The most important bits I wanted to see were in there:
My favorite funny bit, giving the little girl a sword:
The mother took a deep breath.And the conversation between Death and Susan about lies. Which to me was the most important part of the whole book. And the part that makes me recommend it so strongly.
"You can't give her that!" she screamed. "It's not safe!"
IT'S A SWORD, said the Hogfather, IT'S NOT MEANT TO BE SAFE.
"She's a child!" shouted Crumley.
"What if she cuts herself?"
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT LESSON.
Susan: "You're saying humans need ... fantasies to make life bearable."Lots of other dialogue was straight from the book as well. Various stuff was trimmed, of course. Peachy got cut from the cast. No loss, really. Lots of funny bits had to be cut for time. The most noticable change I saw was in the matchgirl. In the book Death was surprised to find she was dying, and became angry. In the show he knew it was coming and angry going in. I think that worked better visually, in that you had Albert's speech to illustrate how angry he was. Showing Death going from jolly to furious in an instant is hard to do with an expressionless face.
Death: REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASIES TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
Susan: "Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little--"
Death: YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
Susan: "So we can believe the big ones?"
Death: YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING. . . . YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN'T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?
And there was one addition. A little scene during the struggle to control children's belief in the Hogfather. In the middle of the night two children sneak in and see a man in a red suit filling stockings. But when he turns it's their father. He stammers "It's not what you think!" in the tones of a husband caught in adultery. The children turn away with the expressions of cynics confirmed in their disbelief. Not in the book, but I think it had much more impact as images than it would have as words. I look forward to watching this every Christmas from now. And hopefully seeing more movies which treat books with as much respect as this one did. Though I think Hogfather was much easier to adapt than many would be.