The Radio Times logo

Meet the voice cast of The Snail and the Whale

BBC One's Christmas Day animation features some very famous voices

Snail and the whale
Published: Wednesday, 1st January 2020 at 12:00 pm

The touching story of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's much-loved children's book The Snail and the Whale is coming to our TV screens on Christmas Day 2019.


Produced by Magic Light Pictures and airing on BBC One, this brand-new animation features the voices of Rob Brydon MBE, Sally Hawkins and Dame Diana Rigg.

Take a look at this who's who of the voice cast...

Sally Hawkins plays the Snail

Sally Hawkins plays The Snail

Who is the Snail? A tiny sea snail with an unusual desire to see the world. She comes up with the idea of asking for transportation by using her slime to write a message on rocks.

What else has Sally Hawkins been in? Sally Hawkins was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 2017's The Shape of Water.

Her other film and TV credits have included Cassandra's Dream, Blue Jasmine, Made in Dagenham, Paddington (plus its sequel), and Godzilla.

Rob Brydon plays the Whale

Rob Brydon plays The Whale

Who is the Whale? Described as "a humpback whale, immensely long, Who sang to the snail a wonderful song," the Whale arrives one night to offer the Snail a trip around the world.

What else has Rob Brydon been in? You might also spot Rob Brydon this Christmas as Bryn West in the sitcom Gavin & Stacey, which is back for a festive special. His other acting and presenting credits include The Trip, Marion & Geoff, Supernova, The Keith Barret Show, Would I Lie to You?, and Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive.

Brydon is also a prolific voice actor for children's animations, starring in such features as The Highway Rat, Zog, Early Man, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, Revolting Rhymes and The Gruffalo.

Cariad Lloyd plays the Teacher

Cariad Lloyd plays the Teacher in The Snail and the Whale

Who is the Teacher? She teaches at the school in the bay, near where the Whale (spoiler alert!) gets stranded on the beach. The Snail plays a visit to her classroom to seek help.

What else has Cariad Lloyd been in? The actress and comedian played Megan in Peep Show, and has appeared in I Want My Wife Back, Lee and Dean, Murder in Successville, and Crims – as well as panel shows like QI.

Cariad Lloyd is also the host of award-winning podcast Griefcast, in which she holds conversations with guests about dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Who narrates The Snail and the Whale?

Diana Rigg

Diana Rigg is the narrator of The Snail and the Whale.

What else has Diana Rigg been in? Properly known as Dame Diana Rigg, the actress – who was born in 1938 – has had a long and impressive career. She has starred as Olenna Tyrell in Game of Thrones, the Duchess of Buccleuch in Victoria, Emma Peel in The Avengers TV series, and in 1969 played James Bond's wife Countess Teresa di Vicenzo in On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

Acting alongside her real-life daughter Rachael Stirling, she also guest starred in Doctor Who episode The Crimson Horror as Mrs Gillyflower.

Who plays the children and the other creatures?

The other snails are played by Arnold Brown and Emma Tate, while Max Lang (co-adapter and co-director) voices the fish.

The Snail and the Whale

The schoolchildren are voiced by William Barber, David Cummings, Charlotte Davis-Black, Emmy Dowers and Mia Wilks.


Sponsored content