Is The Snowman sequel on too late to be a hit with viewers?

The Daily Mirror's Mark Jefferies says Channel 4's chances of huge Christmas ratings have been frozen by "ridiculous" scheduling of their Snowman showpiece

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Is The Snowman sequel on too late to be a hit with viewers?
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It was supposed to kickstart Christmas on TV.

New children's animation The Snowman and The Snowdog is one of the most eagerly awaited programmes on the box this year.

The sequel to the Raymond Briggs classic The Snowman has even landed Channel 4 the coveted Radio Times Christmas cover, for the first time ever.

But the problem is some bright spark has scheduled it for 8pm on Christmas Eve.

Yes, that's right, not 5, 6 or even 7pm. The night before Christmas they've decided a show suitable for little ones should air at 8pm.

I'm not a dad, but I've spoken to numerous parents in the last week and they're all of the same opinion: "Our kids will be asleep by the time that's on."

I discussed the decision with an ITV exec this week and they called it "ridiculous" and even some Channel 4 staff have expressed their surprise and anger to me about the decision.

To make matters worse, The Snowman and The Snowdog will clash with children's favourite Merlin on BBC1.

It means instead of this eagerly-awaited animation getting the huge audience it deserves, Channel 4 are likely to get just a couple of million tuning in, with most recording it for a time when their kids aren't in bed.

It is not the first time Channel 4 bosses have raised eyebrows with their scheduling decisions this year.

In October, they showed a total of 126 episodes of Come Dine with Me, Countdown has recently lost 200,000 viewers after moving to an earlier slot and success story Chatty Man keeps being shifted  around the schedule.

In response to my Christmas complaint on behalf of parents, Channel 4 say: "We're delighted to be broadcasting The Snowman and The Snowdog at the heart of Channel 4's Christmas Eve schedule – as well as during the early afternoon on Christmas Day.

"There will also be a number of opportunities for all the family to catch up on the new film across the Christmas period on Channel 4, E4 and 4Seven – as well as a special documentary looking behind the scenes on how the Snowman came back to life and a chance to see the 1982 original, The Snowman, on Sunday 23rd December."

Mark Jefferies is Deputy TV editor at the Daily Mirror