been created, featuring outsize versions of the Snowdog, along with smaller Snowpups. To date, they've appeared in Newcastle and Tyne and Wear, Brighton and Hove, Cardiff and Ashford. After each exhibition the Snowdogs are sold at auction, with the proceeds going to local hospices.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crump, William D. (2019). Happy Holidays—Animated! A Worldwide Encyclopedia of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year's Cartoons on Television and Film. McFarland & Co. p. 289. ISBN 9781476672939.
  2. ^ "Televisual". Televisual. Retrieved 29 May 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Behind the scenes – The Snowman Films – The Official Snowman Website". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Snowman Creator Moans About CGI And Says 'I Don't Like Christmas'". 10 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Andy Burrows Announces Music Soundtrack To Channel 4'S The Snowman And The Snowdog". 29 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "The Snowman Competition – Your Nationwide". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Nationwide to support film sequel to The Snowman". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "The Snowman and The Snowdog – Android Apps on Google Play". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "The Snowman and the Snowdog (Enhanced Edition) by Raymond Briggs on iBooks". iBooks. Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Briggs, Raymond (29 December 2012). "The Snowman and the Snowdog". Puffin. Retrieved 27 December 2017 – via Amazon. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The Snowman & the Snowdog (Original Soundtrack) by Ilan Eshkeri on Apple Music". 17 December 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "The Snowman & The Snowdog - Original Soundtrack". Retrieved 27 December 2017 – via Amazon. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "iTunes – Music – Light the Night – Single by Andy Burrows". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "Andy Burrows: Light The Night – Music on Google Play". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Wollaston, Sam (25 December 2012). "TV review: The Snowman and The Snowdog; Doctor Who: The Snowmen; Call The Midwife". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "The Snowman and The Snowdog game – Channel 4 – Info – Press". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 24 December 2020.
  18. ^ "The Snowman and The Snowdog hits over 1m downloads". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 24 December 2020. Retrieved 14 October 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ ""The Snowman and The Snowdog" by Barbour". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ "Barbour reawakens the The [sic] Snowman & Snowdog for Christmas with grown-up Billy and family". Retrieved 27 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "The Snowdog Art Trails - Find a Snowdog Art Trail near you : Snowdog Art Trails". Retrieved 25 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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