Cumberbatch and Walliams to star in Tiger Who Came to Tea adaptation

Cumberbatch and Walliams to star in Tiger Who Came to Tea adaptation

Benedict Cumberbatch, David Walliams, Tamsin Greig, David Oyelowo and Paul Whitehouse will star in the upcoming TV adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic picture book The Tiger Who Came to Tea (HarperCollins Children's Books).

The half-hour film will air on Channel 4 this Christmas and is being produced by Lupus Films, who also adapted 'We’re Going on a Bear Hunt', based on the book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury (Walker Books), and 'The Snowman and The Snowdog'.

Oyelowo, who plays the Tiger, 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 plays Daddy, Greig is Mummy, Walliams is voicing the narrator, and Whitehouse voices the Milkman. Seven-year-old newcomer Clara Ross will make her TV debut as Sophie.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea is Kerr’s most popular picture book and has sold more than five million copies. Its 50th anniversary last year was marked with a series of special editions and a celebration of Kerr's birthday at the Savoy hotel.

Kerr, who died earlier this year, also wrote and illustrated the successful Mog series and the semi-autobiographical Out of the Hitler Time trilogy. She was named Illustrator of the Year at the British Book Awards in May. 

The TV adaptation of The Tiger Who Came To Tea will be 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 is directed by Robin Shaw. The book was adapted for the screen by Joanna Harrison and was commissioned by Caroline Hollick and Chloe Tucker from Channel 4.

Universal Content Group is managing the international TV distribution, home entertainment and theatrical rights.