Depicting Father Christmas alongside characters from The Snail and the Whale – an animated version of which will air on BBC1 on Christmas Day – the cover is also signed by Axel Scheffler.
The TV Times team worked closely with Axel to create the artwork which he says he hopes “will make people feel Christmassy. And inspire people to watch The Snail and the Whale. It’s a perfect film!”
Commenting on the design, Axel says: “I’ve sketched Father Christmas loads of times over the years. You can’t really draw him any differently; he has to have his red suit and furry cuffs.
“But I did cheat with the scale. I often do that. Would the snail really be that big on Father Christmas’ shoulder? I don’t think it matters. Illustrations can have their own logic.”
Colin Tough, TV Times editor-in-chief, adds: “There is no illustrator quite like Axel Scheffler and we were honoured to work with him on creating an original piece of artwork for our Christmas issue. The result is this delightful cover – and a lot of excitement in the office!”
The bumper issue of TV Times carries an extra 96 pages taking readers through all the TV across the festive period with a 14-day guide. On sale for three weeks from 10th – 31st December and with TV guides seeing a seasonal boost in interest from consumers at this time of year, this issue offers a strong sales opportunity for retailers and boosted RSV carrying an increased cover price of £4. In 2018, TV Times benefitted from a 262% increase in copy sales for its double issue and 644% in RSV, say the publishers.