A Christmas Gift From Bob is the latest cinematic tale about everyone’s favourite street cat. Made famous by his exploits busking and selling on the streets of London with Big Issue vendor James Bowen, Street Cat Bob became a local celebrity and has been the subject of best-selling books and films in recent years.
A Street Cat Named Bob was a smash hit on its release in 2016 and the follow-up has been anticipated by fans around the world.
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So as the trailer to A Christmas Gift From Bob is unveiled ahead of its Christmas release, here’s everything you need to know about the second film starring The Big Issue’s furry feline friend.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is part sequel, part prequel
At the end of A Street Cat Named Bob, James Bowen has finally found stability and security, thanks to his friendly and fearlessly loyal feline companion Bob. The film ends with James being offered a book deal. This reflects what happened in real life.
James and Bob, busking and selling The Big Issue in London, became local celebrities and their story became a bestselling book, originally published in 2010. It was followed by The World According to Bob in 2013 and A Gift From Bob in 2014. This new film is largely based on that last book, with James looking back on the last year he was living and surviving on the streets with Bob by his side.
The story revolves around James and Bob being separated
The trailer for A Christmas Gift From Bob gives away some of the storyline. When authorities are concerned about Bob living and working on the street, attempts are made to take him away from James. But, as everybody knows, the pair were inseparable and before we get to the ending we’ll have relearned important life lessons about the true meaning of family, loyalty and love.
The Big Issue has inspired the launch of 120 street papers globally, including sister titles in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
Bob returns to star as himself
Bob sadly died this summer but was involved in the filming late last year. He shared his role with several other kitties and was onset to oversee his doubles.
You can read more about the making of the film in this piece that James Bowen wrote for us after filming finished last year, with much more to come in future editions of The Big Issue.
“Their affection has definitely eased my suffering a bit, about missing Bob."
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) October 8, 2020
Luke Treadaway returns to play James Bowen
Currently starring in ITV drama The Singapore Grip, Treadaway paid tribute to Bob after his death when he spoke to The Big Issue recently.
He said: “I’m just heartbroken for James. Street Cat Bob had such a special spirit. You don’t see that kind of close relationship very often – whether it is between two humans or a human and an animal. And beautiful Bob played such a massive part in helping James to move forward positively with his life. It’s heartbreaking.”
The Big Issue plays a significant role
James in his Big Issue tabard can be seen frequently in the trailer. A Christmas Gift From Bob follows James as he is still selling The Big Issue magazine, mostly around Covent Garden, where Bob helped him sell magazines a decade ago.
We won’t reveal what other part the magazine plays in the story, but be sure that the place to find all the latest Street Cat Bob news is right here.
London looks like a winter wonderland
Nowhere in the world looks quite as Christmassy as London in December, and indeed most of the film was shot in the run-up to Christmas last year. Like Paddington, Love Actually, last Christmas’s Last Christmas and countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol, London is the perfect backdrop to a feline-good family film.
James has a new romantic interest
Bea Chang, played by up-and-coming actress Kristina Tonteri-Young, is the leading lady and in the trailer you can see her character has a romantic interest for James.
Ruta Gedmintas played Betty in the first film and does not return for the sequel, but in real life she is married to Luke Treadaway.
The director knows how to make animal magic
Charles Martin Smith is a celebrated filmmaker with an impressive back catalogue of animal tales. He directed the iconic Air Bud, about the basketball playing dog, in 1997, and made an even bigger splash with Dolphin Tale and its sequel, which starred a cast including Harry Connick Jr, Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman.
Smith is an actor as well and film fans may remember him best for his role in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables where he played the policeman who wasn’t Kevin Costner, Sean Connery or Andy Garcia.
A Christmas Gift From Bob will be released in November
As well as being released in UK cinemas on November 6, for those who aren’t able to see it on the big screen it will be simultaneously available via premium streaming platforms.
Before Christmas it will also be available on DVD and Blu-ray. Through December there will be different digital options for viewers in the UK and the world, with some dates still to be confirmed.
‘The angels are all around us if we just know where to look’
James says this in the trailer and it’s true, not just at Christmas but the whole year round. There are plenty of people who go out of their way to help those less fortunate, but in these troubled times there are many, many vulnerable people out there who need a hand up.
James and Bob found help in each other. Selling The Big Issue helped connect them to others. Their story proves the power of positivity, redemption and hope. Hundreds of men and women across the UK are working hard to improve their own lives, just like James and Bob.
If you see a Big Issue vendor, please consider buying a magazine or stopping to say hello.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is scheduled for release in UK cinemas and online on November 6 2020.
Image credit: Lionsgate UK