Fungus the bogeyman

The grumpy genius of Raymond Briggs

Raymond Briggs has often spoken of his annoyance at being associated with Christmas. His Snowman may fly across our screens each Christmas day, but in the book there is no Father Christmas, no sleigh, and certainly no figgy pud. The North Pole scene featuring the jolly elf was written into the story for John Coates’s TV adaptation in 1982 and struck Briggs as rather mawkish at the time. As readers and viewers of Father Christmas know, Briggs’s Papa Noël is anyway rather a grouch at this time of year. As if the cold isn’t enough for him to contend with, there are the chimneys, the tasteless presents, and, oh yes,