We bring you the facts about the star of PADDINGTON…

Paddington has been entertaining us for over 60 years and finally makes the leap from books and TV to the big screen in a big budget movie opening this month. How much do you know about the polite bear from darkest Peru? Check out our 10 furry facts below… 

1. A Bear Called Paddington
Writer Michael Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear that he spotted on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956. Bond bought the bear as a present for his wife, and was inspired to write a story about an anthropomorphised bear found in Paddington Station. In 10 days he had written the first book, and ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ was first published on 13 October 1958.

2. Jeremy Clarkson
The first child to have a Paddington Bear toy was TOP GEAR presenter Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson’s parents ran a small design business called Gabrielle Designs. In 1972, their mother made a prototype for the first Paddington Bear stuffed toy and gave it to Jeremy, then 12 for Christmas. These early bears were all handmade in the Doncaster factory, and are now considered collectors’ items.

3. Home Sweet Home
Originally, Paddington went to live with the Brown family at 32 Windsor Gardens in London. There is no number 32 in the real Windsor Gardens, which often leaves Paddington fans disappointed.

4. Cultural Icon
Paddington Bear has become a cultural icon over the years; there is a permanent statue dedicated to him in London’s Paddington Station, and when the two sides of the Channel Tunnel were linked up in 1994, the English workers passed a Paddington toy through the gap to their French colleagues.

5. 50 Paddington Statues
Stephen Fry, Julie Walters, Emma Watson, David Beckham and Liam Gallagher are some of the celebrities who have designed 50 life-size Paddington statues which are popping up all over London for the next two months. Each statue has a different style decided by the celeb designers.

6. Love it or Hate it
In 2007 Paddington decided to try something different in his sandwiches, and became the star of an ad for Marmite. Although the ad ends in disaster – as many of Paddington’s escapades do – it has been viewed over 95,000 times on YouTube so presumably, was a huge success for Marmite.

7. Story telling
PADDINGTON the movie does not directly draw from any one of the stories written by Bond, or used in the TV show. Instead, the film is inspired by the entire Paddington series, and tells an entirely new tale.

8. Voicing an Icon
Colin Firth initially signed on to be the voice of the title character in PADDINGTON, but was replaced by Ben Whishaw. Whishaw, of course, played the rebooted version of Q in SKYFALL, and has signed on for a role in the as yet untitled biopic of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.

9. Keeping with Tradition
The PADDINGTON TV series was a mix of 2D and 3D animation; Paddington was a stop motion puppet, but all the other characters were 2D drawings. This gave the show an incredibly distinctive look. In keeping with this tradition, the movie features an animatronic and CGI Paddington, who shares the screen with live action performances from Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi and Julie Waters.

10. When Can I See It?
PADDINGTON is at Irish cinemas from November 28th 2014

Words: Brogen Hayes