Cumberbatch and Oyelowo to lend voices to The Tiger Who Came To Tea adaptation

The version of Judith Kerr's much-loved children's classic will air this Christmas.

Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo and David Walliams are among the star-studded cast in a TV adaptation of children’s book The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

Tamsin Greig and Paul Whitehouse will also lend their voices to the short animated film, which will air this Christmas on Channel 4.

The much-loved children’s book by Judith Kerr, who died earlier this year, will be brought to life in a special from the makers of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and The Snowman And The Snowdog.

David Oyelowo
David Oyelowo (Ian West/PA)

The Tiger Who Came To Tea has sold more than five million copies since it was first published in 1968.

It tells the story of a tea-guzzling tiger who turns up unannounced and eats and drinks Sophie and her mother out of house and home.

Selma actor Oyelowo will voice the Tiger, Sherlock star Cumberbatch will be Daddy and Britain’s Got Talent star Walliams will play the Narrator.

Episodes star Greig will bring Mummy to life while The Fast Show’s Whitehouse will play the Milkman.

Seven-year-old newcomer Clara Ross will make her TV debut as Sophie.

David Walliams
David Walliams (Channel 4)

Oyelowo said: “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.”

Cumberbatch paid tribute to Kerr’s “timeless children’s classic”, saying he “couldn’t be more thrilled to be playing a small part” in bringing it to the small screen for another generation.

Walliams said: “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.”

Clara Ross
Clara Ross (Channel 4)

Clara said: “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.”

Channel 4’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea will be a half-hour film and is set to air this Christmas.

Kerr died in May at the age of 95. She was known for other works such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and the Mog The Cat series of books.

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