How to watch Tabby McTat online: live stream the star-studded Christmas animation on BBC One from anywhere

Wintery scene from the new BBC One animation Tabby McTat featuring grey cat Tabby and a busker with a guitar.
(Image credit: BBC)

Tabby McTat is the latest animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s and Axel Scheffler’s best-selling children’s books. It's a heart-warming story of a special friendship between a London busker and his musical (or should that be meowsical?) cat – and you can stream the series from anywhere with a VPN.

Stream Tabby McTat online FREE on BBC iPlayer: channel, start time, and streaming options

U.K. date and time: Tabby McTat will debut on Monday, December 25 at 2:25 p.m. GMT on BBC One. It will be available to watch on-demand via iPlayer.
► FREE —  BBC iPlayer (U.K.)
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After the success of The Smeds and the Smoos for the BBC last Christmas, the award-winning Magic Light Pictures are gifting viewers a brand-new festive animated film. Tabby McTat is their 11th adaptation to be based on Donaldson’s hugely popular books: the award-winning The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and Zog.

Tabby McTat charts the bond between talented busker Fred (Rob Brydon) and his furry feline companion (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísú). Their daily performances together on the streets of London enchant the crowds. But when an unfortunate series of events land Fred in the hospital, the course of Tabby’s life looks to change forever. 

This enchanting animation is sure to delight the entire family so don't miss out. Read on and we will explain how to watch Tabby McTat online and potentially for FREE from anywhere with a VPN.

FREE Tabby McTat stream

How to watch Tabby McTat online FREE with BBC iPlayer

BBC OneMonday, December 252:25 p.m. GMT

You can watch Tabby McTat on BBC One Christmas Day – that’s Monday, December 25 – at 2:25 p.m. GMT, and then again on Boxing Day at 8:55 a.m. 

You can also stream it live via BBC iPlayer, and on-demand shortly after the animation has broadcast. BBC iPlayer is completely FREE. However, you’ll need a valid TV license to catch any live transmission.

Traveling outside the U.K.? Don't worry — as we explain below, you can watch it live or on-demand when you download a VPN.

Watch from anywhere

How to watch Tabby McTat online from anywhere with a VPN

Currently traveling in a country where BBC iPlayer isn’t available? With the right VPN (Virtual private network), you can continue to access your usual platforms and watch your favorite shows online no matter where in the world you are.

We've evaluated many options, and the best VPN is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more down to a minimum of $6.67).


Safety, speed and simplicity combine to make ExpressVPN our favorite VPN service. It's also compatible with loads of devices and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you want to try it out.

Check out the 12-month plan for the best value.

Using a VPN is incredibly simple.

1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.

2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.

3. Sit back and enjoy the show. Head to BBC iPlayer and stream Tabby McTat online.

Can I watch Tabby McTat in the U.S.?

Sadly there are no U.S. broadcast options for Tabby McTat as yet. We'll update this page if and when that changes.

However, you can use a VPN to access BBC iPlayer from anywhere in the world, if you are, say, visiting the U.S. from the U.K.

Tabby McTat full voice cast

  • Jodie Whittaker as the Narrator
  • Sope Dirisu as Tabby McTat
  • Rob Brydon as Fred
  • Susan Wokoma as Sock
  • Joanna Scanlan as Pat
  • Cariad Lloyd as Prunella
  • Rory Finnegan as Samuel Sprat
  • Felix Tandon as Ambulance Boy

Watch the Tabby McTat trailer:

Before you check out how to watch Tabby McTat online, take a look at the trailer below:

Jodie Whitaker (the narrator) on Tabby McTat

“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.”

Julia Donaldson (author) on Tabby McTat

"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!"

Lindsay Salt (BBC Director of Drama) on Tabby McTat

"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."

Barney Goodland (producer) on Tabby McTat

"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."

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Daniel Pateman

Daniel Pateman has been a freelance writer since 2018. He currently works across a range of brands including TechRadar, T3, GamesRadar, What Hi-Fi? and CinemaBlend, where he regularly pens How To Watch articles about where our readers can stream the latest new movies and TV shows, as well as producing detailed guides on the best streaming services, from Disney Plus to Netflix. He received a first-class degree in Humanities and Media in 2013 from Birkbeck University and later an MA in Contemporary Literature and Culture. In addition to his work for Future's websites, Daniel writes across the broad spectrum of arts topics – including photography, sculpture, painting, film – and has been published in The Brooklyn Rail and Eyeline magazine, among others.