A whole host of stars including Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo have come together to voice characters for Channel 4’s adaptation of Judith Kerr’s children’s novel ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

Based on the classic children’s book by the much-loved Judith Kerr OBE, who sadly died in May this year, the half-hour film will bring to life the vivid images and irresistible story of this classic picture book turning it into a festive family treat.

Tamsin Greig, David Walliams and Paul Whitehouse will join Cumberbatch and Oyelowo to portray the familiar characters of Daddy, Mummy, Tiger, Narrator and Milkman while seven-year-old newcomer, Clara Ross, makes her TV debut as Sophie.

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The Tiger Who Came to Tea tells the delightful story 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.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Daddy, 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.”

David 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.”

The book 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.

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). Robin Shaw will direct, while Lupus Films’ founders Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding together with Ann-Janine Murtagh, Katie Fulford and Mia Jupp at HarperCollins Children’s Books will produce.

Channel 4 will broadcast the one-off half-hour special at Christmas.