BBC orders Tabby McTat for Xmas
May 11, 2023
By Nik Roseveare
From BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated producers Magic Light Pictures, this Christmas the BBC will air animated adventure Tabby McTat, a story set on the streets of London about the friendship between a musical cat and a talented busker called Fred.
The film is adapted from the successful picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, and marks the 11th animated special of their work produced by Magic Light Pictures for the BBC.
The film stars Rob Brydon as Fred, Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísú as Tabby, Cariad Lloyd as Prunella, Joanna Scanlan as Pat, Jodie Whittaker as the narrator, and Susan Wokoma as Sock. Animation services are provided by Red Star Studio.
The film follows Fred, a busker, and his cat Tabby McTat who enjoy a contented life singing on the streets of London to delighted audiences. One day when chasing a thief, Fred falls and breaks his leg and is whisked away in an ambulance. What will become of the busker’s cat left alone on the city streets?
Donaldson commented: “I used to love busking with my husband Malcolm when we were living in Bristol, and also in Paris. We also both love cats – in fact – we’ve just acquired two new kittens named Tabitha and McTat. So, this story is really close to my heart and combines two of my passions: singing, and cats!”
Producer, Barney Goodland said: “Julia and Axel’s book is a beautiful, heart-warming story that we’re delighted to be adapting for BBC viewers this Christmas. The friendship between Fred and Tabby is a truly special one and the film explores how their relationship changes unexpectedly as their lives move forward, and ultimately, how they learn to embrace that change.”
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, added: “Magic Light’s hugely entertaining adaptations of Julia and Axel’s works have been delighting families and viewers of all ages for over a decade now. I know that Tabby is a character loved by many, so I could not be happier that he’ll be brought to life this Christmas on BBC One and iPlayer.”
Tabby McTat is directed by Sarah Scrimgeour and Jac Hamman; 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.