We’ve not stopped rediscovering all the wonderful things David Bowie did since he left us in January: all year, tributes have continued to attest to his wit, innovation and multifarious accomplishments. One that seems to have slipped past us until now, though, is the time he was involved in the most festive animation of all time. This, of course, is Channel 4’s 1982 adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman, memorably soundtracked by Howard Blake, and on which the 13-year-old chorister Peter Auty – now an operatic tenor – sang Blake’s famous composition ‘Walking In The Air’.
Bowie’s part – cut from the US version – was simple but crucial: introducing viewers to the surreal story in which a snowman comes to life. “This attic’s full of memories for me,” he begins. “We spent all our summers by the seaside and in winter at home, by the fire,” he goes on, wandering about the attic and retrieving a scarf.
“Frost on the window,” he recalls, “and snow. Snowballs and making snowmen. One winter I made a really big snowman and he got this scarf for me. You see, he was a real snowman. That winter brought the heaviest snow I’d ever seen. The snow fell steadily all through the night. And when I woke up, the room was full of light and silence, and I knew then it was to be a magical day.” Always a storyteller – who else could have done such a magical job?