Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear
Paddington Bear
Paddington Station: Bronze statue of Paddington Bear, by Marcus Cornish
First appearance October 23, 1958
Created by Michael Bond
Species Bear
Gender Male

Paddington Bear is a fictional character in children's literature. He appeared on 13 October 1958[1] and was subsequently featured in several books, most recently in 2008, written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. The polite immigrant bear from Deepest, Darkest Peru, with his old hat, battered suitcase, duffle coat and love of marmalade sandwiches has become a classic character from English children's literature.[2] Paddington books have been translated into thirty languages across seventy titles and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. Over 265 licences, making thousands of different products across the United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Southeast Asia, Japan, Australia and South Africa all benefit from the universal recognition of Paddington Bear.[3]

Paddington is an anthropomorphised bear. He is always polite—always addressing people as "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss" and very rarely by first names—and well-meaning, though he inflicts hard stares on those who incur his disapproval. He 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". He is an adoptive member of the (human) Brown family, and thus gives his full name as Paddington Brown.




Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear 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. The bear inspired Bond to write a story, and in ten days, he had written the first book. The book was given to his agent, Harvey Unna. A Bear Called Paddington was first published on 13 October 1958, by William Collins & Sons (now Harper Collins).[4][5]

The toy Paddington Bear

The first manufactured Paddington Bear was created in 1972 by Gabrielle Designs, a small business run by Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, with the prototype made as a Christmas present for their children Joanna and Jeremy Clarkson (English broadcaster and writer). Shirley Clarkson dressed Paddington in Wellington boots to help the bear stand upright. (Paddington received wellingtons for Christmas in Paddington Marches On, 1964.) The earliest bears wore small children's boots manufactured by Dunlop until their production could not meet demand. Gabrielle Designs then produced their own boots with paw prints moulded into the soles.

Shirley Clarkson's book[6] describes the evolution of the toy Paddington from Christmas gift to subject of litigation and ultimately commercial success.


In the first story, Paddington is found at Paddington railway station in London 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." Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during the war, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington.[7]

He has arrived as a stowaway coming from "Deepest Darkest Peru", sent by his Aunt Lucy (one of his only known relatives, aside from an Uncle Pastuzo who gave Paddington his hat),[8] who has gone to live in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima. He claims, "I came all the way in a lifeboat, and ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade." He tells them that no one can understand his Peruvian name, so the Browns decide to call him Paddington after the railway station in which he was found. Paddington's Peruvian name is ultimately revealed to be "Pastuso" (not to be confused with his "Uncle Pastuzo".) Bond originally wanted Paddington to have "travelled all the way from darkest Africa", but his agent advised him that there were no bears in darkest Africa, and thus it was amended to darkest Peru, home of the spectacled bear.[9]

They take him home to 32 Windsor Gardens, off Harrow Road between Notting Hill and Maida Vale. (It should be noted that there is no number 32 in the real Windsor Gardens.) Paddington frequents the nearby Portobello Road markets, where he is known for, and respected by, the shopkeepers for driving a very hard bargain. When he gets annoyed with someone, he often gives them one of his special "hard stares" (taught to him by Aunt Lucy), which causes the person to become flushed and embarrassed.

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.


There is a recurring cast of characters, all of whom are in some way implicated by Paddington's misadventures. These include:

  • Mr. Henry Brown: A hapless but friendly City worker.
  • Mrs. Mary Brown: Mr. Brown's more serious-minded yet friendly wife.
  • Jonathan and Judy: The energetic and friendly Brown children. It is never established if one is older than the other, leading to the perception that they are twins.
  • Mrs. Bird: The Browns' stern, but ultimately friendly, housekeeper.
  • Mr. Gruber: The very friendly owner of an antique shop on the Portobello Road, with whom Paddington has his elevenses every day. He regularly takes Paddington and the Brown children on outings. He is a Hungarian immigrant. He addresses Paddington as "Mr. Brown".
  • Mr. Curry: The Browns' mean and bad-tempered next-door neighbour, who serves as a contrast to Mr. Gruber. He addresses Paddington simply as "Bear!" He always wants something for nothing, and therefore often persuades Paddington to run errands for him, and invites himself to many of the Browns' special occasions just to sample the snacks.
  • Aunt Lucy: Paddington's aunt from South America.
  • Uncle Pastuzo: Paddington's wealthy globe-trotting uncle.


