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BBC humiliated after being forced to AXE new version of The Snowman following backlash

The Snowman: Original trailer for Raymond Briggs adaptation

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Howard Blake, the composer for the BAFTA-winning film ‘The Snowman’ blasted the BBC for their plans to make an instrument-free version of the film for radio. Mr Blake has referred to the plans as a “vile desecration of classic”.

The film, which is a Christmas favourite of many, follows the story of a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life.

Each year, the film is shown on TV in full but a new audio version without any instruments had been planned to be broadcast by the BBC for this year’s festive season.

A feature-length show was scheduled to air on Radio 3 on Christmas Eve at 7.30 pm, with a repeat performance scheduled for BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Day at 1.30 pm, narrated by Stephen Fry.

However, the BBC has since confirmed that the radio remake of the Christmas classic has been removed from their festive schedule.

It comes after Howard Blake, who composed the musical’s score, expressed he was upset that producer Jonathan Manners was not using any instruments in his forthcoming audio version.

Mr Manners’ version of the classic would see the sound of the instruments replicated by a choir.

Mr Blake had taken exception to this new version and claimed Mr Manners was “just trying to make a name for himself” by swapping out instruments for the technique known as vocalise.

He told The Telegraph: “This lad [Jonathan Manners] is really trying to make a name for himself, but I have told him what you have done to my music is a desecration, it is absolutely vile.”

It is understood the decision to axe the remake was made after a conversation between Mr Blake and the BBC yesterday.

A BBC spokesman said the broadcaster was “saddened and surprised” to hear of the composer’s concerns.

They said: “We were saddened and surprised to hear of Mr Blake’s concerns.

“It’s a great shame we have to remove this from our schedule, in line with Mr Blake’s wishes.”

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Mr Blake had previously threatened to withdraw his permission for the recreation.

However, he relented when Mr Manners explained that Royal Family had already been told about the re-imagined version.

He said: “I said it’s impossible to do it in vocalise so if you try and do it without instruments, I refuse.

“When I refused, Jonathan told me – it’s very difficult, I’ve already told Prince Charles and the Queen about it – how could I refuse?”

‘The Snowman’ was nominated for an Oscar in 1983, and the four-minute song “Walking In The Air” is the only part of the 26-minute running time with words.

In the festive favourite, the song was performed by St Paul’s Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty.

The film is based on the book of the same name by Raymond Briggs written in 1978.

It was first shown on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve in 1982.

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