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The BBC and Magic Light Pictures has released a first look of forthcoming Christmas animated adventure, Tabby McTat, a story set on the streets of London about the warm and wonderful friendship between a musical cat and a talented busker called Fred.

The film, for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, is adapted from the hugely successful picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. It marks the 11th animated special of their work produced by Magic Light Pictures for the BBC.

Jodie Whittaker, the narrator of this year’s adaptation, reflects on what it means to her to be involved, how the story resonates with her own childhood, and of course, on being a cat lover!

Jodie says: “Tabby McTat is such a beautiful story about embracing change and the transitions in life as well - from childhood to adulthood and people going on journeys. There is so much warmth and celebration of family and community, but then there's also, the moments of fear and loss that is often a gain.”

“We had cats when we were growing up. My cat gave birth under my bed, and it was magical. But then as a child you realise your parents don't let you keep them all. ‘What? I thought we were going to have five kittens forever,’ but I was lucky, and I did get to keep one of them...

"Its name was phenomenal - Wicket W. Warrick - named after an Ewok, and it had an older brother called Teebo, another Ewok! And my cat was beautiful, very beautiful with long brown hair and looked like an Ewok and with a personality very similar to mine - needy and a bit feral!”

Julia Donaldson says: “The story is very special to me because as well as having been a busker myself, I'm also a great cat lover. At the time I wrote it we had cats, but they were very old and alas, are no more. But now we have two Tabby cats and they're called Tabitha and McTat.”

Tabby McTat stars Rob Brydon (Gavin and Stacey) as Fred, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísú (Gangs of London) as Tabby, Cariad Lloyd (Peep Show) as Prunella, Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It) as Pat, Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) as the narrator, and Susan Wokoma (Enola Holmes) as Sock. Animation services are provided by Red Star Studio.

Tabby McTat is directed by Sarah Scrimgeour (Superworm) and Jac Hamman (Superworm); written by Max Lang and Suzanne Lang; and produced by Barney Goodland and Michael Rose of Magic Light Pictures.

The film was acquired by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer and Nawfal Faizullah, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor.


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