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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 18:46 GMT
Robbie falls foul of US viewers
Robbie Williams
The singer has not managed to crack the US market
The voice of singer Robbie Williams has been cut from a hit cartoon because viewers in the United States would not like his accent, the makers have said.

Williams narrated the BBC's award-winning Robbie the Reindeer, Hooves of Fire - but he will be replaced by Oscar-nominated actor James Woods when it is shown in the US.

Actor James Woods
His place is taken by actor James Woods

The voices of Britney Spears and Hugh Grant will also take the places of Jane Horrocks and Steve Coogan as Donner and Blitzen.

"Because it's an American version, they wanted American voices," a spokeswoman for the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, said.

Williams, from Stoke-on-Trent, is trying to raise his profile in the US to help him achieve the same superstar status there that he enjoys in the UK.

He recently signed a record deal worth a reported 80m, and has been expected to redouble his efforts to crack the US pop market.

But he has been replaced by Woods, who has earned Oscar nominations for his roles in Ghosts of Mississippi and Salvador.

Robbie the Reindeer, Hooves of Fire
Hooves of Fire won 19 international awards
The cartoon's lead reindeer, which was originally voiced by Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon, will now be played by Ben Stiller, star of Meet the Parents and Zoolander.

Hooves of Fire was originally seen by seven million people when it was screened on BBC One on Christmas Day 1999.

It won 19 international awards, including a Bafta and two Berlin Film Festival Awards.

The original version has also been seen on the Fox Family Channel.

But on Wednesday, BBC Worldwide announced a deal for the new version to be shown on US network CBS in December.

The show has been sold to more than 20 countries.

See also:

10 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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