The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The Tiger Who Came to Tea: Facts & Figures

Category: Press Pack Article

Key points covered in the press pack

  • It would take one person 22 and half years to make the film, with an estimated consumption of 23,4440 cups of tea during the process!  
  • It takes 25 frames per second to bring The Tiger Who Came to Tea to life. (Certain simpler shots can be animated using 12.5 frames per second.)
  • The film has a technically ambitious use of white space – production tried not to overfill the frame in order to keep the resemblance of the book illustrations while creating a scene engaging enough for a young viewer.  A significant feat!
  • Composer David Arnold initially balked at writing a “jazzy” score but soon realised that what was wanted was a sense of freedom and fun!
  • Judith Kerr had “some super sharp ideas about things that were working and things that were not […]no one is going to know this story more than Judith” reveals David Arnold.
  • Robbie Williams shares his connection with the original book: “I’ve read it possibly 150 times to my first daughter, Teddy. It was a big bonding thing, this book, with me and Ted. She loved that book. I got a real heart-warming kick out of reading a line and then letting her finish the line. Sort of marvelled at how smart she was and how much she remembered of the book. So it’ll be forever in my heart.”
  • Tamsin Grieg (mummy) reveals that she disobeyed the school to secretly read Enid Blyton as a child when discussing the important of children’s books.
  • David Walliams (narrator) speaks about his close friendship with Judith Kerr. 
  • Paul Whitehouse (the milkman) shares his fond memories of reading the book to his girls 
  • Clara Ross (Sophie) reveals her dream café should a tiger turn up and eat all the food in the house.  
  • Don Black (lyrics) talks about how waiting for inspiration is not amateurs!


Minutes:          24 (without adverts)

Seconds:         1440

Frames:            36000

It takes 25 fps (frames per second) of animation to bring The Tiger Who Came to Tea to life. Certain simpler shots can be animated using 12.5 frames per second (this is called being “on twos”, whereas 25fps is “on ones”), but for the big action shots there are 25 individual frames of hand-drawn animation per second!


After around six months of script drafting, Lupus Films began work on the storyboard in July 2018. The storyboard was produced by Richard Fawdry (Storyboard Artist) alongside Peter Baynton (Animation Director) under Robin Shaw’s direction, this process came to a close by September 2019. It typically takes 18 months to produce a film of this nature, from the start of scripting to the end of compositing.


  1. SCRIPT: The script is naturally the foundation of the film, and all dialogue and action is carefully deliberated over between the writers, directors and producers. With a short book like TTWCTT Lupus Films needed to add some action in that wasn’t featured in the book (the song and the dream sequences) which required delicate hands to keep in context with the tone of book. Judith Kerr had full approval over the script, and was heavily involved in developing the book into a 24-minute film.
  2. STORYBOARD: The storyboard is the foundation for each shot. Although the drawings are fairly rough, all the visual staging and acting decisions are made at the storyboarding stage, with the precise detail further refined in each subsequent step of the pipeline.
  3. LAYOUT: The layout stage is where the storyboard is taken into a finely detailed drawing of each relevant storyboard panel. The layout artist will draw all the linework for the colour background, whilst also detailing key poses for characters, and varying scales of elements within a shot if a character is walking in perspective, for instance. They will also detail any effects that are going to be needed, such as footprints or shadow fall. The layout dictates everything that will happen in the animation, and instructs artists how to layer the background artwork if a character is walking around a table, for example, which needs to be a separate element from the main background for the compositing (final) stage.
  4. BACKGROUNDS: The background artists are responsible for colouring and texturing the layouts. They will take key full-colour style frames of certain locations, as produced by the art director in the pre-production period, in order to produce all other backgrounds that fall within that colour script. The backgrounds are painted within the same software we use for animating, it is called TVPaint. For any new elements that aren’t depicted in the book (including new characters), Lupus colour scripted them with physical paint on paper, as Judith Kerr would have, before then reproducing them digitally, ensuring we matched the production technique for the original illustrations.
  5. ANIMATIC: Once the script has been recorded (often by Lupus’ in-house crew in lieu of recording the actual actor’s performance) they begin cutting the animatic. The animatic is a film of the storyboard drawings timed out to the correct length for each shot, with character voices and placeholder music and effects included. The animatic allows the director to check the overall pacing and hook-ups between shots are working, ahead of animation production.
  6. ANIMATION: Once the animatic is approved animation can begin. Typically, animators start off doing very rough drawings to get a gauge of the character’s acting before accurately refining the detail at the ‘tie-down’ stage of animation, at least for some of the key frames in a shot. Animators won’t necessarily draw every single frame per shot, as that can be left to the assistant animators, who will work from the animators ‘charting’ - visual instructions as to how to complete the missing frames of animation.
  7. ASSISTANT ANIMATION:  The assistant animators are responsible for the ‘clean up’ and ‘inbetweening’. Whereas animators are concentrating broadly on the character acting, the assistant animators are taking the animation drawings and bringing them all exactly ‘on model’, and ensuring that the volumes of a character’s body are consistent and fluid when they are in motion – known as ‘clean up’. The ‘inbetweening’ is where the assistant animator follows the animators ‘charting’ to complete the frames that weren’t needed to be drawn by the animator in order for the animation director to approve the shot.

In TTWCTT there are a large amount of patterns, such as Sophie’s tights, or the tiger’s stripes – all of which have to be animated by hand, frame by frame. This is a huge job and there are specialist assistant animators focussing solely on these intricate details. Shots are often split out to different people within a team (ie, one doing Sophie’s tights, the other doing Tiger’s stripes) and several artists often work on various elements of one shot simultaneously... the Artworking team also operate in a similar fashion.

  1. ARTWORKING: Lupus Films developed a new pipeline for TTWCTT, replicating a very traditional animation pipeline within digital software. They developed their own brushes to match Judith’s original artwork and to speed up the process of colouring the Tiger’s stripes, for instance. Every single frame (36000) of the film is being coloured entirely by hand – which is almost unheard of in modern animation pipelines, and we are essentially replicating traditional Cel painting in order to colour the film.
  2. COMPOSITING: The compositing is the final stage of the animation process, where a small team bring all the individually produced elements together into a composite image, and add any final touches - such as texture overlays to match look of the original paper Judith used when painting the illustrations in the book.
  3. MUSIC, TRACKLAY & POST-PRODUCTION: Once the compositing is finished the final film is delivered frame by frame to the post-production facility, who prepare all the images in an ‘online’ edit. The music and tracklay is produced to the finished animation, and then mixed down and added to the final picture and made ready for broadcast.


Several crew members followed the pipeline through from department to department. Richard Fawdry, for instance, moved on to become the Head of Layout once the storyboard was completed, and then moved onto the animation team once the layouts were finished.

The artworking and assistant animation team all come from an animation background, and there is a great fluidity in skills between each department allowing us to match artists to specific disciplines - some artists may become a specialist at animating/colouring Sophie’s tights, or the Tiger’s stripes.

Eighty artists were employed to create The Tiger Who Came to Tea across the entire animation team, with the vast majority based in the UK. The youngest crew member joined for the summer between their second and final year of University, and Lupus Films have a healthy spread from recent graduates up to seasoned professionals who have been in the industry for decades - some of the crew even worked on Channel 4’s 1982 Christmas classic The Snowman.







Cups of tea







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Assistant Animation