Magic Light Pictures and the BBC Announce ‘Tabby McTat’

Star-studded animation is based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
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May 11, 2023

Tabby McTat book cover
"Tabby McTat" book coverMagic Light Pictures

Magic Light Pictures

has announced that this Christmas, the


will air the 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 is adapted from the 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. Donaldson and Scheffler’s creative partnership will celebrate 30 years in 2023.

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, breaks his leg and is whisked away in an ambulance. What will become of the busker’s cat left alone on the city streets?

“I used to love busking with my husband Malcolm when we were living in Bristol and also in Paris,” says Donaldson. “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.”

“Julia and Axel’s book is a beautiful, heart-warming story that we're delighted to be adapting for BBC viewers this Christmas,” says Barney Goodland, producer, “Tabby McTat.” 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.”

“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,” says Lindsay Salt, director, BBC Drama. “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.”

The film 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.

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