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John Coates: The Man Who Built The Snowman

John Coates: The Man Who Built The Snowman

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John Coates: The Man Who Built The Snowman

An official biography

By Marie Beardmore

A most celebrated figure in animation

Publication date: 2011
Total pages: 198 and DVD
ISBN: 9780 86196 682 0
Price: £ 17.50


John Coates: The Man Who Built The Snowman is an intimate biography of the producer of The Snowman, the man behind the Beatles’ film, Yellow Submarine, When the Wind Blows, The Wind in the Willows, The Willows in Winter, Famous Fred and many other films besides. Born in 1927, between the wars, the book takes us on a journey through John’s early life, his army years as an officer in the 11th Hussars and, post war, as a distributor for Rank films throughout Asia, the Far East and Madrid, before heading back to England and, eventually, taking over TV Cartoons.

Full of illustrations, rare photographs, and a DVD of excerpts from his movies, this is a must for those who love animation as well as its students. Written by Marie Beardmore, with a foreword by Raymond Briggs and an epilogue by John himself, John Coates: The Man Who Built The Snowman is a vivid portrayal of one of the most celebrated figures in cartoons.


Early Years
Army Years
Early Days at Rank, Far East, Asia
Madrid – “We Read Hemingway and Lived Hemingway”
How it All Began – Rediffusion and ATV
From Film to Television and the start of TVC
TVC and the Beatles
The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine
Endings and Beginnings
Post George – a new era ...
The Snowman the first snow
Post Snowman
When the Wind Blows
Life matters, becoming a granpa and holidaying in Kenya
Seychelles ...
Father Christmas – 1991
Beatrix Potter: 1992–1995
The Bump in the Road
1995 – Three more half hour specials
The Wind in the Willows (1995), and The Willows in Winter (1996)
Famous Fred
The Bear
Bali – Another Exotic Holiday
John Winds up TVC’s animation studio
Oi Get off Our Train and Varga TVC – 1998
John’s Brothers
Retirement at the Lac de Sainte Croix
Ethel and Ernest
Epilogue by John Coates


Marie Beardmore is a scriptwriter based in Paris. She and John have been friends ever since they met on a flight to Germany for an industry event, Cartoon Movie, over ten years ago, when she was a media journalist. John’s many stories over lunch inspired her to write this book, and she hopes the reader will enjoy them too as they discover the man behind so many well loved films.

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