Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew

Zeb is one of the most recognised voices in the UK as a regular Radio 4 newsreader and the reassuring  voice of the Shipping Forecast.   He trained as an actor and specialises in musical narration, including performances of Peter and the Wolf and Babar the Elephant.  He shares a school and home town – Lowestoft – with the award-winning artist James Mayhew who has collaborated with him on the enchanting books about Gaspard the Fox.  James’s first book, Katie’s Picture Show was published in 1989, followed by many others including the much-loved Ella Bella Ballerina series. He also presents  concerts for children and painting to classical music.
Visit Zeb's website and James's website



Gaspard is a real fox. He appeared with an injured leg one evening, Zeb fed him, and he started coming to visit regularly. Zeb learned more about him, started writing stories about his adventures, and James drew the illustrations.

Here is Zeb back from reading the news on BBC Radio 4, being greeted by Gaspard.

Listen to Zeb reading from his latest book, Best in Show, in which Gaspard and his new friend Peter, a cat, find themselves at the local summer fete. Gaspard is entered by mistake in the fancy-dress dog show, and they meet Finty, a dog - clearly Peter is not best pleased. Zeb's reading really brings snooty Peter to life! What wonderful words Peter uses.

James is the one who turns a real fox into a picture in a book, following Zeb's story, and he shows you how to do it.

Make your own Gaspard, it's easy and you need very few things, mainly some paint, scissors and ... a loo roll.

Make a loo-roll Gaspard the Fox! 

Chris Warner is a composer, sound designer, arranger and orchestrator with a passion for telling stories through music and sound. He is equally at home working in the theatre as he is in the recording studio, from small scale rural touring theatre projects and educational media work to major TV series and large-scale theatrical productions.