A Bear Called Paddington was first published in 1958 and was followed by ten more books. In order of publication, the titles are:[10]

A Bear Called Paddington (1958)

Featured Stories:

  • Please Look After This Bear - The story of how the Browns first met Paddington at Paddington station, hence his name. Mr. Brown takes him to the buffet for tea and buns, and poor Paddington ends up covered in jam and cream. In spite of the mess, the Browns agree to take him home.
  • A Bear In Hot Water - Paddington's first attempt at having a bath is a disaster. The Browns decide to keep him.
  • Paddington Goes Underground - Paddington's first journey on the Underground causes chaos - he finds himself in trouble with one of the inspectors.
  • A Shopping Expedition - Mrs. Brown buys Paddington some clothes in Barkridge's, a local department store. He feels ill after travelling in a lift, and later gets lost. Mrs. Brown has to enlist the help of a police detective.
  • Paddington and "The Old Master" - This story introduces Paddington's friend, the antique dealer, Mr. Gruber. After hearing Mr. Gruber talk about painting, Paddington decides to try his hand at painting himself. He completely ruins Mr. Brown's entry for a painting competition, but all is forgiven when his abstract painting wins Mr. Brown his first ever prize.
  • A Visit To The Theatre - Paddington goes to see a play with the Browns, and ends up acting as prompter for the lead actor, who keeps forgetting his lines.
  • Adventure At The Seaside - Paddington takes part in a sandcastle competition, but his castle is washed away, and he gets lost.
  • A Disappearing Trick - Paddington enjoys his first birthday with the Browns - he is given a magic set, which he uses to entertain everyone. This story also introduces Mr. Curry, the Browns' bad-tempered next-door neighbour.

Other titles

  • More About Paddington (1959)
  • Paddington Helps Out (1960)
  • Paddington Abroad (1961)
  • Paddington at Large (1962)
  • Paddington Marches On (1964)
  • Paddington at Work (1966)
  • Paddington Goes to Town (1968)
  • Paddington Takes the Air (1970)
  • Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book (1973)
  • Paddington on Top (1974)
  • Paddington Takes the Test (1979)
  • Paddington on Screen (1980)
  • Paddington Rules the Waves (2008)
  • Paddington Here and Now (2008)

Special publications

  • Paddington Rules the Waves (2008) A £1 World Book Day Book[11]
  • Paddington Here and Now (2008) Published as part of the series' 50th anniversary celebrations.[12][13]


Blue Peter

Author Michael Bond was also a BBC TV cameraman who worked on the popular children's television programme Blue Peter. After this was revealed in 1965, a special Paddington story — in which he got mixed up in the programme itself — appeared in the Blue Peter Annuals for many years.

They were collected in the novel-length Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book in 1973.

Featured Stories:

A second book based around Blue Peter is Paddington on Screen.

Many other picture books and other publications have since featured Paddington.


The BBC television series Paddington, produced by Michael Bond and London-based animation company FilmFair, was first broadcast in 1975. This series had an extremely distinctive appearance: Paddington was a stop-motion puppet moving in a three dimensional space in front of two-dimensional backgrounds (which were frequently sparse black-and-white line drawings), while all other characters were 2D drawings — in one scene, a character hands Paddington a jar of marmalade that becomes 3D when Paddington touches it. 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 on PBS, on the syndicated series Romper Room, on Nickelodeon as a segment on the program Pinwheel and on USA Network as a segment on the Calliope (TV series) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as well as in between preschool programming on the Disney Channel throughout the 1990s. The series also aired on HBO in between features, usually when they were airing children's programmes. The series won a silver medal at the New York Film and Television Festival in 1979 — the first British animated series to do so.

