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Zeb’s second brush with Gaspard features Cleo

16 August, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Zeb Soanes and Cleo Sylvestre

FAMED for his deep voice on BBC Radio 4’s shipping forecast, broadcaster Zeb Soanes is now launching his second children’s book based on the adventures of a Canonbury fox.

Mr Soanes’ own interactions with his neighbourhood fox – Gaspard – were the inspiration for his first book.

His neighbour, the actor Cleo Sylvestre, has appeared in his latest work – Gaspard Best in Show. The actor, who presented the children’s TV show Play School and appeared in Ken Loach’s Cathy Come Home, is a regular face in Canonbury.

In Mr Soanes’ latest book she features as Honey, the owner of Gaspard’s best friend, Finty the dog.

“Cleo has been a pioneer throughout her career – the first black actress in a leading role at the National Theatre and in a regular role in a British television series,” said Mr Soanes.

In his latest adven­ture, Gaspard finds he has accidentally entered a Best in Show competition for dogs, which causes a huge stir when people accuse
him of being an imposter.

“The book is about being accepted for who you are and about Gaspard realising this through the help of Honey,” said Mr Soanes.

Ms Sylvestre said she “loved” the depiction of herself in the book and added: “I also love foxes. I had two cubs visiting my garden, one of them was looking at the top of a wall and into the garden. I don’t know if they’re related at all but I love watching them.”

Mr Soanes first made friends with Gaspard outside his home off Southgate Road on his way to the BBC studios early in the morning in 2017.

Mr Soanes and illus­trator James Mayhew, will be speaking at the Edin­burgh Inter­national Book Festival on Sunday at 10.30am.


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