David Tennant will take the title role in the BBC adaptation of The Highway Rat (Scholastic) by duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Rob Brydon will narrate the BBC One Christmas special, produced by Oscar-nominated entertainment company Magic Light Pictures, which developed "The Gruffalo" for the BBC in 2009 as well as several other adaptations of books by Donaldson and Scheffler.
Joining them in the half-way animation will be the voices of Nina Sosanya as the Duck, Tom Hollander as the Squirrel and Frances de le Tour as the Rabbit. Rights to the book were acquired for BBC One by Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content and Elizabeth Kilgarriff, senior commissioning editor of BBC Drama.
The exact transmission time of the adaptation during the festive season has yet to be revealed.
First published in 2011,The Highway Rat is about a ravenous rat who craves buns, biscuits and all sweet things and is described as “a swashbuckling tale of bandits and biscuits the whole family will enjoy”. Altogether it has sold 565,253 copies amassing £2.89m according to Nielsen BookScan.
"The Highway Rat" marks the fifth adaptation by Magic Light Pictures of a title by Donaldson and Scheffler with the most recent being "The Stick Man", which premiered on BBC One on Christmas Day 2015. Kilgarriff said: "Magic Light Pictures have, yet again, woven their wonderful magic to animate the story of 'The Highway Rat' with warmth and wit - and some very recognisable voices."
"The Highway Rat” is directed by Jeroen Jaspaert, of “Stick Man”, with animation services from Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town. The composer is René Aubry.