The multi award-winning composer David Arnold, the Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black, and Robbie Williams have come together for the recording of the theme song for Channel 4’s adaptation of The Tiger Who Came to Tea.
The tune, Hey Tiger, will play over a ‘visually ambitious’ animated fantasy segment in the animated TV feature, in which the tiger will travel through never-before-seen locations, imagined from the point of view of Sophie, the book’s human protagonist.
The music for Hey Tiger and the original score for The Tiger Who Came to Tea, based on the best-selling book by Judith Kerr, have been composed by multi-award-winning musicians and lyricists.
The song’s lyrics have been composed by Oscar-winning lyricist and BBC R2 DJ Don Black, who has also provided lyrics for five James Bond films, as well as a number of classic hits, including ‘Born Free’ which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1966.
Speaking at Sleeper Sounds where the vocals were recorded, Robbie Williams, said: “This book has played a big part in me bonding with my kids. I’ve read it possibly 150 times to my first daughter, Teddy, and she is the reason I’m singing the song – I’m honouring those moments with her.
“She loved the book and I got a real heart-warming kick reading a line and her finishing it, so it will be forever in my heart. Plus I’m a massive fan of Don Black and it’s an honour to be singing the words he’s written. The song reflects the tiger’s wonderful, magical and mischievous character – it’s whimsical and just what a song should be in this film.”
David Arnold, composer, added: “The book is part of the fabric of everyone’s childhood these days and it feels like the film is going to be one of those things people will keep coming back to again and again because it is the book.
“The music had to be honest and joyful like the film is and I wanted it to feel like I felt when I read that book when I was small, so there’s a slight nostalgia to it. And if there is a human being that knocked on the door and you thought something is going to happen, it could be Robbie – so maybe he’s the tiger.”
Don Black, lyricist, concluded: “This was a joy to write. It captures a mood of innocence and youth and the delightful tale; it brings a smile and makes you feel young again, if you’re not young already. Robbie is ideal for it because it’s a show song and he’s great with a lyric, he tells a story and he lives a song. It was a dream of David’s and mine for him to sing it and when he agreed I got goosebumps.”
The soundtrack album of music from The Tiger Who Came to Tea will be released on CD and digital by Sony Masterworks. The album will be available on the day the special airs. This is the second time Lupus Films have partnered with Masterworks, having worked previously on the soundtrack album for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea was commissioned by Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 head of drama and Chloe Tucker, Channel 4 commissioning executive, drama. Produced by Lupus Films’ founders Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding and executive produced by Ann-Janine Murtagh, Katie Fulford and Mia Jupp at HarperCollins Children’s Books, and directed by Robin Shaw (Co-Director We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Assistant Director The Snowman and The Snowdog).
The book has been adapted for the screen by Joanna Harrison (co-director We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, co-writer and art director The Snowman and The Snowdog). This new animated special will see a team of artists bring to life Judith Kerr’s vivid illustrations in Lupus Films’ distinctive, hand-drawn animated style.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea has sold over five million copies since it was first published by HarperCollins Children’s Books 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.