Paddington, the marmalade-loving, duffle-coat wearing bear from Darkest Peru, has to be one of the most famous teddy bears of all time. His well-meaning, but often disastrous attempts at helping the Brown family are still loved by children today.
Created by Michael Bond (a BBC cameraman), the first Paddington Book, 'A Bear called Paddington', was published on 13 October 1958. The most recent book (to date) was published exactly 50 years later in 2008, entitled 'Paddington: Here and Now'. Over the years, the Paddington books have sold over 35 million copies and have been translated into more than 40 languages.
Sent by his Aunt Lucy, who lives in the Home for Retired Bears in Lima, Paddington is found wearing a "Please look after this bear. Thank you." label, by the Brown family. They name him after Paddington Station, and take him home to live with them.
With his hat, duffle-coat, wellies and battered old suitcase, Paddington has become a distinctive and much loved bear for generations of children. In fact, the first of Paddington Bear toys was created in 1972 by Gabrielle Designs, a company run by Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, the parents of TV presenter and writer, Jeremy Clarkson. In fact the Paddington Bear prototype was apparently made as a Christmas present for the young Jeremy and his sister Joanna.
In 1975, Paddington jumped out of the pages of the book and onto the small screen, where his 5-minute shows quickly became a favourite on children's television. The unusual animation combined a 3D Paddington puppet with 2D background and characters. The series was soon followed by 3 half-hour specials, which included "Paddington Goes to the Movies", in which the much-loved bear recreates Gene Kelly's famous 'Singing in the Rain' routine.
In the 1990s, a new, fully animated cartoon series was created for television. Although many stories were based on the original Paddington Bear books, new storylines were created, which saw Paddington and his good friend, Mr Gruber, travel around the world.
If you're looking to own your very own Paddington Bear toy, or send one as a gift, check out our selection of cuddly Paddington Bears.
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