Peter Capaldi has swooped into the cast of Watership Down, playing one of the story’s few non-rabbit characters: a black-headed gull called Kehaar.
The Doctor Who star joins a cast which already includes big names like James McAvoy, Olivia Colman and John Boyega, who will all be voicing bunny rabbits when the two-part mini-series arrives on the BBC and Netflix this Christmas.
Capaldi’s character Kehaar crash-lands in the story when his injured wing forces him to take refuge on Watership Down.
An impatient creature with an unusual turn of phrase, he befriends the rabbits when they help him to recover and is able to pass on vitally important information from his bird’s eye view.
Adapted from Richard Adams’ 1972 novel by screenwriter Tom Bidwell, Watership Down follows the story of a small group of rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and the intrusion of mankind, seeking a safe place to build their new home.
The Thick of It’s Capaldi is already an experienced voice actor – you may have heard him as a rabbit in Christopher Robin, playing Uncle Nigel in The Penguins of Madagascar, or voicing his video game character in The Doctor and the Dalek.
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Watership Down’s protagonist Hazel is voiced by James McAvoy, while his little brother Fiver is played by Nicholas Hoult. Boyega, Colman and Gemma Arterton have already been announced as Bigwig, Strawberry and Clover, but news of Capaldi’s casting comes alongside a number of new stars.
Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya will play Bluebell, with Rosamund Pike as The Black Rabbit Of Inlé. Taron Egerton is El-Ahrairah, Mackenzie Crook is Hawkbit, Gemma Chan plays Dewdrop, and Jason Watkins is Captain Orchis.
Further stars include Rory Kinnear, Craig Parkinson, Henry Goodman, Tom Wilkinson, Lee Ingleby, Charlotte Spencer and Daniel Rigby.
Already announced are Sir Ben Kingsley as the rabbits’ main antagonist General Woundwort, Freddie Fox as Captain Holly, Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay, and Miles Jupp as Blackberry.
Watership Down will air on BBC1 this Christmas, and on Netflix outside the UK