Tarka the Otter (film)

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Tarka the Otter
Tarka the Otter FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by David Cobham
Written by Henry Williamson
Gerald Durrell
David Cobham
Based on Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson
Produced by David Cobham
Narrated by Peter Ustinov
Cinematography Terry Channell
John McCallum
Edited by Charles Davies
Music by David Fanshawe
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors
Release date
  • 2 November 1979 (1979-11-02)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£300,000 [1]

Tarka the Otter is a 1979 British adventure film directed by David Cobham. It is based on the 1927 novel of the same name by Henry Williamson. Tarka the Otter was voted 98th in Channel 4’s poll of the 100 Greatest Family Films. [2]



The role of Tarka was played by an otter called Spade. [3]

Musical score

The music score used in the film, composed by David Fanshawe, was released on a soundtrack album on the Argo label in 1979 (ZSW 613), and included Peter Ustinov's narration.

In 1976 Anthony Phillips, formerly a guitarist with Genesis, and Harry Williamson had recorded a soundtrack to the film with the support of David Cobham, the producer. Harry had helped to persuade his father to sign the contract, reassuring him that with the music he had composed, the film would be true to the book. However, the orchestral work was not used. In 1987, Amy International paid for the completion of the work at Strawberry Studios and it was released by PRT records as simply Tarka. In 2001 the work was re-released with additional music by Voiceprint Records. [4] The music was commissioned for its first live performance with a symphony orchestra in Melbourne in February 2010.

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  1. Acting wet to put an otter through its paces Author: Ann Hills Date: Friday, Dec. 8, 1978 Publication: The Daily Telegraph (London, England) Issue: 38418 p 17
  2. "100 Greatest Family Films". Channel 4. Retrieved 24 March 2008.
  3. Parry, Gareth (9 April 1979). "Film star banned after threatening to bite public". The Guardian. ProQuest   186133903.
  4. Floating World BP219CD