Tim Peake tries to phone parents from the International Space Station - but gets their answering machine instead

Angela and Nigel Peake

The parents of British astronaut Tim Peake missed a phone call from their son made from the deck of the International Space Station, they revealed.

Angela and Nigel Peake told ITV News of the "surreal" moment they heard their son's voice from space.

Listen to his message here:

In the message, he jovially greets his parents and quips: "This is just your son calling from the International Space Station... I'm sorry you're not in."

They also told ITV News he will be able to join them for their Christmas Day meal after all - in the form of a giant cardboard cut-out.

'Flat Tim', as they call him, was designed by people living in their hometown of Westbourne, West Sussex, to mark the moment he blasted off to join the International Space Station.

And his parents said the figure had been loaned to the family for their festive celebrations.

They revealed he had always wanted to be a pilot when he was a boy - and when the opportunity to build on that and become an astronaut came up, he jumped at it.

Tim Peake is the first British astronaut to leave Earth in more than two decades - and the first to work and live on the International Space Station.

He launched last week and will spend six months on the craft, helping with research and experiments being conducted on board.

His parents revealed he had tried to phone home at the weekend, but they were out at the time - and they did not realise until they checked their answering machine.

His father told ITV News they planned on keeping the message he left for them forever.