Paddington Bear

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Paddington Station-Bronze of Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear is a fictional character in children's literature. He first appeared in 1958 and was subsequently featured in some 14 books written by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum and has evolved into a franchise. The illustrations show him more as a teddy bear than a real bear, in the original style of Winnie-the-Pooh. According to legend Bond based the bear on a teddy bear, that he and his wife saw in a store around Christmas, and that they bought because it was the only one left on the shelf and thought it was lonely.

Paddington is an anthropomorphised bear. He speaks English, wears a battered hat which he refuses to part with, and carries with him everywhere a battered suitcase (later revealed to have a secret compartment in which Paddington keeps those items he considers most important --- such as his passport, for example) containing his personal belongings. When found and in the early editions, he also wore a Duffle Coat, and wellington boots. He is always polite (always addressing people as "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss", and very rarely by first names), well-meaning (though he inflicts hard stares on those who incur his disapproval), likes marmalade sandwiches and cocoa, and has an endless capacity for getting into trouble. However, he is known to "try so hard to get things right".


[edit] Plot

This gentle bear was found at Paddington in London. In the first story, he is found there by the Brown family sitting on his suitcase (bearing the label WANTED ON VOYAGE), with a note attached to his coat which reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you." He has arrived as a stowaway coming from "Darkest Peru", sent by his Aunt Lucy (his only known relative, aside from an unnamed uncle who gave Paddington his hat), who has gone to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima. He tells them that no one can understand his Peruvian name, so the Browns decide to call him Paddington.

They take him home to 32 Windsor Gardens near Portobello Road, and the stories follow Paddington's adventures and mishaps in England.

This is somewhat akin to the manner in which Jack Worthing, in The Importance of Being Earnest, was found at Victoria railway station.

[edit] Books

A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958, and was followed by eleven more books, two collections of short stories and many appearances in picture books and other publications.

[edit] Television

The BBC television series Paddington produced by Michael Bond and FilmFair was first broadcast in 1975. This series had an extremely distinctive appearance: a mixture of stop-motion puppets moving in a three dimensional space in front of two-dimensional backgrounds, which were frequently sparse black-and-white line drawings. Animator Ivor Wood also worked on The Magic Roundabout and Postman Pat. The series was narrated by Michael Hordern. In the United States, episodes aired in between preschool programming on the Disney Channel throughout the 1990s, and also on Nickelodeon in the 1980s as a segment on the program Pinwheel. The series also aired on HBO in between features, usually when they were airing children's programs. The series won a silver medal at the New York Film and Television Festival in 1979 — the first British animated film to do so.

[edit] Species

Some people have assumed that Paddington is a spectacled bear, this being the only species of bear native to Peru. However, there is little actual resemblance between the wild bear and the character as usually illustrated. In reality, Michael Bond initially decided that he wished for his character, Paddington, to come from Darkest Africa. However, after handing in his first draft to his editor he was informed that there are no bears in Darkest Africa, so he adjusted Paddington's background to that of being born in Peru. What may have been a spot decision at the time may have in fact changed thousands of lives as not only do the street traders in Peru now sell finger puppets of Paddington to tourists, the country from which Paddington Bear emigrated is one of the most popular general knowledge questions aired on television quiz programs to date.

[edit] Influence on fashion

Paddington's influence on fashion has been limited to his hat. At Paddington's first appearance, the upturned brim at the front of his crush hat was irretrievably gauche. By the end of the 1990s it had become de rigueur among Sloane Rangers.

[edit] Other Paddingtonia

  • Author Michael Bond was also a BBC TV cameraman who worked on Blue Peter. After this was revealed in 1965, a special Paddington story — in which he got mixed up in the programme itself — appeared annually in The Book of Blue Peter for many years. They were collected in Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book in 1973.
  • Paddington has made many appearances in picture books and other publications.
  • Paddington merchandise — especially related to the BBC TV series — became prolific in the 1970's.
  • A second television series, produced by Cinar Films and Hanna-Barbera, first broadcast in 1997, consisted of traditional two-dimensional colour animation.
  • Street traders on the Peruvian shores of Lake Titicaca now offer tourists home-made finger-puppets of Paddington. There is also a stall at Paddington station selling Paddington Bear merchandise.
  • Paddington is featured on the Royal Mail 1st class stamp in the Animal Tales series, released on January 10th 2006.
  • David Goodman Olney won a million dollars on the TV program Who Wants to Be a Millionaire because he knew that Paddington Bear originally came from Peru.

[edit] External links

fr:Ours Paddington ja:くまのパディントン pl:Michael Bond sv:Björnen Paddington

Paddington Bear

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