David Bowie in The Snowman: Why did the music icon appear in the Christmas classic?

3 December 2020, 12:32 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 17:29

David Bowie in The Snowman
David Bowie in The Snowman. Picture: Channel 4

By Tom Eames

Creator Raymond Briggs wasn't a fan of Bowie's introduction.

The Snowman is a true staple of Christmas, and you've no doubt seen in every year for decades.

However, depending on what version you're most familiar with, you may be surprised to know that a certain famous rock star introduced the film.

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In case you also have never seen it, David Bowie did indeed record an intro as a grown-up version of the boy in the film. Watch it below:

So, how did Bowie get involved in the film?

Its original airings featured an introduction featuring creator Raymond Briggs describing how much it had snowed the winter he made The Snowman. However, according to Briggs, the American TV networks wanted a more famous name.

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Watch Briggs' original intro below:

A few years later, David Bowie was featured reading a different speech, after walking into the attic of 'his' childhood home, discovering a scarf and telling the same story, as if he was the boy himself.

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However, this intro is not always shown on TV. To celebrate the film's 20th anniversary, Channel 4 created a new opening featuring Raymond Briggs' character of Father Christmas, remembering how he met the boy, with comedian Mel Smith reprising his role from Father Christmas. Watch it below:

Channel 4 used this intro from 2002 until Mel Smith's death in 2013. Since then, particularly after Bowie's death in 2016, the Bowie introduction has returned.

Briggs is not a fan of Bowie's intro at all. In 2017, he told the BBC: “I did an introduction to the Snowman film, and the Americans wanted somebody more important than me, quite rightly. And they somehow got David Bowie to do it.

“He got it all wrong, terribly. Hopeless. It didn’t matter, they did it about six times. But it was fun meeting him, wearing his wonderful, glittering pink shoes. I’d never seen pink shoes before on a man.

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“And he said, 'I greatly admire your work.' And I said, ‘God, I wish I could say the same’… Well, I muttered it.”


The Snowman was followed by a sequel, The Snowman and the Snowdog in 2012, though Briggs was not involved.