The Snowman Christmas radio special on the BBC pulled after Howard Blake makes complaint

The composer of the score to the iconic Christmas film, The Snowman, said he 'didn't approve' of the new arrangement

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Annotated pages from 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs is displayed at Sotheby's auction House on December 4, 2014 in London, England. A selection of annotated first edition books from the Worlds greatest living illustrators and authors including contributions from Michael Bond, Raymond Briggs, Quentin Blake, Lauren Child, Terry Gilliam, Judith Kerr, Paula Rego & Gerald Scarfe are to be auctioned to Raise Money for 'House of Illustration' on December 8, 2014.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The BBC has cancelled its plans for a new radio version of The Snowman, following complaints from its composer, Howard Blake. Stephen Fry had been scheduled to narrate a new version on BBC Radio 3 and 4 this Christmas, with a performance from the BBC Singers.


The beloved festive score was to be sung rather than played on instruments, an interpretation composer Howard Blake said would ‘sound silly’. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme yesterday afternoon, he said, ‘I care a great deal about The Snowman. What scares me is that if we have an arrangement that mocks it and sounds silly, it will take a great deal of pleasure away from the world. I don’t approve of this arrangement.’

Blake stressed that he wasn’t disgruntled by the fact that the original orchestral parts had been vocalised – it was the way they had been arranged that concerned him. ‘I’ve agreed to literally thousands of arrangements, but this one I don’t think is a good idea.


The BBC said it was ‘a great shame’ to remove the programme from its Christmas schedules, a decision the corporation made ‘in line with Mr Blake’s wishes.’