Paddington Bear's 1989 television series was the first by a North American company, Hanna-Barbera. This series was traditional two-dimensional animation and featured veteran voice actor Charlie Adler as Paddington and Tim Curry as Mr. Curry. The character of an American boy named David, Jonathan and Judy Brown's cousin who arrived in London on the same day as Paddington, was added to the stories in the 1989 cartoon.

The most recent series, produced by Cinar Films, was first broadcast in 1997 and consisted of traditional two-dimensional colour animation. The show was called The Adventures of Paddington Bear.

Paddington Bear also appeared in The Official BBC Children in Need Medley with Peter Kay along with several other animated characters. In the video, Paddington makes a grand appearance by winking at the cameramen when they take photos of him; Kay tries to put a cloak on Paddington, but it keeps sliding off. He also joins the rest of the group for the final act. In the second season Christmas episode of Community Prof. Duncan talks about his tenth Christmas. He states that his mom always gave him Paddington books for Christmas.

Film adaptation

In September 2007, Warner Bros. and producer David Heyman announced a live action film adaptation of Paddington Bear. Hamish McColl, who penned Mr Bean's Holiday, will write the script. The film will not be an adaptation of an existing story, but "will draw inspiration from the whole series" and will feature a computer generated Paddington Bear interacting with a live-action environment.[15]


Paddington Bear features in the Marmite UK TV advertisement (first broadcast on 13 September 2007),[16] in which he tries a marmite and cheese sandwich instead of his traditional marmalade sandwich.[17]

Paddington was featured on the Royal Mail 1st class stamp in the Animal Tales series released on 10 January 2006, and had previously been featured on one of the 1st class Greetings Messages stamps, released on 1 February 1994.


On 13 October 2008, Google celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first Paddington publication by placing an image of the travelling bear with a sign showing Peru and London incorporated into Google's logo.[18]


Simon Sheridan's book The A to Z of Classic Children's Television (Reynolds & Hearn books, 2004, reprinted 2007) ISBN 1-903111-27-7 contains an informative chapter on the 1970s TV series of Paddington

  1. ^
  2. ^ Happy birthday little bear - Sunderland Echo
  3. ^ Paddington brand
  4. ^ Paddington returns to his station as children's favourite, Andy McSmith, The Independent, 24 May 2008
  5. ^ Paddington bear celebrates 50th birthday, Jack Riley, The Independent, 13 October 2008
  6. ^ Shirley Clarkson, 'Bearly Believable: My Part in the Paddington Bear Story', Harriman House Publishing, 23 Jun 2008 ISBN 978-1905641727
  7. ^ [1] Icons of England - Paddington Bear. Accessed 2008-07-12
  8. ^ Michael Bond, 'Paddington Here and Now', Harper Collins, London 2008 ISBN 978-0-00-726940-2
  9. ^ Michael Bond and R.W. Alley’s Paddington Bear
  10. ^ The Books
  11. ^ World Book and Copyright Day
  12. ^ "Paddington Bear's birthday book". BBC News. 8 December 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  13. ^ Paddington Bear: a welcome immigrant - Daniel Hannan, Daily Telegraph. Accessed 2008-07-12.
  14. ^ Houghton Mifflin company 1999.
  15. ^ Adam Dawtrey (2007-09-13). "'WB bears down on 'Paddington' film". Variety. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  16. ^ Paddington Stars in a New Series of Marmite Ads
  17. ^ Sweney, Mark (2007-09-12). "Paddington gets taste for Marmite". London:,,2166949,00.html. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  18. ^ Paddington image at google

External links

Further reading

  • Bond, Michael; and, Ash, Russell (1988). The Life and Times of Paddington Bear. London: Pavilion. ISBN 9781851452866. OCLC 59889284. 
  • Pfeffer, Susan Beth (1999). Who were They Really?: The True Stories behind Famous Characters. Brookfield, CN: Millbrook Press. ISBN 9780585248080. OCLC 40230491. 

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