LONDON, England — Anyone who loves teddy bears, and especially the famous anthropomorphic Paddington Bear, should bring their children here and take the Paddington Bear Trail with them from November 4 through December 30.
In celebration of Paddington the movie, to be released in the UK on November 28, visitlondon.com, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and STUDIOCANAL, 50 Paddington statues will be placed across London close to museums, parks, shops and key cultural and landmark hotspots in a trail with a colorful Paddington flavor.
Each of the Paddington statues will be created by artists, designers and celebrities with the trail tracking the traveling bear’s favorite places in London.
Paddington first appeared on October 13, 1958, and was subsequently featured in more than 20 books written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. The polite bear from deepest darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase (complete with a secret compartment, enabling it to hold more items than it would at first appear), duffle coat and love of marmalade has become a classic character from English children’s literature. Paddington books have been translated into 30 languages across 70 titles and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
Paddington was discovered in Paddington Station, London, by the (human) Brown family who adopted him, and thus he gives his full name as Paddington Brown. Michael Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear which he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956, which he bought as a present for his wife.
Bond said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during the Second World War, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington. The bear inspired him to write a story, and in 10 days he had written the first book and “A Bear Called Paddington” was first published on October 13, 1958, by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins).
The bear inspired the first stuffed Paddington Bear in 1972 created by Gabrielle Designs, a small business run by Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, in 1972. Shirley Clarkson dressed the stuffed bear in Wellington boots to help it stand upright.
In the first story, adding ton is found at Paddington Railway Station in London by the Brown family, sitting on his suitcase with a note attached to his coat which reads “Plerase look after this bear. Thank you.” Paddington arrives as a stowaway coming from “Darkest Peru” sent by his Aunt Lucy who has gone to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima.
The stories follow Paddington’s adventures and mishaps in England, along with some snippets of information about his past. For instance, in one story we learn that Paddington was orphaned in an earthquake, before being taken in and raised by his Aunt Lucy.
Paddington went on to inspire a series of books, a book of plays intended for children to perform, songs, a cookbook and a BBC television series, “Paddington.” The bear has been featured on a first class Royal Mail stamp, and a 50th anniversary celebration of the first Paddington publication by Google in 2008 in which Google put an image of the traveling bear with a sign showing Peru and London in the Google logo.
In September 2007 Warner Bros. and producer David Hayman announced a live action film adaptation of Paddington Bear. The film will feature a computer generated Paddington Bear interacting with a live-action environment.
The Paddington Bear Tour of London official website is http://www.visitlondon.com/paddington. The bear has his official Facebook page for the movie ((http://www.facebook.com/paddingtonbear) and an Internet Movie Database “Paddington.”