A children’s classic will be reinvented this Christmas, as an animated version of Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea is heading to Channel 4.
The special comes from Lupus Films, the same animation house that brought us previous festive hits like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Snowman and The Snowdog.
Here are the voices behind The Tiger Who Came To Tea…
David Oyelowo plays Tiger
Who is David Oyelowo?
Following TV roles including a stint on Spooks, David Oyelowo rose to prominence through his collaborations with Academy Award winning director Ava DuVernay on the films Middle of Nowhere and Selma, the latter seeing him take on the role of Martin Luther King Jr.
He’s no stranger to animation, having previously had voice roles in Disney’s The Lion Guard and Star Wars Rebels.
What has he said about The Tiger?
He said in a statement: “Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to play the iconic Tiger from The Tiger Who Came to Tea? He’s a big cat of few words because he’s too busy eating! But I relished all of the growling, chomping and slurping, which called on me to find my inner cat.”
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Daddy
Who is Benedict Cumberbatch?
Benedict Cumberbatch has quickly become one of Britain’s best known actors after shooting to stardom on BBC One’s hit drama, Sherlock.
Since then, he has appeared in numerous high profile films including The Imitation Game, The Hobbit trilogy and several Marvel movies in the role of Doctor Strange.
What has Benedict Cumberbatch said about The Tiger Who Came To Tea?
Cumberbatch said of his role: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be playing a small part in bringing Judith Kerr’s timeless children’s classic to the screen for another generation to enjoy.”
Clara Ross plays Sophie
Who is Clara Ross?
Seven-year-old Clara Ross is a newcomer to acting who will lend her voice to Sophie, the little girl in the story whose teatime is interrupted by a tiger at the door.
What has Clara Ross said about playing Sophie?
Ross is a fan of Judith Kerr’s original story, saying: “I do like reading this book at bedtime because it’s really nice. I like all the characters, and that an animal can talk, because in real life, how can an animal talk?”
She also revealed what she would do in Sophie’s situation: “Well, if the tiger ate everything on the table and everything on the shelves and all the water, I think we would probably go to ASK Italian.”
David Walliams is the Narrator
Who is David Walliams?
After rising to fame with the risqué comedy of Little Britain, Walliams has recently become a children’s novelist with 13 books to his name so far.
Several of them, including Mr Stink, The Boy in the Dress and Gangsta Granny have been adapted into festive specials by the BBC.
What has David Walliams said about narrating The Tiger Who Came To Tea?
Walliams never read the book as a child, but discovered it after meeting author Judith Kerr through his publishing house Harper Collins.
He said: “I knew Judith well and I really, really adored her. And she’s just such an incredible inspiration. Her work is so brilliant. And for her to have been in her 90s and still creating fantastic work is virtually unheard of.
“I really wanted to be a part of it. I was chuffed that she wanted me to narrate because she thought that, because I tell stories too, I would understand how to say the lines… I don’t know. But I’m so proud to be associated with it because it’s a stone cold classic.
“Just like the book has been around for over 50 years, hopefully the cartoon will have this incredible longevity to.”
Paul Whitehouse plays Milkman
Who is Paul Whitehouse?
Whitehouse is an actor and comedian best known for his collaborations with Harry Enfield on The Fast Show, Harry & Paul and Harry Enfield and Chums.
Recently, he fronted the BBC Two series Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing with fellow comedian and friend, Bob Mortimer.
What has Paul Whitehouse said about The Tiger Who Came To Tea?
Whitehouse has four daughters and has read the story to each of them.
He said: “I think there’s a timeless look to the book and, without descending into cliché, perhaps it does appeal to people of a certain age, because it does sort of harp back to our childhood a bit. And so maybe that’s why we like it and try to impose it onto our children.”
Tamsin Greig plays Mummy
Who is Tamsin Greig?
Tamsin Greig is a well known face on British television, particularly to fans of comedy due to her starring roles in Black Books, Green Wing, Episodes and Friday Night Dinner.
What has Tamsin Greig said about playing Mummy?
Like Whitehouse, Greig discovered this story later in life when reading it to her own children.
She said: “I suppose I’ve had a bit of practice at reading the story but also at being a mummy. What I love about Mummy is that she is so child-like herself and with the drawings, often you don’t quite know who’s the parent and who’s the child, and there’s so much wonder in the Mummy’s face.
“And when they’re standing next to Daddy, they do both look like children, like they’ve both gone on an adventure. I suppose that’s what drew me is that the mummy is not there imposing authority but she’s agreeing to go on the journey with her daughter and be a child with her but to be a safe child.”
Robbie Williams sings an original song called ‘Hey Tiger!’
Who is Robbie Williams?
Robbie Williams rose to fame at the age of just 16 after joining the popular band Take That, later launching into a successful solo career where he has sold more than 75 million records.
For The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Williams has recorded the song ‘Hey Tiger!’ which was composed by David Arnold with lyrics from Don Black.
What has Robbie Williams said about Hey Tiger?
He too became familiar with The Tiger Who Came To Tea after reading it to his daughter.
Williams said of the new song: “It’s jaunty and fun and kind of otherworldly, like the book is itself. There’s a lot of whimsy in it. And a lot of words… incredible words of course [written by] Mr Don Black! It’s an honour to be singing the words that he’s written. I’m a massive fan. It’s whimsical. It’s what a song should be in this film.
“What attracted me, apart from the incredibly talented people that have written it, is my daughter Teddy. She’s the reason I’m sat here. She’s the reason I got into the booth to sing the song. I’m just honouring those moments that I had with her when she was that age and she loved this book.”
The Tiger Who Came To Tea airs on Channel 4 at 7:30pm on Christmas Eve
Collect a free* copy of The Tiger Who Came to Tea Party Book with the Radio Times 2019 Christmas issue. *Terms and conditions apply, see radiotimes.com/tigerpartybook for details