Snowman producer John Coates dies

The Snowman The Snowman has become a seasonal staple since making its TV debut three decades ago

Related Stories

John Coates, the producer of the classic animation film The Snowman, has died of cancer. He was in his eighties.

Coates, recently finished work on a follow-up to the 1982 film to celebrate its 30th anniversary, died on Sunday at his home in Kent.

A spokeswoman for Lupus Films, the production company behind the sequel, said: "It's very sad news. He was very involved [in the new film]."

The Snowman and the Snowdog will be screened on Channel 4 this Christmas.

The film is said to involve a new boy, a "snow dog" and such modern landmarks as the London Eye.

Producer Camilla Deakin said Coates had recently seen the trailer and the storyboard of the whole film and was "very pleased" with them.

Coates served in World War II as an army officer and became a film distributor in Asia before returning to England and beginning to produce animation.

He teamed up with The Snowman writer Raymond Briggs and persuaded Channel 4 to make it one of its first films.

It went on to become a classic repeated every year at Christmas and it was nominated for an Academy Award in 1983.

'Complete innovation'

Coates also worked on the 1968 Beatles animation Yellow Submarine. His other production credits include TV film The Wind in the Willows, which was voiced by the likes of Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Gambon, Michael Palin and Alan Bennett.

He also produced the TV series The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, based on the tales by Beatrix Potter.

Composer Howard Blake, who worked extensively with Coates on films such as The Snowman, Granpa and The Bear, met Coates in New York in 1981.

"He allowed me to go along with my ideas - he let me do the music without any dialogue. The Snowman was a complete innovation," he told BBC News.

He said making The Snowman had all been "very friendly", adding: "We fell out numerous times but always made it up. John always believed everything could be sorted out over a good lunch."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Entertainment & Arts stories


Features & Analysis

  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine

  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents

  • Susanne du ToitTop 10 Tips

    Portrait painter Susanne du Toit on being an artist

  • Atletico's Diego Godin celebrates his goal with teammate David VillaWeek in pictures

    The best news photographs from around the world

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world


  • Joe Ierardi playing a pianoClick Watch

    Meet the man trying to create the perfect digital piano - but is it as good as the real thing?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.