A BBC show for toddlers has proved a smash hit with mums – thanks to the presence of Hollywood hunk James McAvoy.
The Scots actor guest-presented five episodes of the CBeebies programme Bedtime Stories last year.
While young viewers were no doubt enthralled by McAvoy’s bedtime story-telling skills, it seems many mothers switched on for the star’s come-to-bed eyes.
Some besotted female fans have even changed their mobile ring tones to McAvoy’s sign off at the end of each show: “Night, night.”
Episodes of the programme featuring McAvoy have been posted to YouTube, complete with comments from some mothers that are distinctly post-watershed.
The series was streamed more than 3.6 million times on the BBC iPlayer last year although the corporation is being coy about the McAvoy effect.
The three-minute-programmes show the 36-year-old actor, wearing a snug, round-necked jumper and tight jeans, relaxing on a sofa in a dimly lit living room, in front of a glowing fire.
McAvoy often clutches a fluffy teddy bear as he dramatically narrates stories including Little Red Riding Hood, Superworm and The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet.
One of the episodes posted to YouTube, No Matter What, has had 56,000 views. Some mums have even created YouTube playlists of all five episodes, meaning they can enjoy 15 unadulterated minutes of McAvoy.
One fan, Kate Roy, posted: “James’ lips are the eighth wonder of the world. They’re so soft and full and red and kissable and tender. Sigh.”
Debbie Tomlinson was even more graphic, writing: “His lips, holy f***. So deliciously full.”
Katy Senior, posted: “OMG. James McAvoy reading bedtime stories on Cbeebies. I’m in heaven.”
Maria Arhavli, who describes herself on her Twitter page as a mother from North East England, posted a photo showing her TV screen with one of McAvoy’s clips playing.
She wrote: “CBeebies Bedtime Stories just got a whole lot better.”
Other comments include “far too sexy for kids”, “This is oddly sexual” and “Ok, I’m ovulating”.
Another wrote: “I can guarantee that half of the people watching James’ bedtime stories aren’t children.”
Previous celebrity readers of Bedtime Stories have included Simon Pegg, David Hasselhoff, Kimberley Walsh and Lulu.
A spokesman for McAvoy said he was not available for comment due to filming commitments.
A CBeebies spokeswoman had good news for mums – and even a few children.
She said: “Everyone will be happy to hear that James will be back on the screen on January with The Dinosaur Who Pooped.
“We are delighted that viewers of all ages enjoy our CBeebies Bedtime Stories and we will have some new presenters and stories coming soon.”
The corporation claimed it could not release viewing figures for individual episodes.
She added: “It is not just James’s episodes that are responsible for high viewing figures. They are popular full stop.”