The Tiger Who Came To Tea: When is it on TV? Who is in the cast? Who wrote the soundtrack?

Kids will love this TV adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic tale, featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig and David Oyelowo, and narrated by David Walliams.

By Katie Archer Published: 20 December 2019 - 7.31pm
Channel 4

Some children’s books stand the test of time, as popular with kids now as they were with their parents years ago, and Judith Kerr’s beloved stories are often amongst the favourites on any family book shelf.

One of her most famous tales is The Tiger Who Came To Tea, and this Christmas we’ll be treated to a TV adaptation of it on Channel 4. It features the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tamsin Greig and David Oyelowo, and is narrated by David Walliams.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

When is The Tiger Who Came To Tea on TV?

This year’s festive treat at Channel 4 will be The Tiger Who Came To Tea, which will air as a 30-minute film.

We don’t know yet which day it’s scheduled for, but look out for it over the Christmas period.

A previous kids’ highlight, 2016’s We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, aired on Christmas Day teatime, so we’re expecting a similar slot this year.

What is the story about?

The late Judith Kerr first published the well-loved tale in 1968, but her story has never dated and is still loved by children today.

Inspired by Judith’s daughter Tacy, the book is about a little girl called Sophie who is having tea at home with her mummy when an unexpected visitor calls at the house – and it turns out to be a hungry tiger.

Judith Kerr The Tiger Who Came to Tea Rex

They invite the tiger in for tea, but he eats and drinks everything in the house, and the beautiful illustrations of them enjoying tea together will be familiar to many a viewer.

Who stars in it?

Listen out for an all-star voice cast bringing to life the famous book.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Brexit: The Uncivil War, Sherlock) stars as Daddy, with Tamsin Greig (Friday Night Dinner, Episodes) as Mummy and David Oyelowo (Les Miserables, A United Kingdom) voicing the Tiger.

David Oyelowo Rex

David 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.”

Children’s author and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams (Little Britain, Come Fly With Me) will narrate the story, and Paul Whitehouse (Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, The Fast Show) is the Milkman.

David Walliams Rex

David 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.”

Sophie will be played by seven-year-old newcomer Clara Ross, who makes her TV debut.

Who wrote the soundtrack?

Things are equally starry on the music front, with multi-award-winning composer David Arnold, Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black, and best-selling popstar Robbie Williams teaming up for the song Hey Tiger.

David has scored five James Bond films and the TV series Sherlock, and Don has written the lyrics for five James Bond themes and won an Oscar for best original song with Born Free. David tweeted his delight at Robbie singing his song below.

Dad-of-three Robbie 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.”

Which other children’s classics will be on All 4 over Christmas?

Channel 4 has offered us some big-name kids’ stories over Christmas for years now, and we often see their hits from past years either repeated on Channel 4 or made available on All 4 over the festive period.

Past highlights we’re hoping to see again for 2019 include the Raymond Briggs classics The Snowman, The Snowman and the Snowdog, and Father Christmas, as well as last 2016’s adaptation of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea airs on Channel 4 at Christmas 2019.