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Robbie Williams lends voice to TV adaptation of much-loved children’s book

Clara Ross and Robbie Williams (Channel 4/PA)
Clara Ross and Robbie Williams (Channel 4/PA)

Robbie Williams has lent his voice to the theme for Channel 4’s Christmas adaptation of The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

The former Take That star, 45, sings on Hey Tiger! which was composed by Grammy winner David Arnold, the brain behind the scores for five James Bond films, as well as TV series including Sherlock and Little Britain.

Lyrics for the track were penned by Oscar winner and BBC Radio 2 DJ Don Black, most famous for his work with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and John Barry on three James Bond films.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea
Clara Ross is among a star-studded cast (Channel 4/PA)

The much-loved children’s book by Judith Kerr, who died earlier this year aged 95, will be brought to life in a special from the makers of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and The Snowman And The Snowdog, and will feature a star-studded voice cast including Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo and David Walliams.

Seven-year-old newcomer Clara Ross will make her TV debut as Sophie.

Father-of-three Williams said he was inspired to join the project because of his seven-year-old daughter’s love for the book, which he claims to have read to her some 150 times.

He said: “This book has played a big part in me bonding with my kids.

Storystock Festival Battersea
Judith Kerr and Benedict Cumberbatch during a reading of the Tiger Who Came to Tea, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the book at the Storystock Festival (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“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.

“Plus I’m a massive fan of Don Black and it’s an honour to be singing the words he’s written.

“The song reflects the tiger’s wonderful, magical and mischievous character – it’s whimsical and just what a song should be in this film.”

The British Inspiration Awards – London
Composer David Arnold (Yui Mok/PA)

The Tiger Who Came To Tea has sold more than five million copies since it was first published in 1968.

It tells the story of a tea-guzzling tiger who turns up unannounced and eats and drinks Sophie and her mother out of house and home.

Arnold said: “The book is part of the fabric of everyone’s childhood these days and it feels like the film is going to be one of those things people will keep coming back to again and again because it is the book.

“The music had to be honest and joyful like the film is and I wanted it to feel like I felt when I read that book when I was small, so there’s a slight nostalgia to it.

BMI Awards 2012 – London
Lyricist Don Black (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“And if there is a human being that knocked on the door and you thought something is going to happen, it could be Robbie – so maybe he’s the tiger!”

Black said: “This was a joy to write. It captures a mood of innocence and youth and the delightful tale; it brings a smile and makes you feel young again, if you’re not young already!

“Robbie is ideal for it because it’s a show song and he’s great with a lyric, he tells a story and he lives a song.

“It was a dream of David’s and mine for him to sing it and when he agreed I got goosebumps!”

Channel 4’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea will be a half-hour film and is set to air this Christmas.

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