Benedict Cumberbatch and Tamsin Greig among Channel 4’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea voice cast

Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig, and David Oyelowo will join David Walliams, and Paul Whitehouse among the voice cast of the Channel 4 adaptation of the iconic children’s book The Tiger Who Came to Tea this Christmas.

Based on the classic title from the much-loved Judith Kerr OBE, who died in May this year, the half-hour film will bring to life the images and story of the picture book that has already built a generation of fans and a steady licensing programme.

Cumberbatch, Greig, Oyelowo, Walliams and Whitehouse will portray the characters of Daddy, Mummy, Tiger, Narrator, and Milkman respectively, while the seven year old Clara Ross will make her TV debut as Sophie.

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, and produced by Lupus Films, the makers of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Snowman and The Snowdog, The Tiger Who Came to Tea tells the sstory 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.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea has sold over five million copies since it was first published in 1968. Inspired by Judith Kerr’s daughter Tacy, the story of Sophie and her extraordinary, stripy teatime guest has enchanted generations of children and has become a timeless classic.

Lupus Films’ distinctive, hand-drawn animated style will bring it to life for a whole new audience this Christmas, when Channel 4 will broadcast the one-off half-hour special.

Cumberbatch 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.”

Oyelowo, playing 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.”

Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 head of drama concluded: “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 is produced by Lupus Films’ founders Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding together with Ann-Janine Murtagh, Katie Fulford and Mia Jupp at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and directed by Robin Shaw (Co-Director of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Assistant Director of The Snowman and The Snowdog).

The book has been adapted for the screen by Joanna Harrison (Co-Director of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Co-Writer and Art Director of The Snowman and The Snowdog).

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