Benedict Cumberbatch has narrated an audio version of a sequel to Raymond Briggs' The Snowman.
The Sherlock star’s dulcet tones will enrich the audio e-book adaptation of The Snowman and the Snowdog written and directed by Hilary Audus, a TV follow-up to the Oscar-nominated 1982 short animated film The Snowman.
Snowdog, described by Briggs as “absolutely super”, will be screened by Channel 4 on Christmas Eve, and the audio e-book will be released for Apple, Nook and Kindle devices on Saturday 29 December.
But whereas the film will be wordless, like the original Snowman, publisher Puffin and Snowdog’s makers Lupus Films have crafted some unique narration for the e-book, which will be brought to life by Cumberbatch. An audio book version of Briggs' original story was narrated by Andrew Sachs.
Talking about the project, the 36-year-old actor said: “The magic of The Snowman is universal for every generation; as is the thrill of a first encounter with snow.
“And in this new story, to bring the Snowdog to life for new young readers was a joy. I hope it will become as much of a Christmas tradition as the beautiful original was when I was a boy.”
The Snowman and the Snowdog, which was announced in August, takes place 30 years after the events of the original film. It begins with a boy mourning the death of his dog while snow falls outside. Rooting around his house, he lifts up a floorboard and finds a scarf with snowmen printed on it, which was stashed there long ago by another youngster.
Inspired by the find, he goes outside and builds both a snowman and a snowdog, giving the chilly canine a tangerine for its nose and socks for ears.
The boy and his new pals then fly over the London Eye before crashing a snowman’s convention at the North Pole and frolicking at a ski resort. While his snowy chums both melt away as the sun comes up, the boy gets a memento of his own to treasure: the collar worn by his snowdog.
The Snowman, which was fist published in 1978, was adapted for TV in 1982. It told the story of a boy who goes on a series of adventures with a snowman and is chiefly remembered for both its distinctive animation style and the inclusion of Walking in the Air on its soundtrack. See the film's famous musical sequence below: