“PLEASE look after this bear. Thank you.”
When little Paddington bear was found by the Brown family in Michael Bond’s popular books, he was wearing a tag asking that he be well cared for.
Well, the Brown family did just that.
They weren’t the only ones to fall in love with the adorable little chap, though, and several more books starring the marmalade-sandwich-loving bear from Peru followed.
This week sees the release of a sequel to the big-screen version of the little bear, Paddington 2.
Bond star Ben Whishaw lends his voice to Paddington again and with many other stars — including Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Grant and Julie Walters — making an appearance, you can see that this is a movie set to be a huge success.
With the film guaranteed to bring us some more light-hearted fun, it sees the duffel coat-wearing bear ending up in jail.
Phoenix (played by Hugh Grant) is to blame for this after he steals a book which contains clues to where some treasure might be found — and then puts innocent Paddington in the frame for the theft.
The previous Paddington movie was so well received that it quickly surpassed the £200 million mark in box-office takings — making it the highest-grossing family film outside of Hollywood.
It may not have reached the top spot, but it was only eclipsed by Disney’s Frozen — and hats off to anyone who could do any better than that.
The success of the Paddington film is testament to the quality of actors on board, as the bear himself was a combination of animation and CGI, which meant at times the actors were literally having conversations with thin air.
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown, revealed: “We had an actress, who’s 3ft 6ins, so she’d walk through the shots wearing Paddington’s red hat.
“If we were doing movement shots, she would be there for us, but sometimes, we’d just have a stick with a bit of tape on it.
“A lot of times, it was thin air!
“It meant that a variety of acting techniques were required to project something that wasn’t there at all.”
Even Hugh, however, was amazed at how well the final cut came out.
“There are literally hundreds of people who worked on it frame by frame,” he revealed.
“The quality of what they achieved is remarkable, to the extent that I genuinely forgot when I watched the film that the bear wasn’t real.”
That was a feeling Michael Bond knew well.
With his tales of Paddington inspired by a toy Michael bought for his first wife, Brenda, the author once said: “Paddington is, to me, very real. He’s a presence.”
Sadly, Michael passed away earlier this year, but he’d be pleased to know that his little bear is about to delight another wave of cinema audiences with this latest outing of capers and fun.
Not bad for a little bear who was first found homeless in Paddington Station, simply wanting to be loved.
He certainly got his wish — and some.
Paddington 2 is in cinemas from today.