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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the writer and illustrator Raymond Briggs. For millions of children, Christmas would be incomplete without Briggs's story The Snowman, which has been shown on television every year since its first release, in 1982, and his enduringly popular Father Christmas.

Raymond was born in 1934 in Wimbledon. His mother, Ethel, was a lady's maid and his father, Ernest, a milkman. He wanted to draw cartoon strips from an early age but, at art school, found his tutors looked down on his aspirations. After leaving, he quickly secured work as a commercial artist, doing illustrations for advertisements, journals and books. He said he was so appalled at the standard of the children's books he was asked to illustrate he thought he could do better himself. And he did - his first attempt was immediately accepted for publication and he went on to twice win the Kate Greenaway Medal - the principal award for illustration.

[Taken from the original programme material for th

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