The Snowman: did Aled Jones sing ‘Walking in the Air’, and who wrote the music?

19 December 2023, 10:48 | Updated: 19 December 2023, 11:16

'Walking In The Air' by Aled Jones and star treble Malakai M Bayoh

Classic FM

By Classic FM

Here’s everything you need to know about The Snowman and its enchanting soundtrack famously performed by Aled Jones.

It’s been around for decades and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it. But how much do you know about the story of The Snowman, as well as its music?

Created by the late illustrator and novelist Raymond Briggs and first published in 1978, this festive tale originally started out as a wordless picture book.

Its delightful sketches tell the story of James, a young boy so excited by the snow that he runs outside to build a snowman – but little does he know, his chilly friend will come to life at midnight.

Read more: Aled Jones sings sublime ‘Ave Maria’ in time-defying duet with his younger, boy treble self

The Snowman: did Aled Jones sing ‘Walking in the Air’, and who wrote the music?
The Snowman: did Aled Jones sing ‘Walking in the Air’, and who wrote the music? Picture: Alamy

James and the Snowman quickly form a friendship, spending the rest of the morning playing with toys and inventing games. But with James’ parents fast asleep, they have to stay quiet.

Then, the Snowman takes the boy on a flying adventure which, in the TV adaptation includes meeting Father Christmas, going for a ride on a motorbike and flying into the aurora borealis of Norway, before returning home to Brighton.

But in both versions there’s a sad ending to the tale. By the following morning, James’ snowy new friend has melted, conjuring up feelings of nostalgia that childhood often passes us by too swiftly.

Read more: The 30 greatest Christmas carols of all time

Walking in the Air – Aled Jones Sings With His Younger Self | Classic FM Sessions

Who composed the music for ‘The Snowman’?

With Briggs’ book proving popular with readers, Dianne Jackson reworked The Snowman into a half-hour film for television in 1982 and it became an instant hit.

Produced by John Coates and broadcast on Channel 4 on 26 December, this charming animated film tells James’ story using words for the very first time and it’s made all the more enchanting by Howard Blake’s music.

The English composer, conductor and pianist has become well known for his concertos, ballets and operas – and has produced more than 650 works.

Performed by the Sinfonia of London, his stunning orchestral score for The Snowman adds a real sense of magic to the tale and ‘Walking in the Air’ is just as loved by audiences today as it was back then.

The Snowman (1982) HD

Who sings ‘Walking in the Air’ in The Snowman?

Originally sung by St. Paul’s Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty at the tender age of 13, the singing on this track is one of the defining features of the film.

The song was later released as a single in 1985 by Classic FM presenter Aled Jones, then aged 15.

Since its debut, The Snowman has won a BAFTA TV Award and was voted number four in UKTV Gold’s Greatest TV Christmas Moments.

Join Aled Jones at 5pm on Christmas Eve as he narrates ‘The Snowman’ on Classic FM.