Redmond tells festive tale of the Snowman

SIOBHAN REDMOND thinks about it for a moment and then grins.

“I’ve probably heard generations of choirboys singing I’m Walking In The Air, but until now, was never really familiar with the story,” she admits.

All that changed when the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) asked if she’d like to narrate their annual Christmas concert, during which she will read Raymond Briggs’ 1978 children’s tale The Snowman, accompanied by the RSNO playing Howard Blake’s magical score as the animated tale unfolds behind them.

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“I’d seen snippets of The Snowman but hadn’t actually seen the whole thing, and it is beautiful,” continues Redmond. “I can understand why it has become a tradition that is now part of so many people’s Christmas.”

Like panto, The Snowman appeals to young and old alike, and the actress recalls, “I remember I did panto once, for the shallowest of reasons really, I wanted to have my face growing out of a beanstalk on a poster – not that we were doing Jack And The Beanstalk weirdly, we were actually doing Goldilocks And The Three Bears.

“I was Goldilocks, that was in my previous incarnation as a person with blonde hair.

“Anyway, I wanted to have my face on one of those jolly panto posters and to work with Victor Spinetti, who was the villain of the piece, and Jimmy Ellis, who was dame. That was when I discovered it is delightful to play to a young audience who really like something.”

With the RSNO, Redmond’s biggest challenge will be synching the story with the music and images.

“There are places where the script, as written on the musical score, is not quite in time with the image, so I will be interested to see how this works, but then I’m from the Eric Morecambe school of music reading; all the right notes, not necessarily in the right order and more relevantly perhaps not at quite the right time,” she laughs.

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There’s more to the RSNO Christmas Concert than The Snowman, however. Under the baton of Christopher Bell, join the orchestra and the RSNO Chorus for a family celebration that will include all your favourite festive melodies and traditional sing- along carols.

There’s also more to Redmond. Currently she can be heard reprising the role of Jean Brash in the BBC Radio 4 drama McLevy, which charts the investigations of the Victorian Edinburgh detective (played by Brian Cox) credited as the godfather of forensics.

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“McLevy is on at the moment on Radio 4. I think it’s the eighth series and we just enjoy it more and more – we’ve got to the stage now that we are so like family we can actually bicker.

“It’s very exciting to be exploring Edinburgh’s past in the guise of Jean Brash who has a great deal more confidence than I do.

“I enjoy my time spent in her company although I think in our version she has a much nicer life that the person she is based on.”

RSNO Christmas Concert, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Sunday, 3pm, £12.50-£34, 0131-228 1155