Channel 4 has announced an all star cast for its animation of The Tiger Who Came To Tea.
An animated film adaption of the classic children's book will air on Channel 4 this Christmas.
The 30-minute film will bring to life the classic picture book, written by the late Judith Kerr OBE, who sadly passed away earlier in 2019.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Brexit: The Uncivil War, Sherlock, Avengers: Infinity Wars), Tamsin Greig (Tamara Drewe, Friday Night Dinner, The Guilty, Episodes) David Oyelowo (Les Miserables, A United Kingdom, Nightingales) David Walliams (Walliams & Friend, Little Britain, Come Fly With Me) and Paul Whitehouse (Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, The Fast Show) will portray the familiar characters of Daddy, Mummy, Tiger, Narrator and Milkman respectively.
Seven-year-old newcomer Clara Ross makes her TV debut as Sophie.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea tells the delightful story of what happens when the doorbell rings just as Sophie and her Mummy are sitting down to tea in the kitchen. Confronted with a very unexpected guest – a big, furry, stripy tiger – they invite him inside where he proceeds to eat everything in sight before making a timely exit, just before Daddy gets home.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Daddy, said: “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.”
David Oyelowo, who plays the Tiger added: “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.”
David Walliams, who plays the Narrator, commented: “I knew Judith well and I really adored her. She was an incredible inspiration - her work is so brilliant. The book is a thing of beauty – there isn’t a word out of place, the illustrations are just gorgeous.
"I really wanted to be a part of it and I was chuffed that she wanted me to narrate. 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 animation will have this incredible longevity too.”
Tamsin Greig, who plays Mummy, said: “The story has a universal appeal. It’s about encountering the other and the danger of the unknown adventure. What drew me is that Mummy is not there imposing authority, but she’s agreeing to go on the journey with her daughter, and be a child with her.”
Paul Whitehouse, who plays Milkman, added: “I wanted to get involved because it has fond memories for me and a close association with my girls. I first read the book to my eldest daughter who is now 26, and I’ve got quite a young daughter as well that I now read it to. It’s one of the not-that-many books where the girl is the central character … I’ve read it to all my four girls, so it’s never been out of my life!”
Clara Ross, who plays Sophie, reacted to the news of her casting: “I do like reading books because they take you to an imaginary world, and this book is really nice. I like all the characters and that an animal can talk because in real life, how can an animal talk?
"I’m really excited that my voice is going to be animated and I can’t wait for it coming out at Christmas on Channel 4.”
Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 Head of Drama said: “‘We’re delighted to have assembled such a fantastic cast to tell this wonderful and much-loved children’s classic. It really does promise to be a fabulous festive treat for all the family.”
The Tiger Who Came To Tea will air Christmas 2019 on Channel 4.
it follows the channel's last festive children’s classic, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, which became the Channel 4’s most watched programme of 2016 with over eight million viewers.