1. ITV Report

London Talking Statues: Your guide on where to find them

Celebrities including actor Patrick Stewart, University Challenge host Jeremy Paxman and Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville are bringing a series of statues to life by giving them a voice.

Helen Lederer and Timothy West next to a statue of Hodge the Cat Credit: PA

Passers-by can swipe their mobile phones on a nearby tag to make sculptures in London speak for a new art project. Other stars who have delivered speeches or readings include Helen Lederer, Simon Russell Beale, Hugh Dennis and Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald in Doctor Who.

A woman scans a tag next to Hodge the Cat statue Credit: PA


Sherlock Holmes is a character with whom I have long been fascinated. It was a pleasure to give the statue an inner voice. I hope that passers by will enjoy hearing him.

– Ed Stoppard

ISAAC NEWTON, British Library

I use the British Library a lot and Newton has always fascinated me. He changed the world. He was a difficult man. I feel privileged to animate him.

– Simon Russell Beale

DICK WHITTINGTON'S CAT, Almeida Theatre & Islington Council

The intriguing element about channeling Dick Whittington’s cat is that there are conflicting versions of the story: am I male or female? Myth or truth? Did I really make my master’s fortune?

– Helen Lederer

I had never heard of Hugh Myddleton before and I am pleased I have now. I like his humility and the fact that he actually built a river! Bringing these people to life is an extraordinary and wonderful thing to do.

– Jonny Sweet

PETER PAN, The Royal Parks

Giving voice to London's statues is a wonderful idea. I think of them like a gaggle of old friends playing hide and seek across the city. Finally they get the chance to talk back.

– Ella Hickson

ACHILLES, The Royal Parks

It was a joy to look up at Achilles and wonder what he might say. Just to take time really looking at a statue and its setting was really wonderful. An adventure.

– Rebecca Lenkiewicz

GOAT, Spitalfields

Talking Statues is a very clever imaginative way to bring statues to life. I've animated things throughout my career, from Spitting Image onwards. On this occasion, I've animated the statue of a goat standing on a load of crates in Spitalfields.

– Hugh Dennis

RUSH HOUR, Broadgate


The city is a meeting place for stories; a place where narratives, like people, clash, converge, coalesce. I was immediately taken with the idea of imagining and giving voice to the inner life of a statue, a silent witness to everything that happens around it.'

– Lucy Caldwell

EYE-I, Broadgate

I used to be a London tour guide so I know lots of statues from Byron to Queen Victoria. But here was a brand new statue. I wanted to create something which would make passers by feel less alone in the city.

– Sara Pascoe

HODGE THE CAT, City Of London

It was quite a challenge playing Samuel Johnson's cat. I’ve tried to interpret it without hesitation, deviation or repetition.

– Nicholas Parsons

JOHN WILKES, City Of London

I like John Wilkes because he was a wonderful and odious man – which is a rare combination. He was a scabious figure but I like his ideas and principles. It’s important that we recognise his contributions.

– Jeremy Paxman

ROWLAND HILL, City Of London

I think it’s a tremendous idea for these august people, whose statues are placed all around London, to suddenly come to life, to actually hear their story and I’m so pleased to do it with Rowland Hill, one of my heroes as a former postman.

– Jeremy Paxman


I’ve played Victoria numerous times on the stage, bringing her statue to life on the street was a new challenge.

– Prunella Scales


I’ve always wanted to play a Shakespearean role – even if this Arial is stuck on a building.

– Matt Horne

COUPLE ON SEAT, Canary Wharf

I love the idea of living art installations that encourage engagement within the city, this statue being in busy Canary Wharf. It’s a good place to make people think and laugh – a creative spot in their day.

– Meera Syal

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, Paddington Station